Gov’t Officials, Kachin Relief Workers to Visit IDPs in KIO Territory

The visit is part of an agreement that will also see the government provide assistance to the IDPs on a monthly basis.

A delegation of Burmese government officials is expected to travel to Kachin State in early August to meet with internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in areas outside of government control, according to a Kachin relief agency.

The officials—members of a government working committee that met with representatives of the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC) in Naypyidaw last week—aims to assess the needs of IDPs living in 24 villages in territory controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), according to the KHCC’s deputy secretary, Father Noel Naw Lat.

The Burmese officials, from the Union government’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, will travel to the area with KHCC representatives in the first week of August, Father Noel Naw Lat told KNG.

Last Wednesday, the KHCC met with the government working committee to share information about the current situation of IDPs still residing in camps, as well as those who have returned to their home villages.

“We submitted our Rapid Needs Assessment report, which was supported by a joint-strategy team, to the government and discussed our findings and suggestions with them,” said Father Noel Naw Lat.

He said that the committee agreed to support any project that was backed by both the KHCC and the government’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center (NRPC).

The first part of the agreement, he said, was a promise from the government to provide assistance, including food, building supplies, and educational materials, on a monthly basis. That aid is expected to start arriving in August.

The second part of the agreement was to arrange a joint visit to the IDP camps that would allow the government to hear directly from displaced villagers about the challenges of their current situation and their concerns about returning to their homes.

The two sides also agreed that both the Burma Army and the KIO bear responsibility for the safe return of IDPs. This is why the KHCC plans to meet with officials from the KIO and other local organizations to hear their opinions on the subject. A report based on this information will be submitted to the government’s working committee in August, said Father Noel Naw Lat.

Earlier this year, the KHCC met with NRPC officials to discuss the possibility of IDPs returning to their homes. On May 24, it met with the government’s working committee in Myitkyina for the first time. Last week’s meeting in Naypyidaw was the second between the two sides.

According to local people, even IDPs who have returned to their homes continue to need assistance due to their prolonged displacement.