The Kachin political organization, the Kachin National Organization (KNO) in exile helped organize Kachins in London (UK), Denmark, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia in commemorating the State Day.
“We wanted to tell the true history of the state day, inform people of the situation in Kachin State, forge unity among us and promote our culture,” said Hkanhpa Tu the spokesman of the London based KNO office.
He alleged that Kachin people in Burma are being oppressed by the Burmese military junta and have been deprived of political, social, economic and religious rights.
“Given the turbulent political situation we don’t have any opportunity or rights,” said Hkanhpa Tu.
In Kachin State women are the victims of sexual exploitation by soldiers and drug addiction is on the rise in society, especially among the youth. “Land confiscation is a major human rights violation in Kachin State,” said Hkanhpa Tu.
Thousands of Kachin people have had to put up with land confiscation by the junta authorities and their crony companies in Hukawng Valley such as the Yuzana Company, the owner of which is close to top junta generals. As such thousands of people have been forced out of their homes in Myitsone Irrawaddy dam construction site in northern Myitkyina the capital of Kachin State.
Kachin State Day was celebrated in London on January 7. The function was attended by about 200 people. The function was held in Japan on January 9 with more than 200 people participating.
Kachins in Malaysia and Singapore celebrated together at the Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur today for the first time with more than 600 people attending the ceremony.
“We would like to maintain our love for our state, keep alive the nationalist zeal, foster unity among us and promote our culture,” said the event organizer La Seng.
The celebration in Malaysia was attended by a representative of the United Nations (UN), Burmese ethnic leaders, Non Government Organizations (NGOs) and KNO leaders based in Malaysia.
This year’s celebration of Kachin State Day and the Manau festival in Kachin State has taken a beating because it is being controlled by the military junta which has led to interest of the people declining.
“Tight security and checking of travelers has frustrated and disappointed people leading to lack of interest in participation in the festival,” said a member of the Manau Acting Committee (MAC) member.
Things have worsened with it raining since last night making it colder and keeping people away. The State Day dinner will be held tonight where the MAC chairman Lahkri La Awng will deliver a speech, according to a member.
The act of taking control of the traditional Manau cultural festival of Kachin people is akin to cultural genocide. It is a hidden agenda of the regime aimed at destroying the cultural heritage of all ethnic people in Burma.
KNO spokesman Hkanhpa Tu said, the main problem in Burma is the ethnic conflict where there is no democracy. The solution is national reconciliation through dialogue for a genuine ‘Federal Democratic Union’.
“Without full rights and equality in the Federal Democracy there will be no peace in Burma,” said Hkanhpa Tu.