Leaders from KBC and KHCC met Nippon Foundation's executive director Mr. Yuji Mori at Yangon on Feb. 12, 2019

Representatives of the Nippon Foundation told a delegation from the Kachin Humanitarian Concern Committee (KHCC) this week that they would provide assistance to internally displaced people (IDPs) in Kachin State who wish to return to their homes.

The meeting between the Japanese non-profit and the Kachin network of religious groups and civil society organizations took place on February 12 in Yangon. According to KHCC head and Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) chairperson Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson—who was present in the meeting—the Nippon Foundation representatives had changed their strategy from what they reportedly proposed last year: to help IDPs only in government-controlled areas, rather than in areas controlled by the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO). Most IDPs have sought refuge in KIO territory.

“We encountered a different opinion than in the meeting we held in December, when they told us they would only provide assistance to IDPs who have refuged in camps under the government’s control,” he explained of the Nippon Foundation. “Our discussion improved this time. They said they would provide full assistance when IDPs return home.”

The December meeting involved Nippon Foundation chairperson Ryoichi Sasakawa and Kachin religious and civil society leaders at KBC’s headquarters in Myitkyina. No agreement was reached regarding the IDPs’ return home.

Most recently, Nippon Foundation managing director Yuji Mori met the Kachin National Organization leader Duwa Bawmwang La Raw in northern Thailand on February 10. In this meeting, the offer of Nippon Foundation aid for IDPs was reportedly floated.

The KHCC will urge the Burma Army and KIO to cooperate with them to facilitate the safe return of IDPs, of whom there are more than 100,000.