Gov't Refuses To Recognize IDPs

Pangmati IDP camp, Myitkyina

After villagers moved to another location the gov't doesn't consider them as still being displaced.

The Kachin State government is refusing to recognize some Kachin as internally displaced persons (IDPs) after they were forced to flee from fighting between the Myanmar Army and Kachin Independence Army (KIA). 

"We've heard some regard us as fake IDPs...The government provided us assistance when we were in Namti and recognized us as IDPs.” said Maji Doi Awng. But after they moved to Pangmati ward in Myitkyina township they aren't considered IDPs, he said.

After clashes broke out between the Myanmar Army and KIA in Kasung area the IDPs, originally from Hkana village, sought shelter in Namti. Some moved to Pangmati in late March of last year. 

"When clashes happened we were taking refuge in the Kan Hla AG church but there wasn't enough space for everyone to live,” said Manaw Ma. After not being able to find alternative shelter in Namtu some moved to Pangmati, she said.

The IDPs are trying to convince the state government to recognize them as being displaced but their efforts have failed so far.

"We have repeatedly sent letters to the government. Until now, they haven't responded," Manaw Ma said to KNG. 

"When arriving they informed us about their living situation and we provided them with as much as we can,” said Tun Kyaw, a Pangmati ward administrator. But they didn't keep the local government updated about their situation, he said. 

“I think they are well settled here...We are ready to help them if they ask. The appropriate authorities are investigating (their situation) I think." 

The IDPs say because the government doesn't recognize them and they haven't received support from other aid groups they are struggling to put food on the table.

Thirty of the thirty-five households that fled Hkanan eventually relocated to Pangmati ward from Namti.