Dr. Maung Zarni
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
6 October 2015
Contact: Mun Awng +47 986 44 095 (Norway) & email@example.com
Mun Awng, Myanmar’s famed dissident-musician, leads a rally at the ICC to protest Myanmar army’s war crimes against the Kachin
The Hague, Netherlands: A group of EU-based refugees from Myanmar are staging a protest in front of the International Criminal Court against Myanmar’s military government – with a civilian façade for the latter’s well-documented crimes against humanity, war crimes and other human rights atrocities in the ethnic Kachin and Shan regions of Northeast Myanmar. They will meet with ICC officials to deliver petition to try Myanmar leaders for numerous international human rights crimes.
The 6 Oct protest at the ICC is being led by Burma’s best-known dissident musician and ethnic Kachin, Mun Awng, who has been exiled in Oslo, Norway for the last quarter century.
The protest aims to raise public awareness about Myanmar’s on-going human rights and war crimes among the international human rights law communities.
In a parallel development, on 2 October a group of Myanmar refugees in New York, USA have filed a case against Myanmar President Thein Sein and a group of his deputies for the well-documented, slow genocide of Rohingya Muslims over the last several decades.
“As a Kachin, I feel I need to do everything in my power to call attention to one of the world’s longest civil wars wherein my fellow Kachin have been subjected to systematic destruction, rape, pillage, forced labor, torture, arbitrary arrests and summary executions by Myanmar troops in the Kachin region,” said Mun Awng.
Ethnically Kachin, Mun Awng who shot to fame as a young university student in the 1980’s with his original art work is one of the country’s most highly respected dissidents in exile. He uses his artistic talents and iconic name to promote the spirit of dissent and multiculturalist ideals.
Earlier this year, Mun Awng performed a song “Peace be Upon You” at the Olso Conference to end Rohingya genocide held at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in the midst of the so-called ASEAN Boat People’s Crisis during which thousands of fleeing Muslims primarily from Myanmar drowned and/or were found adrift and on the verge of starvation in the high seas in Southeast Asia.
He will be performing live outside the ICC his new solo, entitled “Insurgent”, a song about Myanmar’s central called Tatmadaw which rape, murder and loot innocent civilians throughout Myanmar or Burma. The song will be made available on YouTube after the protest.
During the last 50 years of the conflict with the ruling Burmese military, Kachin communities have experienced systematic crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing including rape, murder, forced labor, ethnic cleansing, extrajudicial killings, and so on by the Burma Army troops. The Kachin however, did sue for peace and kept a 17-year ceasefire, which collapsed in 2011.
In the last 4 years alone, there have been 70-documented cases of rape/gang-rape and murder of Kachin women and girls by the Burma Army troops – with institutionalized impunity, according to the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand. Myanmar army is widely accused of using sexual violence in conflict zones as a matter of strategy and policy.
This January the country was shocked and outraged by the news of the gang-rape and murder of two young Kachin women – Maran Lu Ra (20 years old) and Tangbau Hkawn Nan Tsin (21 years old) from the Kachin Baptist Convention – were brutally gang-raped and killed by the Burmese Army overnight on 19th/20th January.
Myanmar is not a signatory to the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court. Its well-documented crimes – crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and the crime of genocide – can, in theory, be referred to the ICC by the Security Council.