More than two weeks of ferocious military strikes against Kachin rebels and civilians in Burma show the army still has a strong grip on power in the country, the Greens warned today.
Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said Australian authorities had "enthusiastically pursued renewed diplomatic and trade relations with Burma without considering the ongoing violence and repression within the country - undermining the incentive for further reform".
"Since Christmas Eve the Burmese military has been using artillery, fighter jets and helicopter gunships against the Kachin Independence Organisation. Almost 60,000 Kachin taking refugee under the protection of the KIO are at risk and, trapped along the Chinese border, have nowhere to go.
"Kachin spokespeople assert that Burmese forces are blocking aid efforts from reaching internally displaced Kachin civilians in dire need of help.
"The Burmese military admitted using air power against the Kachin twenty-four hours after the Burmese Government denied it was happening - which raises the question; who is really running the country?
"The United States and United Nations have raised grave concerns about the assault. The Australian Government must take a strong against this offensive, and against the ongoing persecution of ethnic minorities in Burma including the Kachin."