Statement (No. 21/ 2020)
26 April 2020
Announcement on COVID-19 exigency
The United League of Arakan/Arakan Army together with two organizations of the Three-Brotherhood Alliance has declared a month-long unilateral ceasefire from April 1, 2020 till April 30, 2020. We have stopped our offensive attacks accordingly. However, sporadic fighting broken out in the month of April 2020 and these skirmishes to have inevitably engaged were our self-defensive actions.
Meanwhile, Myanmar Army has been launching airstrikes and artillery fire on a daily basis. It was shocking to see that the Myanmar Army has continued genocidal crimes such as targeted killing of civilians and torching villages. Despite the fact that international community and world leaders have repeatedly called for a ceasefire in Myanmar, the Myanmar Army has continued their offensive assaults after rejecting the urgent need for a cessation of fighting in Arakan and Chin states.
Our unilateral ceasefire was intended to create a necessary condition for the prevention and combating of COVID-19, the effectiveness of control measures, the collective action in favor of humanity’s more urgent war against the COVID-19 virus and the assistance to overcome this pandemic. Regarding as a humanitarian act, the unilateral ceasefire was declared for the effective implementation of preventive measures which are required to make people live longer.
The fact that a month-long ceasefire is about to expire, we are now reviewing and preparing a possible extension for it. At the same time, based on goodwill we are ready to cooperate with anyone as we can whatever difficulties we may encounter in the fight against COVID-19.
It has now become apparent that the government of Myanmar was poorly prepared to prevent the Coronavirus transmission even though they have got enough opportunity and sufficient condition. As a result, the government of Myanmar has come under mounting criticism. In addition to insufficient preparedness in Myanmar including Arakan region, we have been witnessing irresponsible actions of the government of Myanmar in cooperation with charity organizations, local CSOs and Arakanese political parties.
The mobile internet in need of a timely flow of information remains blocked by absurd reasons. Front-line volunteers and health workers’ access to reliable information concerning the COVID-19 timely has become a major challenge and an urgent need for the townships that are facing mobile internet shutdown. The government of Myanmar has still failed to provide people a health education campaign.
The Myanmar Army has foolishly continued their offensive attacks and their unstoppable investigation village after village under various pretexts casts doubt as a heinous act to spread the Coronavirus in Arakan. Instead of protecting lives and property of the general public in the region of Arakan, the Burmese regime and its military are threatening local residents everyday; consequently, fear and anxiety in the general population are rising day by day. Such practice of “State Terrorism” by the Burmese regime and its military in Arakan has not only encountered a setback to democracy transformation and peace process in Myanmar but also become a threat to regional stability and world peace.
Meanwhile, spreading in every regions and divisions of the country the number of COVID-19 infections in Myanmar has risen day after day. It is highly likely that the infections will further increase. Therefore, it is learnt from expert predictions and current circumstances that the implications of the coronavirus pandemic threatening humanity are more far-reaching and could threaten the entire population in Myanmar.
There are about 200,000 internally displaced persons in displacement camps in Arakan. They are not fleeing their homes to avoid the war conflicts but they are displaced in fear of the aerial bombardments and artillery fire by the Myanmar armed forces who shelled and torched the villages. Health conditions and basic needs are already disastrous for displaced people and now COVID-19 is threatening to decimate the IDPs trapped in dangerously overcrowded camps.
The government of Myanmar has deviated from their own rules to curb the spread of Coronavirus because they did not take effective measures even though they have had sufficient time to do so and the Myanmar Army has continued their offensive assaults. Therefore, the government of Myanmar and its military have the sole responsibility if a major crisis occurs in Arakan. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the opinion of ULA/AA is hereby expressed that the government of Myanmar and its military must take the responsibility because they are the culprits of the worst consequences.
United League of Arakan/Arakan Army