KIA officer visits his displaced family at their temporary shelter outside Laiza, Kachin State, January 29, 2012.

© 2012 James Robert Fuller

Fighting between the Burmese army and Kachin rebels reignited last June, displacing some 75,000 ethnic Kachin and leaving them in desperate need of food, medicine, and shelter. However, the Burmese government has blocked aid to conflict areas.

Five days after Human Rights Watch released a report on the abuses in Kachin state, which borders China, the Burmese government granted the United Nations access to Kachin state’s conflict areas, allowing the United Nations to send in a couple of badly needed convoys of aid containing essential food and supplies.

We are continuing to pressure Burma to allow the United Nations regular access to the displaced. The Burmese authorities have only allowed aid into Kachin Independence Army- controlled areas once before, last December.

In the report, based on more than 100 interviews, Human Rights Watch described how the Burmese army attacked Kachin villages and razed homes.

Burmese troops have forced civilians to lug supplies into battle zones. Civilians reported soldiers firing on them. Burmese soldiers have also tortured people under interrogation and raped women.

Both the Burmese army and Kachin rebels use child soldiers and landmines, which can maim or kill civilians.

The renewed clashes, which began in a contested area surrounding a Chinese-led hydropower dam, ended a 17 year ceasefire.