Concern for Kachin Voters Ahead of Myanmar Elections

Local politicians and aid workers are warning that thousands of people displaced by conflict in Myanmar’s Kachin state could find themselves without a vote during the highly anticipated November elections.

<p>A displaced Kachin man works in a camp for internally displaced people in Kutkai township, northern Shan state, in March. (Photo by John Zaw)</p>

Tu Ja, a Catholic Kachin politician from the Kachin State Democracy Party, predicted the closure of polling stations in some constituencies, especially in Kachin Independence Army-controlled areas and border regions.

“Each citizen’s vote is very important for candidates, especially ethnic representatives who will be able to help the state’s development. But I have a bit of concern that the people in conflict areas and the [displaced people] will lose their right to vote,” he told

More than 100,000 Kachins have been displaced since 2011, following the breakdown of a 17-year ceasefire between Myanmar’s military and Kachin rebels.

In Kachin state, Christians make up the majority of the population, and their vote could play a key role for ethnic representation in parliament.

Kachin aid worker, Gum Sha Awng, said that he is concerned not only about voting rights but also humanitarian aid for displaced people. Another 1,400 people recently fled their homes in northern Kachin state due to fighting and are in dire need of food as the military continues to deny access to Church groups and aid organisations.

Gum Sha Awng expressed his concern, saying: “Security and stability in Kachin state is directly related with the ongoing peace process. If there are no prospects of peace, conflict may erupt again in ethnic areas and as a result, people will not be able go to polling stations.”

  • Pray for the Kachin People in Myanmar, for the many who are living in displaced persons’ camps, having lost their homes in the ongoing fighting in their region. Pray that they will witness to God’s grace and presence with them, even in desperate conditions.
  • Pray for peace in the Kachin state, and for the Kachin Christians to have freedom to worship and share their faith.
  • Pray for the voting process in the upcoming November elections to be free, fair and to include all ethnic groups of Myanmar.

Psalm 10 vs 12: “Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed.


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