YANGON, December 14, 2011 (AFP) - Myanmar's new human rights commission warned Wednesday that thousands of children displaced by conflict in the country's far north appeared to be suffering from "psychological trauma", state media said.
The army and ethnic rebels have been fighting since June in Kachin state, bordering China, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and prompting warnings from campaigners of a looming humanitarian crisis.
Myanmar, which has launched a series of reforms under nominally civilian leadership, announced in September that it was forming the rights commission after an appeal by a UN envoy for the new government to probe alleged abuses.
The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, in a statement printed in the New Light of Myanmar newspaper, said more than 14,000 displaced people, including more than 3,000 students, are being cared for in government-run areas.
"From individual interviews, it was evident that almost all wanted to return to their own villages," the statement said, following a trip to Kachin by a team from the commission.
"The children appear to be suffering from psychological trauma and the adults seem to experience a sense of insecurity and diminished confidence."
It said those in the 59 camps under state government care had their "basic necessities" provided for by government and civil society groups as well as UN agencies.
The statement did not mention numbers displaced in rebel-controlled areas, where at least 30,000 are estimated to be living in camps according to campaign group Refugees International last week.
The group warned of "potential for a serious humanitarian crisis" in Kachin, expressing serious concern for the displaced people in these rebel areas.
On Monday, the office of Myanmar's President Thein Sein -- a former general -- said he had ordered the military to cease attacks against the rebels in an effort to solve the damaging conflict politically.
The nation's military-backed government recently inked a deal with another rebel group, the Shan State Army South, but has not formally agreed an end to fighting in the Kachin area.
The commission said it "strongly welcomes and supports" the president's instructions to end the fighting, and "strongly urges the KIA (Kachin Independence Army) to reciprocate in the same manner".