To coincide with ceasefire talks between the Burma’s government and the Karen National Union (KNU), Karen communities around the world are holding traditional peace ceremonies in front of Burmese Embassies.
In a media statement issued today an alliance calling itself the Karen Communities Worldwide said.
“The traditional peace ceremonies are being held to call on the military-backed government to not only to agree a ceasefire, but also engage in dialogue to solve the political problems behind the conflict.”
The media statement noted tomorrow’s ceasefire talks will be the sixth time in the past 63-years that official talks have been held.
“Past negotiations have failed because the Burma government has always effectively demanded surrender, and has refused to seriously discuss the political problems which are the cause of the conflict.”
Karen Communities Worldwide said that as refugees it is not secure for them to return to their homeland.
“We know it is not safe to return to our homeland without a political solution that ensures there will be peace and where our rights and culture will be protected. We have seen how human rights abuses have continued in other areas of Burma where there are ceasefires. A ceasefire alone tackles the symptoms, not the causes. There must also be political dialogue for a permanent political solution.”
Karen Communities Worldwide in their media statement said, “the military backed government says it wants to talk peace but it is still attacking Karen villages, still executing unarmed villagers, and has recently jailed Mahn Nyein Maung, a senior KNU leader.”
Karen Communities Worldwide alliance called for tomorrow’s peace talks to include – “a nationwide ceasefire, dialogue for a political solution that guarantees ethnic rights and culture, stop attacking Karen and all ethnic people, stop military actions in ethnic areas, stop human rights violations and to free all political prisoners, including Mahn Nyein Maung.”
Karen Communities Worldwide acknowledges that “all Karen want peace, but not peace at the price of surrender that leaves us defenseless against human rights abuses and oppression. There must be a political solution that guarantees ethnic rights and protects ethnic culture. There must be a political solution where the people of Burma can live peacefully side-by-side – different but equal.”