Burma based Karen organizations concerned over massive land grab

Karen community based organizations from inside Burma want the Karen National Union leaders to put the people’s interest first in the ongoing ‘peace talks’ with the government.

The Karen based community groups raised their concerns at meeting during the Myanmar Baptist Convention in Rangoon on November 20.

Saw Kyaw Swar from the Karen Affair Committee said concerns about the huge land grabs that are happening in Karen State despite the ‘peace talks’. Saw Kyaw Swar listed three regions that have that have had land confiscated, these were – 29,148 acres in Paing Kyune Township, 20,100 acres in Hlaing Bwe Township, 21,100 in Shan Ywar Thit Township.

Saw Kyaw Swar said.
“The KNU must raise the interest of the people during the peace process with the government. There are incidents of land grab cases during the refugee repatriation preparation process, the KNU needs to provide protection to the people.”

Attending the meeting in Rangoon were the KNU’s joint secretary, Padoh Saw Dawt Lay Mu, the KNU chairman of the Mergui-Tavoy District Saw Kwe Htoo Win, the KNU executive committee member and Karen Women Organization Joint Secretary 1, Naw Blooming Night Zan.

The Minister for Karen Affairs, Saw Tun Aung Myint, representatives from Karen culture groups and religious leaders from inside Burma and from the Thai Burma border attended the meeting.

Mahn Aung Pyi Soe, the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party vice-chairperson urged the KNU to be united and to put federal and state issues on ‘peace talk’ agenda.

During the Myanmar Baptist Convention the issue of land grabs, the KNU liaison offices, the unlawful association law, Karen unity and having more input from women and young people’s involvement in the peace building process were openly discussed.

The KNU joint secretary, Padoh Saw Dawt Lay Mu spoke to Karen News about the issues.
“The Karen State Minister should be elected by the whole Karen population. There are still human rights abuses and land grabs ongoing. We will discuss these issues with government in our next round of peace-talks.”

Padoh Saw Dawt Lay Mu urged the Karen Community Based Organizations to get involved and to take part in the peace process by political and social means.

After the meeting with the Karen CBOs, KNU officials met with the government minister overseeing the peace process, U Aung Min, the Immigration Minister, Khin Yee and a peace negotiator U Hla Maung Shwe.

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