Border Security Affairs Minister talk economic zones, repatriation and rule of law with armed groups

Government ministers, police officers, the government’s military and representatives of all of the state’s armed groups met and discussed the setting up of economic zones in Myawaddy, refugees repatriation and the country’s legislation system.

Colonel Aung Lwin, the Karen State, Border Security Affairs Minister, met with government department officers, the police and representatives of the State’s various armed groups at the Burma Army’s 275th Infantry Battalion in Myawaddy on Saturday morning.

More than 30 people attended the meeting, including representatives from the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), the Border Guard Force, KNU/KNLA peace council, the Karen National Union (KNU), officers from the Myawaddy Immigration Department, police officers, senior personnel from the General Administration Department, the Burma Army’s 77th Division Operations Commander and Colonel Zay Yar Lin the representative from the Southeast Command Headquarters.

Speaking to Karen News, the DKBA’s spokesperson, Major San Aung said.

“Colonel Aung Lwin said that for a sustainable and lasting peace to be built on the border we need to live in harmony and to have unity among the [armed] groups. He told us about what he learnt from his observation trip to Japan and how that country respects rules and regulations.”

Major San Aung said that Colonel Aung Lwin also explained about the proposed setting-up of an industrial zone in the Myawaddy area and how it will convert raw materials into manufactured products.

Major San Aung told Karen News that he talked with Colonel Aung Lwin about the need for the use of rule of law to be applied to equally to all regardless of their status.

“I discussed with him about the unequal situation that when civilians break the law, they are arrested and jailed, but when government officials break the law – even when they commit a large crime – they are never prosecuted or any action taken.”

During the meeting the Karen National Union (KNU) asked what were the plans to repatriate refugees and what was the process? Colonel Aung Lwin responded by explaining that there were no plans in place and the repatriation issue was only at the ‘consideration stage’.

The Karen Refugee committee (KRC) chairman, Reverend Robert Htway, told Karen News.

“In regard to the repatriation of refugees, there isn’t any detail plan. However, if refugees want to return on their own free will, they can do so, but KRC will not be sending any refugees back.”

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