Ceremony Held to Support Karen Armed Groups Decision to Sign NCA

Villagers from villages along Eastern Donna Range gathered at Htee Mae Wah Kee village in Myawaddy Township on October 4th to show their support for the three Karen armed groups who have decided to sign the ceasefire agreement with the government.

The Karen armed groups – Karen National Union (KNU), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and KNU/KNLA – Peace Council decided to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government in the first half of October 2015.

The ceremony was attended by villagers from 10 villages including Htee Mae Wah Khee, Kyaukket, Lay Kay Kaw, Palu Gyi, Palu Lay, Ya Thay Gu, Min Let Pan, Mae Htaw Ta Lay, Pa He Htu and Inn Kyin Myaing. These villagers were mostly internally displaced people who have been directly affected by the armed conflict during the last 60 years.

Saw Htay Myint, administration chief of Htee Mae Wah Khee village who led the organizing of the event said they do this to show their support on the decision of the Karen armed groups to sign NCA.

Speaking to Karen News, Saw Htay Myint said.

“We are encouraged to see leaders [from the three groups] made the decision in unity. We have not seen any visible support at local level on the decision our leaders made, so we are doing this to show our support.”

Saw Htay Myint said that the event is held in the hope that the signing of NCA will bring peace and stability for displaced villagers in his areas.

The event program included a moment when villagers pay tribute to their fellow villagers who had lost their lives due to armed conflict by remaining silence for one minute.

Naw Dah Paw, a teacher from Palu village who took part at the event recall her memory.

“I was born here. When I was small, we always had to run because of fighting. Now we are happy to hear that our leaders will sign [ceasefire agreement]. Peace is the most important element for our Karen people.”

The event was attended by representatives from Karen armed groups, community leaders and villagers from ten villages totaling more than 1,000 people.

Earlier this week more than 40 Karen civil society organisations released a statement condemning the Karen armed groups for agreeing to sign the NCA without the support of all the other ethnic armed organisations.

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