KNU and Karen Community Groups Work to Draft Ethnic Affairs Policies

As part of its policy development intended to contribute to the peace process political negotiations, the Ethnic National Affairs Center (ENAC) held a meeting with Karen political and civil organizations to discuss about the drafted ethnic affair policies.

The ENAC, formed in 2013 describes itself as an independent resource, training, and education center supporting the peace process and development of democratic institutions in Burma.

The meeting held on May 12 in Mae Sot was attended by representatives from the Karen National Union and community based organizations. During the meeting, the discussion was mainly based on the nine points of ethnic affairs policies drafted to support the political dialogue that is hoped will eventually lead to the emerging of a federal union.

Ko Yaw Hton, a program manager of ENAC told Karen News that this meeting intends to gain a common position on the drafted ethnic national affair policies.

Speaking to Karen News, Ko Yaw Hton said.

“This draft is based on all inclusive policy signatories and non-signatories [of NCA] to have a common position. These policies are for ethnic nationals to use in future political dialogue and to be included in the constitution.”

The draft policies were developed by the ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), 12 political parties inside Burma, ethnic CBOs and CSOs in 2014.

The draft policies cover topics such as education, land ownership, natural resource, agriculture, IDPs, refugees’ affairs, humanitarian aid, levying tax and trade and investment.

At the meeting held in Mae Sot, delegates from the Karen Women Organization, Karen Youth Organization, Committee for Internally Displaced Karen People, Karen Student Network Group,Karen Human Right Group, Back Pact Health Worker Team, Burma Medical Association, Mae Tao Clinic, Karen Department of Health and Welfare, Federation of Trade Union Kawthoolei, Karen Environment and Social Action Network, Karen Education Department and Karen Refugee Committee attended and separately discussed and added to or amended the draft policies.

Padoh Saw Lar Say, Head of KED said; “we, the KNU have had our own policies. And this meeting is held to gain a common position, if our position are included in it, it will be better. If we are more united, our talking about our desires will be more profound.”

After meeting with the Karen, the ENAC will organize another meeting with representatives from the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army and other relevant Shan organizations on May 14. ENAC officers are planning to finalize the draft policies by end of May.

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