Karen Representatives Finalized Draft Policy Papers For February’s Union Peace Conference

The Karen people have finalized the draft policy papers on the four sectors that will be proposed at the upcoming 21st Century Panglong Conference or the Union Peace Conference scheduled to be held in February, 2017.

Karen nationals held their last round of National-Level Political Dialogue at the Karen National Union controlled territory at Lay Wah from January 28 to 30 to add the final touches to the draft policy paper that deals with political, economic, social and land and natural resources issues.

Karen representatives from all over Burma came together to finalize the draft papers that had been attained from previous national level political dialogue held in Hpa-an. The papers were re-discussed in order to keep terms standardized across all the four sectors, according to the dialogue convening committee.

Padoh Saw Hla Tun, the chairman of the dialogue convening committee spoke to Karen News.

“Although the draft papers have been finalized and completed, there may still be some points that need more work. However, the papers do reflect the voices of the Karen people and it is satisfactory in some degree. And the papers will be discussed in the political talks at the different levels, so they will be more complete.”

The draft policy papers were finalized by representatives from the Karen National Union (KNU), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), KNU/KNLA Peace Council, Karen political parties, Karen religious leaders, Karen delegates from upper Burma, Mon State, Karenni State, Pegu, Yangon and Ayeyarwaddy Regions, Karen CSOs, Karen Women, Karen youth, Karen scholars and special invited Karen guests – a total number of 291 delegates.

During the three-day discussions, the constitution for a federal union and guidelines for a state constitution were discussed by the various sectors such as political, federal economic principles, principles for rehabilitation, resettlement and social development were discussed by social sector and principles for farmland and natural resources were discussed by the land and natural resources sector.

Mahn Kyaw Nyein, secretary of the Karen National Party told Karen News that although the draft policies are not perfect, he is happy with the result.

Speaking to Karen News, Mahn Kyaw Nyein said.

“Even though it is not totally complete and comprehensive, it is still pretty good. There were great inputs from the delegates and the scholars. So, we can conclude that the standard of these papers are not low.”

In addition to the four sectors, the security sector was also discussed during the talks, although there have not been any concrete draft policies laid out. The drafted policy papers are now ratified as the papers that are to be used by the Karen people at the Union Peace Conference.

According to a source from the organizers, there was an agreement to form a systematic Facilitation Team and Documentation Team that can help with future Karen national political discussion process.

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