Karen Nationals are Ready for Upcoming Peace Conference

Officials from the Karen National Political Dialogue Coordination Committee said they have prepared for upcoming third session of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong by recollecting the opinions gathered from the Karen national political dialogue and holding a meeting to approve them.

A meeting was held at the Karen National Union (KNU) headquarters in Law Khee Lar (Laywah), Hpa-an District on June 10-12 to approve the papers which will be submitted to political, economic, social, land and environment, and security sectors in the upcoming third session of the Union Peace Conference, according to Padoh Saw Hla Tun from the Karen National Political Dialogue Coordination Committee.

“We were able to obtain an approval on the collected opinions of the entire [Karen] people, which is upheld by the Karen people,” he told Karen News.

Karen delegates for the upcoming conference have also been selected during the meeting.

The collected papers for respective sectors such as political, social, economic, land and natural environment, and security from the ethnic-based regional public consultations held in the Ayeyarwady, Yangon, Bago, and Tanintharyi regions and Mon, Karen, Karenni (Kayah) states were discussed during the three-day meeting and participants of the meeting approved them and set down some future plans.

The approved papers represent the entire Karen people and express the desire of the entire Karen people so they are important papers for the entire people, Padoh Saw Hla Tun continued.

Around 300 representatives including the representatives of Karen armed organizations such as military and civilian leaders from the KNU, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA), the Karen Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC), and the Border Guard Forces (BGF), representatives of Karen political parties, representatives from respective states and regions, some religious leaders, and Karen youths attended the meeting.

“We are proceeding with the NCA without tarnishing its image. We have signed the NCA, but we are knowingly suffering from the injustice and violations of the NCA. At the moment, the ethnic people don’t allow the NCA to become ruined so we, the Karen national, have come to support their position. Actually, we don’t trust the NCA. Now, we can only discuss unimportant issues in the political sector so it’s not satisfying,” a representative said on condition of anonymity.

Non-secession principle and self-determination issues will not be discussed during the upcoming third session of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong. Only the remaining issues from the previous second session of the Union Peace Conference such as the principles on protecting ethnic minorities, basic human rights and gender equality, the union constitutional tribunal, and citizenship issues from the political sector will be discussed in the upcoming conference.

The government has proposed to hold the conference on June 30, but the ten nationwide ceasefire agreement signatories’ Peace Process Steering Team (PPST) have decided to hold it in mid-July due to lack of time to prepare for work committee meetings. The decision was made during the PPST meeting held in Chiang Mai, Thailand on June 11.

The Union Peace Conference was first held as the 21st Century Panglong Conference under the civilian administration in August, 2016. During the second session of the Panglong Conference, the leaders of respective organizations and witnesses signed and adopted 37 principles from four sectors except security sector among five main sectors as part of the Union Accord on May 29, 2017.

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