Karen women seminar at Lay Wah, Pa-an district, Karen State, October 2019

Grassroots Karen Women Groups Call for Genuine Reforms and More Involvement in Burma Politics

Karen women’s groups called for more women to be involved in Burma’s federal political and Karen National Union elections.

The call was made in a statement issued after the 4th Grassroots Karen Women Seminar held during the last week of October, 2019.

The statement called for the abolishment of the 2018 Vacant Fellow and Virgin land law and for widespread land disputes to be settled fairly. The statement said women had to be included and involved in issues such as the enactment and enforcement of the women protection law, measure on refugee issue and support for cross-border aid, the abolishment of the 2008 constitution and amending to be a genuine federal constitution, to immediately stop large scale development projects in ethnic areas before genuine peace is achieved, to find solutions to overcome the deadlock on the current peace process, and to have free, fair and transparent elections with more women involved in the Burma’s 2020 general election and future KNU elections.

Nan Aye Aye Thwe, spokesperson for the women’s group told Karen News their recommendations are important and need to be on the country’s reform agenda.

“The calls we made are important and need to be carefully taken into consideration. Our view is that a collective call is more effective than an individual one. Some of the points we made have already been communicated to the KNU, ethnic armed groups and the government. We have made these calls repeatedly so, we hope that the relevant government notices and implements them.”

Representatives of community-based Karen women organizations and individuals gathered at Lay Wah, Pa-an District, Karen State for two days where they shared information and discussed issues on Burma’s reform process.

The statement said during the seminar, issues discussed included women involvement in the peace process and the current political situation in Burma, land confiscation issues, the Salween Peace Park, the KNU women protection and its relevant laws.

Women groups presented at the seminar the current peace process, human rights situation in Burma, responsibilities and accountability of the Burma Government and the UN’s international investigation on Burma’s military human right violations.

The grassroots women seminar sent its statement and recommendations to Burma’s Government, the Karen National Union and the international community.

A total of 225 people, including individual representatives, female village chiefs and 34 Karen women organizations and Karen civil society organisations joined the 4th grassroots Karen women seminar where they set up a Karen women network and elected seven network leaders for implementation of the action plans.

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