Karen religious leaders join hands for unity and peace

In an effort to develop unity and peace, representatives from different religions within Karen society came together for a seminar held on the Thai-Burma border last week. The purpose for the seminar is for religious leaders to involve in the process of bringing peace and unity among Karen.

Attending the three-day seminar were monks and reverends from different religious dominations and members of Karen community based organizations – 95 people took part. The seminar was initially organized by Interior and Religion departments of the Karen National Union and was funded by a religious organization from Japan.

During the seminar, KNU officials presented their ceasefire and peace talk process and explained the current situation to the participants who openly and freely discussed the raised issues.

Saw Hla Ngwe, joint secretary of the KNU explained to Karen News.
“All Karen members of the community have their religious leaders. Our aim is to be inclusive to all in building peace and unity. Our purpose is to get all religious leaders to be involved in the process and we fulfilled our purpose.”

Saw Hla Ngwe said that it is important to have religious leaders’ involvement in building unity among Karen, building unity with Burma government and more importantly, to reunite all the Karen people who are divided by religion, territory, organization and groups.

At the seminar, a decision was made to form a “Karen Unity Building Group” to reunite all Karen and help bring peace to Burma. The group is composed of 11 monks and 9 reverends, while its advisory board, will be led by Ashin Wizzana and Reverend Saw Robert Htwe.

Naw Bu Poe, a woman religious leader of a Baptist Christian domination who attended the seminar told Karen News.

“If we can’t bring unity among ourselves, it is impossible to build unity with others. Now, we are starting our step towards building unity. Unity in diversity is the best and it is long lasting.”

Ashin Wathawaka from Taung Yatetha temple from Naung Kine village in Kawkareik Township expressed his views to Karen News.

“It is important for our Karen to be reunited. We’ve now founded this group and as soon as we have our mandate, we will start the implementation process and then we will try to build unity among ourselves.”

In a statement issued after the religious seminar, the newly formed “Karen Unity Building Group” called for all concern parties from the KNU and Thein Sein’s government to reassure their peace process and their agreement to civilians living in conflict zones and to resolve all the ongoing confrontation between KNU and Burma army effectively and to continue their peace process with credibility.

Monks from the border region and from inside Karen State – Myawaddy, Kawkareik, Hlaingbwe and Papun – attended the seminar. In the past religious seminars about Karen unity were held but this is the first time a group has been formed to implement unity among Karen.

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