The recent ‘ceasefire talks’ between a Karen National Union and Burma government delegations resulted in representatives from Karen organizations worldwide to “call for genuine peace throughout Burma and for national reconciliation towards the establishment of a federal union.”
In a media statement released today, the Karen People Worldwide alliance said 167 people representing the views of a wide range of various community organizations, including religious leaders, youth, women and Karen ethnic organizations, attended a four-day emergency meeting inside Karen State.
The Karen People Worldwide’s media statement “appealed to the international community, especially the European Union and the United States, to maintain pressure on the Burmese Government until there is tangible political change for the Karen and for all the people of Burma.”
A member of the Karen Women’s Organisation executive told Karen News she welcomed the Karen National Union’s peace initiative.
“We are collectively calling on the Burmese Government to genuinely commit to a ceasefire with the KNU, stop military operation in Karen areas, start political negotiation, and guarantee ethnic rights for the Karen people and for all the people of Burma.”
Conference attendees said in their media statement that they supported the KNU working together with other ethnic and democratic alliances for the establishment of a federal democratic Burma.
“We acknowledge that there have been some political changes in the central parts of Burma,” said Zoya Phan, Chair of the European Karen Network and Advisor of the Karen Community Association UK. “However, the situation in Karen areas has not improved and the rights and protection of the Karen have not been guaranteed. These are critical issues that must be addressed in order to achieve lasting peace in our communities, and for there to be significant political reforms in Burma.”
Saw Kenneth Moe, Vice-Chairperson of the Karen National Fellowship–Korea said that overseas based Karen are committed to supporting the ceasefire talks between the KNU and the Burmese Government.
“Karen people around the world have pledged to work in unity and we hope the international community will stand with us by pressuring the Burmese Government to work sincerely for peace and national reconciliation in our country. International governments could also play a concrete role as observers to make sure the process is transparent.”
The Karen People Worldwide’s conference also warned that development projects already underway in Karen areas, must take into account the local people’s rights to take part in the decision-making process and their right to land ownership.
“The Burmese Government’s economic policies must be based on the long-term benefit of the people.”