For the first time, Karen people from different regions inside Burma and from the Thai-Burma border got together to discuss current Karen affairs in Hpa-an Town, Karen State. After two days of talks, a Karen Unity and Peace Committee (KUPC) was formed to work towards securing a better future for all Karen people.
The meeting held from March 29 to 30, appointed 37-members to be on a KUPC working committee to oversee the implementation of policies and plan.
Ashin Sandar Waya, the chair of the meeting said that the committee needed to be practical to make sure the policies are acted on.
“This committee is comprised of Karen leaders from different regions – this has to be a practical committee who will need to take real actions.”
In a statement released after the meeting, all of the Karen organizations agreed to cooperate while implementing the policies that would unite Karen people. The committee will also work on a program to develop Karen literature, culture and language.
Karen representatives attending the meeting agreed to five action points related to the peace building process including working towards a concrete ceasefire agreement, a guarantee of Karen people rights in the constitution and the scrutiny of extracting natural resources from Karen State.
The statement also said that the Karen representatives agreed to coordinate discussions between political parties, armed groups and civil society groups for the better future of the Karen people.
Speaking to Karen News, Saw Kyaw Zwar – an organizer for the Karen Affairs meeting said.
“We based our discussions on three issues; one is Karen National Unity, two is building a genuine and lasting peace and three the overall future concerns of the Karen people.”
Nan Say Awa, a lower House MP from the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party encouraged all delegations from religion and civil society groups attending the meeting to take and share the outcomes from the meeting to their respective communities, villages and townships.
The Karen Affairs meeting was organized with the support from the Swiss Embassy with the aim to help unity of the Karen, to work towards peace and to discuss the future of the Karen people.
The Karen Affairs meeting was attended by various groups and individuals, including the President’s Office Minister Aung Min, the chief minister of Karen State Zaw Min, delegations from Karen religious organizations, Karen political parties, Karen armed groups, member of the Border Guard Force, the Karen Literature and Culture Organization, the Karen Youth Association and representatives from Karen communities living abroad.