KNU lobby Govt speaker on land grabs and ceasefire

Karen National Union (KNU) leaders based in southern Burma have called on the parliament speaker, Thura Shwe Mann, to help move forward the the ‘cease-fire code of conduct’ between the KNU and the government.

P’doh Saw Beeler, Joint Secretary of KNU’s Mergui-Tavoy District, urged Thura Shwe Mann who visited southern Burma recently to urgently help get both sides to accept the ceasefire code-of-conduct.

“Until now we have not been able to finish or implement a cease-fire code of conduct for both the Burma Army or the KNU’s soldiers to follow. As we do not have a ceasefire code-of-conduct in place we are receiving a number of objection letters from both sides.”

Saw Beeler, representing the KNU, took the opportunity to urge Thura Shwe Mann, who was attending a meeting with Tanintharyi regional government officers at Dawei City Hall, to help get the code-of-conduct agreed to.

P’doh Saw Beeler called on Thura Shwe Mann to get the government to redeploy Burma Army soldiers out of the area to avoid tensions and armed clashes with KNU fighters and “confusion”.

The KNU and Burmese government reached a ceasefire agreement n 2012. The discussion of ‘cease-fire code of conduct has been discussed since August 2012, but it dragging its feet despite a serial of informal discussion between the government and KNU technical team in 2013.

P’doh Saw Beeler also said he raised a number of other issues with Thura Shwe Mann, including land grabbing and a state development plan that has had a negative impact on local villagers.

“Our people have lost lands because of these development projects and there have also been the loss of other village land by state planned development projects. This has had a negative impact on the people lives. We would like to urgently ask the state to investigate and reconsider its plans to resolve the issue.”

P’doh Saw Beeler used the example of the Heinda Mine that polluted local villagers waterways and destroyed their homes – the problems still remain unsolved today – to convince Thura Shwe Mann.

In early 2012 the KNU warned the Myanmar Phopihap to stop its mining operations. A Thai company, and the Burma government’s Ministry of Mines operate the Heinda Mine.

Thura Shwe Mann confirmed to the KNU’s P’doh Saw Beeler request by saying that he will discuss the cease-fire code-of-conduct issue with the relevant government officials.

“As I am one of the (Union Peace-making) Central Peace Committee members I will raise and discuss the issue with the peace-making team”

On the issue of the Heinda Mine, U Thura Shwe Mann urged the Tanintharyi Chief Minister, U Myat Ko, to investigate the issue further and ‘make the right decision’.

P’doh Saw Beeler stressed that the KNU is still committed to its ceasefire with the government.

“The KNU is trying and will cooperate fully to achieve a ceasefire and to build peace and to have the rule of the law in this country.”

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