Karen State Govt Minister’s proposal to build village for refugees lacks details…

Government Minister wants to build a village to house returning refugees.

U Zaw Min, the chief minister of Karen State, proposed to the Karen National Union’s (KNU) Thaton District on September 28, that he would like to build a village in Hpa An area for refugees living on the Thai border to return to.

Saw Aung Thaung Thein, from the Karen National Liberation Army Brigade 1, Tactical Command office in Thaton District said.

“The chief minister of Karen State proposed to the KNU Brigade 1 Tactical commander that he wanted to build a village in our [controlled] area. He said that it would be for returning refugees. He did not explain his proposal in any detail.”

The 15 members of the government group, including Minister, U Aung Min, from the President Office and the governors of Mon and Karen State, held a meeting related to the ceasefire with the New Mon State Party (NMSP), Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and KNU/KNLA Peace Council in Mawlammyine, Mon State on September 28.

The Karen State, Chief Minister, U Zaw Min told Colonel Saw Blay, the KNLA Brigade 1 Tactical Commander and Pa Doh Saw Kyaw Myint, the secretary of KNU Thaton district, who were at the meeting as observers, that he wanted to build a village in the Noh Aw La area, in Hpa An Township.

Saw Aung Thaung Myint said.

“Noh Aw La is an existing village, but there are a lot of uncultivated land around the village. Our [Brigade 1] Tactical Commander responded to the State Minister that the KNU is not ready to accept his proposal without first getting permission from our leaders.”

In a media statement released on the 18 September, Sally Thompson, the executive director of The Border Consortium, that is responsible for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the 129,787 refugees from Burma now living in Thailand, said.

“It is important to note that, currently, the refugee community, the Royal Thai Government, the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and UNHCR all agree that conditions do not yet exist for an organised return.”

The Karen Refugees committee (KRC), Karen Community Based Organizations and the KNU recently met at Lay Wah camp in the KNLA’s 7th Brigade to form a working committee to assess and evaluate refugee issues.

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