Karen Border Groups Meet to Consider a ‘United Front’

Thai Burma border based Karen groups meet to discuss broad collaboration on a diverse set of issues, including emergency response and how to best represent the cross-border Karen community

Karen Community Based Organizations (KCBO) based along the Thai-Burma border met on Monday February 17 – laying down four key principles with the aim of working together.

Saw Eh Htoo Soe, secretary of the Karen Youth Organization (KYO) who attended the forum, spoke to Karen News and said that the four principles included: improving communication among Karen Community Based Organizations, collectively responding to emergencies, representing on issues related to Karen people, and supporting the peace process.

Saw Eh Htoo Soe added,”Our Karen Community Based Organizations (KCBO) discussed at the meeting how to strengthen collaboration and seeing our goals clearly in order to work together in the future. We will keep to our principles to do the best we can.”

30 representatives from 14 organizations attended the meeting, including the Karen Refugee Committee (KRC), Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG), Burma Issue (BI), Karen Youth Organization (KYO), Karen Women Organization (KWO), Back Pack Health Workers Team (BPHWT), Karen University Student Group (KUSG), and senior leaders from the Karen National Union (KNU).

The KCBO’s agreed at the meeting to meet regularly every two months to strengthen collaboration going into the future and to continue working on a survey of refugees on the Thai-Burma border.

Padoh Naw Zipporah Sein, Vice-Chairperson of the KNU, told Karen News,”It is very good that the KCBO is reviewing the work they have done and are trying to reset their plans systematically for the future.”

Padoh Naw Zipporah Sein said that the KNU will continue to support and give advice to the KCBO’s on its activities and urged that the KCBO work for social affairs, national affairs, the peace process and to communicate and cooperate with overseas based Karen organizations.

KCBO is a forum set up in July 2010 by Thai-Burma border based Karen community organizations to provide emergency aid to refugees during a Burma Army offensive in the KNU’s 7th Brigade area.

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