The Karen Women Organization (KWO) has called for the postponement of Burma’s nationwide census, scheduled to run this month, until the data classifications are deemed appropriate to ethnic groups and the political situation in the country is stable.
Naw K’nyaw Paw, general secretary of KWO told Karen News that all its senior representatives attended the KWO annual meeting agreed and urged that the nationwide census should be rescheduled.
“There are still many things need to be done regarding the census data collection. Currently there are differences in recognition of ethnic classification between the government and the ethnic groups. There should be a survey about the census conducted before the nationwide census. If we want to get the correct and qualitative data, we should take more time.”
Naw K’nyaw Paw said that the KWO position calling for the postponement didn’t mean KWO opposed the census data collection. However, by accepting the government approaches to ethnic armed groups in conducting nationwide census seems like ethnic groups who have been struggling for equality over 60 years would have to serve under the government leadership in conducting census.
The KWO annual meeting held at Mae Sariang in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son District ran from 24th to 26th February – 45 representatives of the Karen Women Organization attended the KWO meeting from refugee camps along Thai-Burma border and from inside Karen State.
Issues discussed at the meeting included the current political development in Burma, repatriation of refugees and land confiscation.
Following the meeting, the Karen Women Organization released a statement that it was agreed that the organisation would focus on three key areas – continued advocacy to aid capacity building, to promote women to be engaged more in the peace process and constitutional reform.
The KWO annual meeting followed by meeting with members of Rangoon based Karen Women Empowerment Group (KWEG) led by its director Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe and had discussed about the future cooperation between the two groups.
The KWEG director, Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe said, “As we are the same community based organizations, we discussed plans for future cooperation, as there had been little space to work under the current political situation. For example, we had discussed how to cooperate when it comes to refugee repatriation.”