Karen Groups To Hold National Conference On Politics, Arms And Unity

Karen political and community groups representing Karen communities from across Burma will hold a Karen National Convention in 2014 to discuss the cooperation between Karen armed organisations and political parties in ensuring there is unity going into the future.

The Karen Unity and Peace Committee (KUPC) held a meeting on April 10 in Pyin Oo Lwin that led to the decision to hold a Karen National Convention.

Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe, director of Karen Women’s Empowerment Group, who was privy to the negotiations, explained to Karen News.

“What agreement we reached from today’s forum’s discussion is to hold an inclusive Karen Nationwide Convention during this year. The schedules for time and place are yet to be fixed. However, there is one thing we can assure that the discussion issues will include how the Karen people will work politically together, how the Karen (Kayin) parties will cooperate together, and how the Karen armed organizations will cooperate together.”

Padoh Saw Hla Tun, a member of Karen Unity and Peace Committee (KUPC) said that the Karen National Convention will also be an opportunity to discuss issues raised by the Karen community during previous forums held in the Irrawaddy division, Bago division, Taninthayi division, Yangon division, Mon state, Karen state and Thai-Burma border refugee camps such as Mae La and Umpiem Mai refugee camps.

Speaking to Karen News, Padoh Saw Hla Tun said.

“We need to discuss a wide range of issues raised by our Karen people from different regions in Burma. We need a platform to share and discuss the issues together. We have to look at all the issues and come up with a [political] concept that is acceptable by all the Karen people. Then the Karen National Convention will be held in order to set the same future for all Karen people.”

The KUPC’s forum was attended by Karen leaders that included, the Karen National Union (KNU) general secretary Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, General Bo Paw Doh, secretary of the Karen Armed Organizations Unity Committee and Mahn Aung Pyi Soe, vice chairperson of the Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party (PSDP).

Saw Win Naing, a representative from Pakant city in Kachin State who took part at the forum said.

“I joined the forum in goodwill and for the unity of Karen people. This is the first time we joined in such kind of forum. We will try to be involved in the upcoming conference as much as possible.”

Karen Unity and Peace Committee (KUPC) was formed on May 2013 with 57 members with the aim to work towards securing a better future for all Karen people. Its members include representatives from Karen armed organizations, Karen Affair Ministers, Karen religious leaders, Karen community based organizations and Karen political party.

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