The Karen National Union’s vice chairperson, Naw Zipporah Sein, travelled to the Irrawaddy Delta and to Rangoon to hear what people thought and felt about the ongoing peace process.
When Naw Zipporah Sein said that “the peace process needs to be inclusive,” her recent trip across Burma added meaning to her words.
The soft-spoken, yet staunchly principled Vice Chairperson of the Karen National Union went to Karen communities in the Irrawaddy delta area recently to hold town hall meetings in Pantanaw, Myaungmya and Ohn Chaung.
“I am here to listen to your concerns,” she told a crowd of approximately 500 people in Ohn Chaung.
“We know you are worried, we know you have many questions in your mind,” she added.
“The peace we want is for all the people in the country, not for KNU only.”
Naw Zipporah said she takes the trip seriously and is thankful that the current preliminary ceasefire period between KNU and the government allow her to visit many Karen communities.
Naw Zipporah was accompanied by four senior KNU leaders, P’doh Thamein Tun, P’doh Saw Hla Tun and P’doh Mya Maung and P’doh Saw Liston.
In Rangoon, the KNU group met with the Karen community and updated them about the ceasefire in KNU administered areas.
Hundreds of Karen turned up at the event held at the Myanmar Council of Churches on May 7.
The Karen Affairs Minister, Saw Tun Aung Myint who attended the meeting encouraged the people to speak out.
“Don’t be afraid to speak up and raise your concerns, this is a changing time in Myanmar,” he told the large crowd.
Many people at the community meetings asked Naw Zipporah about ongoing human rights abuses in ethnic areas and unregulated business activities under the guise of development in conflict-affected areas. Many people wanted to know what the KNU plans were to respond to the ongoing fighting in Kachin State.
“We are with you, we are worried about the continuing fighting in the north,” Naw Zipporah said.
At the dinner hosted by Minister Aung Min, vice chair of Union Peace Working Committee on May 6, Naw Zipporah Sain raised the Kachin issue and said that it would be difficult to carry on any nation-wide ceasefire negotiations in a meaningful way, while the Burma Army is launching offensives in Kachin State.