The Karen National Union (KNU) will not only negotiate land issues in the Karen State with the Burmese government but also carry them out in practice, KNU’s joint secretary-2 Pado Mann Mann Mann said.
He made the remarks at the press conference held on the last day of the Karen National Political Dialogue on Land and Environmental Sector. The event was held at Zwekabin Hall in the Karen State’s capital Hpa-an from 5 to 7 January.
“We are going to negotiate the on-going land issues and land management with the government and solve them together. We will not only discuss the issues in terms of policy but also work on them in practice,” said Pado Mann Mann Mann, who led the discussions on the land sector at the Karen National Political Dialogue.
He added that the basic land policies and objectives, which are currently under discussion, will be submitted to the political dialogue or the second session of the 21st Century Panglong Conference in order to receive an endorsement.
He hopes these land policies and objectives will be helpful in future federal union-related discussions where all ethnic people can take part.
Over 100 people including Karen representatives from respective regions, Karen political parties, and experts on drafting the land policy attended the dialogue on land and environmental sector and discussed and approved six aims on land sector, fifteen basic policies, ten points to be carried out in the interim period, over twenty basic environmental policies, and over ten points to be carried out in the interim period, according to the press conference.
“There are many land confiscation cases in the Karen State and this issue is very important in the country. We will work on this issue in line with basic policies during this period. We will assist the local residents in obtaining their properties in agreement with the law,” said Nan Say Awar from the State-Level Ceasefire Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC-S).
The KNU enacted its land policy in 1947 and amended it in 2015, claiming that land must be owned by the people. However, the 2008 Constitution states that land is owned by the State.
KNU officials and the Karen State government officials met at the Karen State government office on 6 November, 2016 to discuss cooperation in solving regional land issues.