The Karen Peace Support Network (KSPN) issued a statement on May 17 to condemn the government and the Tatmadaw for arresting and suing people involved in peaceful demonstrations where they called for the end of war in various areas in Burma.
“We want to highlight how the democracy government handled the ‘Stop War’ and ‘Peace Movement’ activities. Rather than supporting such kind of demand for peace, we want to highlight how the government handled it,” said Saw Kyaw Swar, spokesperson of the KSPN.
In the statement, the KPSN strongly condemned the Tatmadaw’s ongoing, widespread military offensives in Kachin, Shan, and Karen States, that have resulted in large-scale forced displacements, extrajudicial killings, rape, and torture of civilians.
The KSPN also called for the immediate release of all peaceful demonstrators detained by the police in Myitkyina, Yangon, Mandalay, Nattalin, and Pyay/Aung Lan, and for all charges against them to be dropped.
“While the public wants peace, we don’t want respective governments to restrict and arrest the demonstrators rather than cordially allowing them and assisting them. Actions should be taken if violence has been committed,” said Saw Kyaw Swar.
Clashes are still breaking out between the Tatmadaw and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) in the Kachin and northern Shan states. Although the Karen National Union (KNU) has signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), military tensions have been high between the KNU and the Tatmadaw since early March.
While the KSPN has been releasing statements on the ongoing situations, civil society organizations in the Karen State have been recently asking for donations to assist the internally displaced residents who have been affected by the conflicts.
The KSPN was established in July 2012 to assist the implementation of peace process between the KNU and the government with 29 Karen civil society organizations in Burma and border area.