IKO Urges KNU to Call Emergency Congress to Review Peace Process

The International Karen Organization (IKO) has urged the Karen National Union (KNU) to call an emergency congress to review and steer the ongoing peace and political processes.

The IKO spokesperson Mahn Orlando told Karen News that the IKO gave the suggestion in a statement that was released at the end of its second conference, which was held in Omaha, Nebraska in the United States on August 6-8.

“The KNU chairman himself has admitted that doing peace is like climbing a greasy pole. Both the delegates who attended [the conference] and those living outside [the country] believe that this path will not take us to the path, which is expected by the entire Karen people. That’s why they need to call the congress and discuss how to proceed on this [issue]. The KNU needs to respect and listen to not only the IKO’s voice but also the public’s voice and review the future plan,” said Mahn Orlando.

He continued that only ten ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) have signed the NCA so far and he does not see any prospect of more EAOs signing it. The NCA, which has been signed by the KNU, is not a complete contract that can implement peace and it also lacks clear-cut definitions so it’s impossible to continue walking on this NCA path.

“It’s good to make a demand, but in my opinion, the peace process is an issue that must always be carried out by the KNU even if the IKO didn’t make the demand. I know that they are carrying it out. There are sectors that must be carried out inconspicuously within the organization and there are sectors that must be revealed openly to the public. It’s important to know the difference [between these two]. In my opinion, it’s better to call the KNU congress in line with the constitution,” Saw Ka Pi, a political observer, said in relation to the IKO’s suggestion.

The IKO advised the KNU to rebuild solidarity based on the organization’s policy in order to strengthen the organization, build a stronger administration and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), cooperate with allied organizations, and for the KNU leaders to rebuild affection, respect, and trust from the Karen people.

Ethnic people were unable to discuss issues relating to self-determination and they could only discuss the basic principles of protecting the rights of ethnic minorities, basic human rights, gender equality, the Union Constitutional Tribune, and citizenship during the third session of the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong, which was held from July 11 to 16.

The IKO believes this indicates the inability to proceed for peace.

A total of 110 delegates from respective member countries from Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the United States-Canada attended the IKO Conference and reviewed work programs that were set down by the first conference and discuss the ongoing peace implementation process and political processes in Burma.

The IKO was established by Karen social organizations from over 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America in September 2014 and the conference is held annually.

The KNU Congress is held every four years in line with its constitution and the last congress covered a review on the tasks that were carried out within four years, submission and review of reports by respective townships and districts, and election of central executive committee members and central standing committee members.

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