Karen Unity Meeting Attended by Ministers in Pa-an

Representatives of Karen organizations attend the Karen Affairs Meeting in Pa-an, Karen State, on Friday. (Photo: Pyi Daw Myint / The Irrawaddy)

Hundreds of Karen community leaders met with top government officials in Pa-an, Karen State, on Friday to discuss unity among the various political, armed, religious and community organizations.

The meeting follows a call by the Karen National Union earlier in March to unite the disparate armed groups in the state.

At the meeting in Pa-an, about 400 Karen representatives attended the meeting organized by the Karen Affairs Committee, a Rangoon-based group led by influential pastor Dr Simon Tha.

President’s Office Minister and chief government peace negotiator Aung Min also attended the meeting, along with Zaw Min, the chief minister of Karen State, and other officials and representatives of the Myanmar Peace Center.

The Karen groups expressed their desire for unity and the success of the peace process.

Aung Min and Zaw Min said they attended the meeting to show the government’s commitment to peace in Karen State, where armed groups have fought a war for autonomy since 1949 against the Burmese government.

Mahn Nyein Maung, a leading member of the Karen National Union Central Committee, said the Karen do not want to separate from Burma.

Naw Hsar Mu Tu, a Karen observer at the meeting from the National League for Democracy, told The Irrawaddy in a phone interview on Friday that the Karen groups said they want a chance to unite.

“They said we Karen are not united. We need to rebuild unity among ourselves,” Hsar Mu Tu said.

The Border Guard Force in Karen State, a militia under Burmese government control, has said increased development will bring unity among the groups at the meeting.

The Karen Baptist Convention, a Rangoon-based religious organization, proposed an organization be established that could be a contact point for all Karen groups, adding that a committee should be set up to study amending the 2008 Constitution.

With additional reporting by Pyi Daw Myint in Pa-an.

7 Responses to Karen Unity Meeting Attended by Ministers in Pa-an

  1. Reunite,reorganize and rebuilt to become the strong political organization .Fine the new role for the karen people at new geo political environment.Under one umbrella organization,urgently need to arm the people with education,health care and economy development.Karen people had have enough for suffering in their life.

  2. What is wrong with these Karens? No one in the picture seems excited nor happy. Hand them pillows that they can take some naps.

  3. Karen Unity meeting!!!! Ha, ha, ha!

    Attended by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people making it so, so genuine!!!

    The armed people are dealing with other armed people to divvy up the loot of the land and enslavement of their populace who put false hope upon them by selling out to the SEZ penal colonies. If that is all the people get after 70 odd years of death, torture and destruction and the irreversible environmental disaster Tsunami on the way!

    And people rejoice!

    How come Nyein Maung the PEACE is done with more of your new best friends Bamar Sit-tut coming in strength into the land Bo Mya died to defend for?

    After all the environmental destruction following your well orchestrated surrender and the people are caught in the perpetual cycle of debt, violence, drug abuse and servitude, what happens then? Because it is that very scene YOU and Sae Po are selling out the people of this kindness, endurance, strength and character.

  4. Just for clarification, the correct name of the meeting is Karen Affairs Meeting. I see some people trying to discredit just to ruin things. And do you expect people to be having big smiles on their faces in the middle of a serious meeting?

    How is letting people die brutally in our land defending? Seeking peace is the way to stop the violence and start developing our Karen land. There were three main topics discussed by all Karens in the meeting and they were Karen unity, Karen future and forever peace. Participants included Karen representatives and leaders from different geographical regions, different political parties, different faith groups, and different armed groups. There were discussion sessions facilitated by Karen professionals after the speech session seen in the picture. EACH of the participants brainstormed and expressed their opinions on specific questions concerning the main topics of the meeting.

    So my response to the above comments is yes, the meeting was genuine and it was held for the sake of All Karens’ future. On top of that, it was only step one, and all the participants discussed about continuing the process for future meetings that will cover more specific topics. If you do not appreciate it, at least do not try to ruin it. It’s about time that all Karens speak out together in one voice!

    (By the way, sarcasm doesn’t lead us to a better situation except to disintegrate our own people.)

  5. Finally Karen learns to be part of political process.
    I totally agree with Moe.
    Normal Karens have suffered enough. Time to heal them and time to develop the Karen states.
    We need to stop this Karen vs. Bamar mindset. I myself as a Karen personally met many genuine Bamar and crook Karens. There is no bad or good race or nationility. We are just imperfect humanbeing. Now it’s time to be objective and move forward.

    • “Finally Karen learns to be part of political process.”

      Tun…could you please unlearn what you learnt under Ne Win-Saw Maung-Than Shwe rule and make a little bit of effort to find out the political history of the Karen and Burma? You seems to define politics in a very narrow sense and seemingly implicitly accuse the Karen people of only having waged war.The truth is war broke out because there was no room for the Karens to make any political move in the sense of diplomacy. Have you ever wondered why non-Karen ethnic nationalities also have been in conflict with the successive oppressors? Do you think they are war-like or something?

      Your comment also seems to accuse the Karen people of racists. You should know that the Karen struggle is all about the struggle for national self-determination within a genuine federal union, based on democracy, nothing else. In other words, the Karen struggle is NOT about directing hatred against any nationalities, but about achieving our inalienable right to direct our own affairs as a people by virtue of human beings.

      And do not get too excited by the news of the Karen Affairs Meeting as there is still not a shred of sign that Nay Pyi Taw has the political will to hold a nation-wide political dialogue to resolve Burma’s longstanding political conundrum.

      Finally, I assure you that we will struggle on at any cost until we achieve our right to self-determination!

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