KNU holds its annual CSC meeting:
2-7 December 2013, Lay Wah, Hpa-an district, Karen State. Karen National Union leaders held the 2nd Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting following the 15th Congress. The meeting was held over 6 days from 2-7 December 2013. Forty-five out of forty eight CSC members attended and participated in the meeting. During the meeting the CSC reviewed the plans that were laid down at the 15th Congress and activities over the last (10) months of the KNU. Moreover CSC analysed the current political developments and laid down future KNU activities, including working with different ethnic peace process relationships. Delegates also analysed and discussed the political analysis and KNU activities reports presented by KNU – CEC over the (10) months following the 15th Congress.
Furthermore, CSC discussed and reviewed the NCCT’s (Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team) prepared Nationwide Ceasefire document, as well as, the government proposed Nationwide Ceasefire documents. Additionally, they reviewed and planned the administrative work under KNU controlled areas, discussed openly and reviewed widely the cooperation work of ethnic alliance activities, if it met KNU’s alliance policy or not and made decisions for the future. The meeting discussed and reassured KNU’s cooperation and coordination with ethnic armed organisations based on the common interests, common understanding and mutual respect.
The delegation showed their concern on the forth-coming 2014 government’s nationwide census. The preparation data collection sheets showed (11) Karen sub-tribes as ethnicities instead of one Karen ethnic group. The United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, and other donors support the nationwide census.
The CSC annual meeting was conducted 2 months earlier than usual due to important issues that needed to be discussed owing to the political situation.
2-6 September 2013, Hpa-an District, Karen State:
Karen National Union leaders held a political consultation meeting at Lay Wah, Hpa-an district, Karen State over 5 days from 2-6 September 2013. The Central Executive Committee (CEC) led the meeting with participants from the Central Standing Committee, Head of Departments, 3 representatives from each district and brigade leadership and civil society leaders. In total more than 100 people attended the 5-day consultative meeting in Hpa-an.
During the meeting the KNU leadership shared information regarding its political activities since the 15th Congress. The KNU frankly, openly and transparently discussed the preliminary ceasefire situation and the way forward. The meeting reassured the participants of the KNU’s political objectives and policy. The meeting reviewed and discussed the achievements and challenges following the signing the preliminary ceasefire in January 2012.
Participants welcomed the consultative meeting and requested regular consultative meetings every few months; the final timeframe will be made by CEC. They also recommended to the CEC to reunite and lead all the Karen armed groups politically. It was also expressed that there should be participation of the CBO’s/CSO’s in the peace process and that the nationwide ceasefire must have a guarantee for political dialogue working alongside other ethnic groups.
31 August 2013, Naypyitaw:
A joint ethnic team composing of KNU and RCSS leaders, including other ethnic leaders met with Vice President and Chairperson of Union Peacemaking Working Committee (UPWC) Dr Sai Mawk Kham. UPWC Vice-Chairperson and Deputy Army Commander in Chief Vice Senior, General Soe Win; UPWC Vice-Chairperson and Head of Lower House National Race Affairs and Internal Peacemaking Committee, U Thein Zaw together with his (16) committee members and UPWC Vice- Chairperson and Chief Peace Negotiator U Aung Min and his team members of 9 union ministers.
Karen National Union Chairman, General Saw Mutu Say Poe; KNU General Secretary, P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win; Political & Military Advisor to the KNU Chairman, Col Saw Htoo Htoo Lay; Central Executive Committee members, P’doh Saw Roger Khin and P’doh Saw Tah Doh Moo; Brigadier General, Saw Eh K’lu Thein; Dooplaya District Chairman, P’doh Saw Shwe Mawn; PSO to KNU Chairman, Saw Tamula and PSO to Col Htoo Htoo Lay, Saw Baw Boe; including two RCSS representatives Col Sai Hla and Lt Col Sai Ngeun, Academic on Ethnic affairs, Dr Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong and his assistant Sai Mawn and Naw San presented their ethnic perspective on the peace process.
During the meeting the Karen National Union delegation led by Chairman General Mutu Say Poe explained the KNU stance regarding the peace process reinforcing the fact that they are committed to peace while stressing that peace is needed with the participation of all stakeholders. General Mutu stated to the UPWC that all parties needed to work together to overcome the challenges that are ahead. KNU General Secretary P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo Win explained the KNU policy regarding the political solution, which is “to solve the political problem peacefully through negotiation”. The concept of “solving the political problem peacefully through negotiation” is that the negotiations must be based on equal status for all in relation to national reconciliation within the framework of democratic federalism. He also pointed out the two main problems of Burma, as in “the denial of ethnic aspirations and the denial of the peoples’ right to democracy”.
Following this KNU policy, the KNU signed a preliminary ceasefire on the 12th January 2012 in Hpa-an. The KNU are attempting to construct a genuine peace process and national reconciliation, however a confidence building mechanism needs to be in place due to mistrust from decades of armed conflict. P’doh Saw Kwe Htoo emphasized at the meeting that the KNU believes that in order to begin addressing a political dialogue there needs to be a confidence building mechanism in the form of a cessation of hostilities, a mutually agreed and implemented code of conduct, a monitoring system, and troop relocation.
The KNU believe in peace and justice and that it will only come from a constitution that is written with representatives of the people, by the people and for the people. Therefore the political dialogue of the peace process must discuss the contents of constitutional amendments with the participation of all stakeholders. Additionally he added in order to go ahead with the political dialogue all armed groups involved in armed conflict need to sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement including the Tatmadaw. Then all the stakeholders of the armed conflict are guaranteed a cessation of hostilities and discussions that will bring about a peaceful solution within a stated timeframe thus bringing peace and reconciliation and a new era to Burma/Myanmar. Consequently, the nationwide ceasefire agreement must include guarantees such as the withdrawal of unlawful association, ceasefire confidence building measures, the reaffirmation of the ceasefire agreements, which have been signed individually by the armed groups along with the government, and the promulgation of political dialogue that will start within the agreed time frame etc.
The Political & Military Affairs Advisor to the KNU Chairman, Col Saw Htoo Htoo Lay delivered a PowerPoint presentation on the political dialogue framework. Col Saw Htoo Htoo Lay pointed out that some contents are lacking in the peace process, such as, the institutions of the government, political parties, civil societies, ethnic people and all the people in Burma who do not believe in the peace process. On the other hand he presented ways to address this, saying that all the stakeholders must be allowed to participate in the discussions. Secondly, all these stakeholders who participate in the peace process have to take responsibility whether the peace process is succeeds or fails. We should create a process for the inclusion of all people to participate in the peace process. Furthermore, he mentioned the draft framework agreement for political dialogue prepared by the ethnic armed groups.
This meeting presented a great opportunity for all the stakeholders, as it was the first time that some ethnic leaders led by the KNU were able to meet with the Vice-President and Chairman of UPWC, Dr Sai Mawk Kham and its members.
Presentation Paper Given: 2013, Aug The KNU and the Peace Process
KNU Delegation meets with Government Officials, Rangoon:
A Karen National Union delegation met with government officials for a new round of peace talks on June 15. The delegation was led by Chairman Saw Mutu Say Poe. the delegation included its Defense Department head, Padoh Saw Roger Khin, the Karen National Liberation Army’s Chief of Staff, General Johnny and Major Dee Kwe. A separate group of KNU delegates, led by one of its Central Executive member, Padoh Saw Tah Doh Moo, was also in Rangoon to discuss issues related to the current ceasefire arrangement with the government. Delegates include, Padoh Saw Aung Win Shwe from the KNU’s Foreign Department, Padoh Saw Eh Kalu Say, from the KNU Justice Department, Saw Ta M’la and Major Ta M’la Thaw. The KNU delegation led by Padoh Tadoh Moo met with officials at the Myanmar Peace Center to discuss the Ceasefire Code-of-Conduct that both the Burma Army and the KNLA have to obey. These trips were arranged following a three-day meeting with the KNU Central Executive Committee on June 10 in a undisclosed location in the KNLA’s Brigade 7.