Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups
Following the 15th Congress a committee of seven members headed by General Jonny was formed to unite all the Karen armed groups. The aim of the committee is to work towards a unified political principle.
The Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups held its first meeting on the 28 May 2013 in Hto Kaw Koe, Pa-an district with members from the KNU, the DKBA, the KNU/KNLA Peace Council, the Haung Tharaw special area of peace group, Payargone (a) Padoh Aung San group and the Border Guard Force (BGF).
The unity committee was formed with 17 members—three from the KNU led by General Johny, three from the KNU/KNLA (PC) by Brigadier-General Yin Nu, three from the BGF by Colonel Saw Chit, three from the DKBA by Brigadier-General Kyaw Thet, three from the KPF by Major Phartadar and two from the Phayagyigone peace organization by Phado Saw Myint Than.
KNLA Commander-in-Chief General Johnny said, “We all are Karen people so we must be united in the moment of truth”.
Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups holds its Second Meeting:
The Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups headed by GOC of KNLA General Jonny held its second meeting at Shwe Kokko Myaing on the 3rd September 2013. The meeting, part of an agreed regular quarterly meetings, discussed various topics between the Karen armed groups. The Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups reached a decision that all the Karen armed groups are to be united and that the committee members will consist of up to 17 people.
They agreed to set up a joint liaison office located in an area where conflict is likely to occur amongst them. However, prior to setting up the liaison office the KNU will take responsibility to write the Terms of Reference for the committee. The armed group representatives discussed the drug issue in Karen State and agreed that in the forthcoming meeting they would form an anti-drug committee, led by the KNU. Prior to the next meeting the KNU will take responsibility to make public drug awareness and distribute pamphlets among the areas.
There were 41 people who attended the meeting. 11 representatives from KNU, 3 representatives from KNU/KNLA Peace Council, 4 representatives from KPF, 3 representatives from Payagone Peace and 17 representatives from BGF, 2 representatives Thandaung Special Area and 1 representative from Thandaung North.
UCKAG Hold Public Community Consultation and Drug Education Meeting:
The Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups recently held Public Community Consultation and Drug Education Meetings from the 21-28 May 2014. The first meeting was held on the 21 May at Hto Kaw Koe Peace Council Headquarters, Pa-an district, followed by meetings on 23 May at Ka So Village, on 25 May at Kwam Bee, and on 26 May at K’Maw Hle in Lu Pleh Township, Pa-an District. The final meeting was on 28 May at Wa T’Mo village, Dwe Lo Township, Mutraw District. Members from the KNU, DKBA, KNU/KNLA Peace Council and Border Guard Force (BGF) participated in the meetings.
Karen National Liberation Army GOC and Chairperson of the Unity Committee for Karen Armed Groups, General Saw Jonny, led the meetings. KNU delegates included P’doh Shwe Maung, P’doh Saw Aung Maw Aye, P’doh Saw Ah Toe, Col Saw Paw Doh and P’doh Saw Ba Dee Poe. Additionally there were two delegates from the KNU/KNLA (PC) led by Brigadier-General Yin Nu and Col Saw Shwe Kyaw, two from BGF advisors led by Colonel Saw Chit Thu and Saw Kya Inn, and one delegate from DKBA Colonel Saw Maung Kya. Furthermore, anti-drug police officers from Kaw T’ree Township, Lu Pleh Township and Papun Town of the KNU joined local villagers, including monks A Shin Agga Wuntha from Taunggale monastery, Myawaddy and A Shin Sandara from Mae Sa Mate monastery, Lu Pleh Township in some meetings.
During the Public Community Consultation and Drug Education meetings, leaders from UCKAG gave speeches about the threat of spreading drugs in Karen State. Local people committed to collaborate with UCKAG to eliminate the threat of spreading drugs. They agreed to educate the public on drug awareness through the communities within Karen State. Leaders also listened to advice and suggestions from the communities.
General Saw Isaac Po from KNLA said, “The development of one nation is dependent on the next generation. If young people are addicted to drugs, then the future of this nation will be a disaster. The next Karen generation must be free from narcotics.”
The Community Consultation and Drug Education meetings, strengthened relationships between UCKAG leaders and local people demonstrating unity and peace building between the Karen armed groups to the public.