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Open Letter to Norwegian Ambassador Katja Nordgaard on Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MPSI) Consultation

By Karen Women Organization, Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, Burma Partnership, Human Rights Education Institute of Burma and Women's League of Burma  •  August 30, 2012

Dear Ambassador Nordgaard,

At the outset, we state that we welcome Norway’s MPSI. We view such initiative to have the potential of furthering peace processes, especially in the ethnic areas. As such, consider us as peace building actors and we are willing to provide our support where necessary.

However, we feel Norway is unable to demonstrate a good practice for MPSI consultations. You very well know that MPSI’s flawed, rushed and un-transparent peace fund consultations have been and will never be acceptable to ethnic communities and community-based organizations.

We will not attend your proposed 3-hour “consultation meeting” on September 1 because Norway-MPSI has just committed the same problem again.

We are extremely disappointed by your decision to not move the September 1 MPSI meeting to another later date. The fundamental problem is not only with the rushed date but the way the agenda is structured and the dominance of expert-consultants. You very well know you major oversight.

First, you sent the invitation only 5 days before the consultation. Why can this not be changed?

Second, that date is in direct conflict with our meetings on September 1 and 2. Many community-based organizations and CSOs working in Burma, on the border and with the refugees who will be impacted by MPSI cannot attend your consultation due to the conflict.

Third, the proposed agenda is full of presentations and allows for less than an hour cumulative time for Q & A. Since we will be discussing the updated MPSI Program Strategy, MPC and the issues moving forward, we encouraged you to revise the agenda and format to allow more time for substantive, targeted conversations. We believe it would be much better to also prepare a common set of guide questions, distributed before the meeting so that participants come prepared. You were silent on this.

Fourth, we requested an advanced copy of the consultation materials, including the necessary translation. We received nothing until now.

As such, we reiterate our demand that that the September 1 consultation be postponed to a later date. We want seek the public commitment of Norway-MPSI:

  • Will you reschedule the meeting with two-week notice?
  • Will you commit to redesign the agenda with clear guide questions and more time for consultation to allow a more substantive and targeted discussion?
  • Will you send the consultation materials including the appropriate translations?
  • Will you disclose the outcomes of previous consultations?

We ask you again to reconsider your decision regarding this meeting. Otherwise, Norway will be seen as manufacturing consent without broad support and consent from the various ethnic communities. We remain hopeful that Norway uses the peace building process as an opportunity to further reconciliation, not divide Burma ethnic communities.

Signed: 

Karen Women Organisation
Karen Environmental Social Action Network
Burma Partnership
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma
Women’s League of Burma

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This post is in: Press Release

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