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Karen in Europe Call for Increased Refugee Aid and Political Solution in Burma

By European Karen Network  •  July 20, 2012

The third general meeting of European Karen Network (EKN) was successfully held in Sweden from 13 – 14 July 2012. More than 100 people from various Karen communities across Europe, including women and youths participated in the meeting.

Various issues were discussed including; problems facing different Karen Communities in Europe, how to build stronger cooperation within European Karen communities, the recent reforms in Burma, the peace process between the Burmese government and the Karen National Union, the human rights situation in Kachin and Arakan State, to raise a stronger voice for other suffering ethnic people in Burma, and to continue lobbying European governments.

European Karen Network welcomes the cease-fire agreement between Burmese Government and the Karen National Union. For many decades, the Karen people have been struggling for peace and rights to self-determination. The Burmese governments use violence against our people. Based on our past experience and as victims of human rights violations committed by the Burmese Army, we are very cautious about the situation in Karen and other ethnic areas. The Burmese Army has broken a 17-year-old ceasefire agreement in Kachin State, committing human rights abuses such as raping, torturing, looting, pottering, killing, and shooting on sight.

Requests

  1. EKN calls on the Burmese government to engage in dialogue with the Karen National Union for lasting political solutions that can guarantees the safety and security of the Karen people. We believe that a ceasefire alone without political solution will not bring genuine peace for our Karen people.
  2. EKN is deeply concerned about the exiting and proposed development projects in Karen areas. We want economic development that will benefit local people and ensure the protection of the environment.
  3. EKN also calls on European governments to increase humanitarian aid especially refugee aid and cross-border humanitarian assistance for internally displaced people along the border areas.

“European Governments and the international community focus too much on the small positive changes in central Burma and prematurely reduce pressure against the dictatorship while human rights situation in ethnic areas is getting worse.” said Naw Tah Eh Shee, board member of European Karen Network and executive member of Karen Community Norway. “We have been suffering human rights abuses for decades. It is very disappointing that the EU and the rest of the international community fail to pay proper attention to what is happening in ethnic areas. They have been easily fooled by the Burmese government promising reform without yet delivering. EU and international governments should not ignore and neglect the on-going human rights situation in ethnic areas. “

The European Karen Network was set up in July 2009 with the aim to raise awareness about the situation of the Karen people of Burma, and Burma as a whole. We are the voice in Europe of the Karen struggle for freedom. We pressure European governments and the rest of the international community to do more to bring about democratic change in Burma.

For more information please contact:

European Time

Naw Tah Eh Shee (Norway): +47 94824532
Naw A Nge Ma (Sweden) + 46 761189263
Mary Hla (UK): +44 7853287330

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