Burma Partnership, Strengthening Cooperation for a Free Burma
Signup Now!
Join our mailing list for latest news and information about Burma.

Karen Civil Society Has Lost Trust in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) Negotiations as a Gateway to Political Dialogue

By 41 Karen Civil Society Organizations  •  October 4, 2015

We, the undersigned civil society organizations and individuals from across Burma and the globe, have steadfastly engaged in the movement for the recognition of our ethnic rights to self-­‐determination, equality, democracy and human rights. We once had high hopes that the peace process and final NCA product co-­‐created by Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAO’s) and the government, even if not perfect, would be a window of opportunity to ink a durable nationwide ceasefire and move forward to the stages of political dialogue. However, in reality, the processes and the actors have failed miserably to:

  1. Build trust between the EAO’s and the government, to build trust among and unite the EAO’s themselves or most importantly to unify the majority of EAO’s to secure an inclusive NCA;
  2. Negotiate with the government to accept the inclusion of all EAOs to sign the NCA to make it a truly nationwide ceasefire;
  3. Stop the Tatmadaw’s (Burmese army) offensives in Kachin and Shan states and its increased militarization in ethnic administration areas;
  4. Create trust and confidence in the peace process among the Karen people as well as other ethnic people.

The latest summit of EAO leaders held on 28-­‐30th September resulted in a split of seven in favor and eleven that will not sign the current version without the stopping of the Tatmadaw’s offensives in ethnic areas and respecting the principle of all inclusiveness. The Karen National Union (KNU) Chairman and his allies have conspicuously led the grouping of seven in preparing the ground for what they hope will be the NCA signing event in the first half of October. We, Karen CSO’s, are alarmed by the fact that:

  1. Currently, the small group of KNU leaders has demonstrated a chronic lack of transparency and accountability to the Karen people and to their own organization by making the undemocratic and non-­‐inclusive decision to rush to sign the NCA with the support of only a small minority of EAO’s and against the will of the majority, disregarding the true meaning of “nationwide” ceasefire.
  2. Currently this group of KNU leaders is in Yangon with the expectation of signing NCA. They do this in violation of KNU and KNLA official procedures and without properly informing or receiving the majority’s consent from members of the KNU’s Central Executive Committee or the Central Standing Committee.
  3. These senior KNU leaders refuse to heed the concerns and voices of other Karen leaders, of civil society organizations, of community groups and the local people whom they claim to represent.

For the peace process to succeed in bringing actual peace it should not be rushed or forced. We earnestly recommend that:

  1. It is time for the leaders of the EAOs and the government to find a realistic and acceptable alternative that will bring all conflicting parties into agreement.
  2. Alternatives always exist if firstly there is enough democratic space for all concerned stakeholders to be involved, secondly, there is real commitment to respecting the needs and will of the people, and finally, there is a sincere will to address the root causes of the conflict to bring about lasting peace.
  3. The small group of KNU leaders and the EAOs leaders, who decided to sign, should seriously consider the unifying call for the inclusiveness of all ethnic armed groups.

Unity is our strength. Now, more than ever, is the time for the KNU and EAO leaders to learn from past mistakes. Obviously, without the unifying principle, we will remain stuck in the too-­‐familiar existing pattern of having ceasefires holding in one part of the country while conflict continues in other areas. The Burmese government and army claim they want peace. They must demonstrate sincerity as well as respect the bilateral preliminary agreements they have signed with individual groups since 2012. The ongoing military attacks demonstrate the opposite. There needs to be a decrease of militarization in the ethnic nationality areas.


For media contact:

Saw A Ganemy Kunoo (Karen, English & Burmese) +61-­‐413693311

Mahn Orlando (Karen & Burmese) +61-­‐431527267

Naw Htoo Ku Hsa Say (Karen & English) +44-­‐7940522425

Naw Wah Khu Shee (Karen & English) + 66861182261


The undersigned groups;

  1. Anglican Karen Church, TN, USA
  2. Australian Karen Organization, Inc, Australia
  3. Back Pack Health Workers Team, Burma/Thailand
  4. Bowling Green Karen Baptist Church, KY, USA
  5. Calvary Karen Baptist Church, Queensland, Australia
  6. Ebenezer Karen Church, Dallas, TX, USA
  7. Ethnic Nationalities Organization, Inc, Australia
  8. Finland Karen Culture Association, Finland
  9. Indiana Karen Baptist Fellowship, IN, USA
  10. International Karen Organization
  11. Israel Karen Organization, Israel
  12. Jury’s Orphanage, Thailand/Burma
  13. Karen Affairs Committee, Burma
  14. Karen American Organization, USA
  15. Karen Association of Iowa, IA, USA
  16. Karen Community Association of Wisconsin, WI. USA
  17. Karen Community Association, UK
  18. Karen Community in Norway
  19. Karen Community of Canada
  20. Karen Community of Colorado, CO, USA
  21. Karen Community of Ft. Worth, TX, USA
  22. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN, USA
  23. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, Burma/Thailand
  24. Karen Klo Kwe La Organization, TX, USA
  25. Karen National League, Japan
  26. Karen Rivers Watch, Burma/Thailand
  27. Karen Student Network Group, Burma/Thailand
  28. Karen Swedish Community, Sweden
  29. Karen Women Organization, Burma/Thailand
  30. Louisville Karen Community, KY, USA
  31. Malaysia Karen Organization, Malaysia
  32. Methodist Karen Church, TN, USA
  33. Mutraw Community Development Committee, Burma
  34. New Bern Karen Community, NC, USA
  35. New Zealand Karen Association, Inc, New Zealand
  36. Quad Cities Karen Community, IL & IA, USA
  37. Tabernacle Baptist Church, Karen Community, NY, USA
  38. Taw Oo Humanitarian and Development Committee, Burma
  39. Unity Karen Network in Highpoint, NC, USA
  40. Utica Karen Baptist Church, NY, USA
  41. Utica Karen Community, NY, USA

Download the statement in English here.

သေဘာထားေၾကညာခ်က္ ျမန္မာဘာသာကို ဤေနရာတြင္ ေဒါင္းလုပ္ရယူႏိုင္ပါသည္။

Tags: , , , ,

This post is in: Press Release

Related Posts