Message for International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
On this day, 25th November 2013, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, KWO is launching a 16-Day Campaign calling for the elimination of violence against women. The awareness raising campaign will take place in the 7 Karen refugee camps and 5 districts inside Karen State. Participants will gain knowledge on how to prevent and stop violence against women, compete in speeches and debates, and participate in community activities aimed at advocating for the protection of women.
“If you see someone committing violence against women, you must stop them. Not stopping violence makes everyone guilty. Victims of violence can seek help from KWO. If victims live in a refugee camp, they can access one of KWO’s safe houses where they will have a safe place to stay and be provided with some material needs and counseling. Victims inside Karen state can get assistance from the KWO leader in their district or township.”
This past Tuesday, 22 October, the Burmese Army brutally attacked 2 villages in Southern Kachin State. This is in direct violation of the agreement signed by the Government and the Kachin National Organisation just 12 days previously. The attack was launched by 7 Burmese army battalions. These attacks affected several camps where approximately 2400 Internally Displaced People (IDP’S) have been living and are now threatened yet again.
“Local witnesses stated that 60mm heavy artillery shells landed near the school in the IDP camp. Burmese soldiers looted IDPs’ belongings and arrested eight villagers from Kong Ja Village and two from Mung Ding Pa village, including a child aged about 12. These inhumane actions forced many of the refugees to flee for their lives. Some elderly and infirm people and children and have taken refuge in the Mung Ding Pa village church.” (Kachin National Organisation, press release 23 October 2013)
The Karen Women’s Organisation strongly condemns this attack on innocent people and the looting of supplies and belongings of those who have the least in our community. There have been reports of rape and other human rights violations. Women have always suffered as victims of war and this terrible attack is yet another instance of the abuse the women of Burma have suffered at the hands of the military.
The International community should intervene to stop this and other human rights violations by the Burmese army and its government. We question the Burmese commitment to true peace when these actions are allowed to occur. We, like all ethnic peoples of Burma, stand with the Kachin people against these violations of all our rights.
Naw K’nyaw Paw, an executive member of the Karen Women’s Organization, in an exclusive interview with Karen News spoke about the need for women to be included in peace talks as stipulated under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, the impact of drugs and gambling on family life and the added stresses women now face in Burma’s changing political landscape…
For too many people in Burma, the sound of gunfire and mortar bombs is a familiar one. For decades the Burmese army has relentlessly attacked civilians in Burma’s ethnic states. The United Nations has documented multiple possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Burmese army, which has deliberately targeted civilians. Unknown millions have fled such attacks in the six decades since Burma gained independence.
I know very well the fear when, without warning, the Burmese army attacks a village. The sudden crackle of gunfire and the boom of mortar bombs as they shake the ground. Twice I fled such attacks when the Burmese army attacked my village. Continue reading →
KWO is pleased to provide our 2011/12-update report including programs currently running in the community, challenges and successes, financial reports, KWO special activities and a Call to Action. One thing that remains true throughout KWO’s 28 years of service is our commitment to the Empowerment, Equality, and Freedom of all Karen women. Thank you to KWO staff, leaders, members, volunteers, community members, partner organizations and funders who help make KWO successful!
20th June, 2013 World Refugee Day Event: Umphiem and Mae La Camp
Three hundred refugees in Umphiem camp united on 20 June 2013 in recognition of World Refugee Day. The event was organized by the Camp Committee, CBOs and some NGOs. Thai local authorities, UNHCR and other NGOs joined the event. During the event different groups and organizations, including KWO, gave speeches. KSNG camp based students’ group preformed a drama about unsafe conditions such as land mines, which make it dangerous for refugees to return (to Burma). The event also showcased traditional dance and song from different ethnic groups in the camp and refugee children.
In Mae La camp approximately 3,000 refugees and community members came together on 20 June 2013 in recognition of World Refugee Day. The day was organized by the Camp Committee and camp based CBOs such as KWO, KSNG and some NGOs. CBOs, NGOs, UNHCR, KRC and local authorities participated in the event. Activities included a drama about how people become refugees by HI camp based staffs and traditional song and dance performances by a few ethnic groups in camp. The Thai authorities were present and received thanks from different organizations working on the border for hosting refugees in Thailand.
Youth from both camps participated in a Drawing Competition. Three winners were selected from each camp and presented with prizes. All of the contestants also received a small gift.