About Karen Women Organisation

The Karen Women Organisation was formed in 1949 and has a membership of over 64,100 women. KWO is a community-based organisation of Karen women working in development and relief in the refugee camps on the Thai border and with IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) and women inside Burma. Since our formation in 1949 we have expanded our focus from one of purely social welfare to try to encourage an awareness of Women's Rights and to promote women’s participation in the community decision making and political processes. The objectives of the KWO  To assist women in the endeavour to be free from all forms of oppression.  To promote and empower women in all spheres of life, including education and general living standards.  To encourage women to participate in the struggle for freedom, democracy and equality.  To develop women's knowledge, ability and skills, including political and organizational skills.  To achieve the rights of women and equal status with men.  To promote and maintain Karen culture and traditions.  To improve the well-being of women and children and to increase their access to adequate health, education and welfare services. KWO aims to empower women through offering various capacity building trainings to teach skills, build confidence and create new opportunities so that women will be better able to solve problems. We are working hard to educate ourselves and our communities so that we can work more effectively and advocate for our struggle on the international stage. We believe that women’s contribution is an essential factor in the peace-building and national reconciliation processes of Burma.

KAREN WOMEN’S ORGANISATION PRESS STATEMENT ON BURMESE MILITARY PERSECUTION OF THE ROHINGYA PEOPLE

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Sponsor a teacher : For one dollar a day!

For one dollar a day Every child is entitled to an education and to live as full a life as possible. Refugee children with, or without, disabilities deserve the same. Indigenous Karen people from Burma have lived as refugees in camps in Thailand for a long time. We formed the Karen Women’s Organization to strengthen and serve our community. There were no Special Education services in our homeland, nor in the refugee camps. Children with disability were at home, often sitting in a dark corner, and their parents had no support. So we organized ourselves and built a project to provide services and support to children with special needs. We trained refugee women to work with our disabled children and to support parents. We raised money. And we have changed lives. Tragically, our financial support has been severely reduced as other refugee crises have pulled resources.

Special Education Project Updates 2016-2017

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, individual sponsors and support from the community, KWO was able to continue the Special Education Project successfully throughout the 2016-17 school year. We thank you for your encouragement and assistance. We are looking forward to the new year and hope you all stay with us!

 

ကြ်ႏ္ုပ္တို႕ကို ပစ္မထားပါႏွင့္ / Do not abandon us (Burmese Subtitle)

Published on Jun 20, 2017
ဇြန္လ ၂ဝ ရက္၊ ၂ဝ၁၇ ခုႏွစ္တြင္က်ေရာက္ေသာ ကမာၻ႕ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားေန႕ကို ေလးစားဂုဏ္ျပဳလ်က္ ကရင္ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးအေထာက္အကူျပဳကြန္ရက္ (KPSN) ကလူသားခ်င္းစာနာေထာက္ပံ့မႈအေထာက္အပံ့ေလွ်ာ့ခ်မႈကိုႀကံဳေတြ႕ရၿပီး လံုၿခံဳမႈမရွိေသးသည့္ မိမိေနရပ္ဌာေနသို႕ ျပန္ရန္တြန္းအားေပးခံေနရသည့္ဒုကၡသည္မ်ား၏လက္ရွိအခက္အခဲကို ဤရုပ္သံမွတ္တမ္းတိုတြင္ တင္ျပထားသည္။

ကရင္ဒုကၡသည္စခန္းႏွစ္ခုျဖစ္သည့္ မယ္လအူးႏွင့္မယ္ရာမလြန္ဒုကၡသည္စခန္းမ်ားအတြင္း၌ရိုက္ကူးေမးျမန္းမႈမ်ားကို ျပဳလုပ္ကာ ဤမွတ္တမ္းတိုေလးကို တင္ျပထားျခင္းျဖစ္သည္။

 

Do not Abandon us (English Subtitle)

Published on Jun 20, 2017

To commemorate the World Refugee Day on 20th June 2017, standing together with refugees, the Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN) would like to share the voices and concerns of Karen Refugees along the Thai -Burma border.

The video “Don’t abandon us” tells the story of refugees who are facing cuts in humanitarian aid while being encouraged to return before their homeland is secure. The video documentary was filmed in two Karen Refugee camps, Mae La Oon and Mae Ra Ma Luang.

Displaced Karen demand Myanmar Army leave their ancestral lands

Published on May 27, 2017
 KESAN Channel

 

On the day of the 2nd Panglong Union Peace Conference is taking place in Nay Pyi Taw, the displaced Karen people organized a public demonstration demanding the removal of the Burma Army camp from their ancestral lands, in order to facilitate their safe return and rehabilitation of their livelihoods.

Similarly as part of this demonstration, Karen IDPs in the Hpla Koh area of Mutraw District- displaced for over four decades- have already organized the same public demonstration on May 15th with the same demands.

The ongoing peace process and its mechanisms do not provide better security for the IDPs nor prevent the expansion of the Burma Army camps. Mutraw District/5th Brigade alone has seen the number of Burma Army camps increase from 65 to 81 since 2012. This increase in Burmese troops means that thousands of refugees or IDPs remain afraid to return to their homelands because they dare not live in areas that are under the Burma Army’s control.

The IDPs from Ee Tu Hta and Hpla Koh have demanded the following demands for fundamental changes that are needed for a safe, voluntary and dignified return.

(1) Burma Army camps must be withdrawn completely from our villages, farms, orchards and the roads to our homes. Specifically, there can be no return until the 17 Burma Army camps shown on the attached map are withdrawn.

(2) Land mines must be removed from our villages, farms, orchards and roads.

(3) An end to human rights violations, such as sexual abuse, forced labor, extortion, killing, and the destruction or confiscation of farms and orchards.

(4) The end of civil war in all ethnic areas of Burma

(5) A code of conduct that is properly monitored for government and ethnic military to uphold

(6) Refugee and IDP return should be a part of the peace agreement with a comprehensive and clear plan for the reintegration of IDPs and refugees, with IDP return as the first priority, which includes genuine participation of the affected populations.

(၂၄ ေမလ ၂ဝ၁၇) ယေန႕တြင္ ဒုတိယအႀကိမ္ေျမာက္ပင္လံုညီလာခံကို ေနျပည္ေတာ္၌ က်င္းပေနစဥ္ ကရင္စစ္ေဘးဒုကၡသည္မ်ားသည္ ၎တို႕ယခင္ေနရပ္ဌာေနသို႕ လံုၿခံဳစိတ္ခ် စြာျပန္သြာၿပီး ဘဝတဖန္ျပန္လည္စတင္ႏိုင္ရန္အတြက္ အတူတကြစုစည္းကာ ျမန္မာ စစ္တပ္၏စစ္စခန္းမ်ားအား ၎တို႕၏ဘိုးဘြားပိုင္နယ္ေျမေဒသမ်ားထဲမွထြက္ခြာေပးရန္ လုပ္ရွားမႈတစ္ခုျပဳလုပ္ကာ ေတာင္းဆိုခဲ့သည္။

အလားတူပင္ ဖာပြန္ခရိုင္၊ ဖလာခိုေဒသအတြင္း ျပည္တြင္းစစ္ေၾကာင့္ ႏွစ္ေပါင္း ၄ဝ ေက်ာ္ ေနရပ္စြန္႕ခြာထြက္ ေျပးပုန္းေရွာင္ေနရသည့္ ျပည္တြင္းပုန္းေရွာင္ဒုကၡသည္တို႕သည္ ဤဆႏၵထုတ္ေဖၚေတာင္းဆိုမႈ၏အစိတ္အပိုင္းတစ္ခုအ ျဖစ္ ယခုလ ၁၅ ရက္ေန႕ကလည္း အလားတူဆႏၵထုတ္ေဖၚေတာင္းဆိုမႈတစ္ခုကို ဖာလာခိုေဒသတြင္ျပဳလုပ္ခဲ့သည္။

လက္ရွိၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးေဖၚေဆာင္မႈႏွင့္လုပ္ငန္းစဥ္မ်ားသည္ ျပည္တြင္းပုန္းေရွာင္ေနထိုင္သူ IDP မ်ားအတြက္ ပိုမို ေကာင္းမြန္ေသာလံုၿခံဳမႈကို ေဖၚေဆာင္ေပးျခင္းမရွိသလို ျမန္မာစစ္တပ္၏ စစ္စခန္းတိုးခ်ဲ႕ခ်ထားမႈကိုလည္း ဟန္႕တားႏိုင္ျခင္းမရွိပါ။ ဖာပြန္ခရိုင္/တပ္မဟာ (၅) နယ္ေျမတစ္ခုတည္းအတြင္း၌ ၂ဝ၁၂ ခုႏွစ္မွစတင္ၿပီး ယခု အခ်ိန္အထိ ျမန္မာစစ္တပ္၏ စစ္စခန္းမ်ား ၆၅ မွ ၈၁ ေနရာအထိ တိုးျမင့္လာခဲ့သည္။ ဤကဲ့သုိ႕ ျမန္မာစစ္တပ္ ၏တိုးျမင့္လာမႈေၾကာင့္ ဒုကၡသည္ သို႕မဟုတ္ IDP ေထာင္ေပါင္းမ်ားစြာသည္ မိမိေနရပ္ဌာေနသို႕ျပန္သြားရန္ ေၾကာက္ရြံ႕လ်က္ရွိေနၾကသည္။ အေၾကာင္းမွာ ၎တို႕သည္ ျမန္မာစစ္တပ္၏ထိန္းခ်ဳပ္မႈေအာင္ရွိေဒသမ်ားအ တြင္း၌ ေနထိုင္အသက္ရွင္ရန္ ေၾကာက္ရြံ႕ေနေသာေၾကာင့္ျဖစ္သည္။

ထို႕ေၾကာင့္ အီးတူထ IDP ဒုကၡသည္စခန္းႏွင့္ ဖလာခိုေဒသရွိ ဒုကၡသည္မ်ားက ၎တို႕၏ကိုယ္ပိုင္ဆႏၵျဖင့္ ၎တို႕၏ ေနရပ္ဌာေနသို႕ဂုဏ္သိကၡာရွိရွိျဖင့္ လံုၿခံဳစိတ္ခ်စြာျပန္လည္ေနထိုင္ႏိုင္ရန္အတြက္ အဓိကလိုအပ္ ေသာေအာက္ပါေျပာင္းလဲမႈမ်ားကို ေဆာင္ရြက္ေပးရန္ေတာင္းဆိုလိုက္ပါသည္။

(၁) ကြ်ႏ္ုပ္တို႕၏ ေက်းရြာ၊ ေတာင္ယာ၊ လယ္ေျမ၊ ဥယ်ာဥ္ၿခံႏွင့္ ကြ်ႏ္ုပ္တို႕၏အိမ္ျပန္လမ္းတစ္ေလွ်ာက္ရွိ ျမန္မာစစ္စခန္းမ်ားကို ရုတ္သိမ္းဖယ္ရွားေပးရန္၊ အထူးသျဖင့္ ေဖၚျပပါေျမပံုထဲတြင္ျပသထားသည့္ ျမန္ မာစစ္စခန္း ၁၇ ခုကို ရုတ္သိမ္းဖယ္ရွားေပးျခင္းမရွိပါက ဒုကၡသည္ႏွင့္ IDP မ်ား ေနရပ္ျပန္လည္ေန ထုိင္ေရးသည္ မည္သုိ႕မ်မျဖစ္ႏိုင္ပါ။

(၂) ကြ်ႏ္ုပ္တို႕၏ ေက်းရြာ၊ ေတာင္ယာ၊ လယ္ေျမ၊ ဥယ်ာဥ္ၿခံႏွင့္ လမ္းတစ္ေလွ်ာက္ရွိ ေျမျမဳွပ္မိုင္းမ်ားကို ဖယ္ရွားေပး ရန္။

(၃) လိင္ပိုင္းဆိုင္ရာအခြင့္အေရးေစာ္ကားခ်ိဳးေဖါက္မႈ၊ အတင္းအဓမၼခိုင္းေစမႈ၊ အတင္းအဓမၼဥစၥာပစၥည္း ေတာင္းယူမႈ၊ သတ္ျဖတ္မႈ၊ လယ္ယာေျမႏွင့္ ဥယ်ာဥ္ၿခံေျမဖ်က္စီးမႈ သုိ႕မဟုတ္ သိမ္းယူမႈ၊ ကဲ့သုိ႕ေသာ လူ႕အခြင့္အေရးခ်ိဳးေဖါက္မႈမ်ားကို အဆံုးသတ္ရပ္တန္႕ရန္။

(၄) တိုင္းရင္းသားနယ္ေျမအားလံုးတြင္ျဖစ္ပြားေနေသာ ျပည္တြင္းစစ္ကို ရပ္တန္႕အဆံုးသတ္ေပးရန္။

(၅) မန္မာႏိုင္ငံအစိုးရႏွင့္ တိုင္းရင္းသားလက္နက္ကိုင္အဖြဲ႕အစည္းမ်ား ႏွစ္ဦးႏွစ္ဖက္လိုက္နာရမည့္စစ္ ဖက္ဆိုင္ရာက်င့္ဝတ္စည္းကမ္းမ်ားကို ေသခ်ာစြာေစာင့္ၾကည့္ေလ့လာရန္။

(၆) ဒုကၡသည္ႏွင့္ IDP မ်ားေနရပ္ျပန္လည္ေနထိုင္ေရးသည္ ျပည့္စံုရွင္းလင္းစြာေရးဆြဲထားသည့္ျပန္လည္ ေနရာခ်ထားေရးအစီမ်ားပါဝင္သည့္ ၿငိမ္းခ်မ္းေရးသေဘာတူညီမႈ၏ အစိတ္အပိုင္းတစ္ခုကဲ့သို႕ျဖစ္ရ မည္ျဖစ္ၿပီး IDP မ်ားေနရပ္ျပန္လည္ေနထိုင္ႏိုင္ေရးကို ဦးစားေပးရမည္ျဖစ္ကာ ျပန္လည္ေနရာခ်ထား ျခင္း၏ဂယက္ရိုက္ခတ္မွဳအားရင္ဆိုင္ရမည့္လူထုႏွင့္တစ္ကြ စစ္မွန္ေသာပူးေပါင္းပါဝင္မႈရွိရမည္ ။

KWO Statement on International Women’s Day

 

“Be Bold For Change” 

Happy International Women’s Day to all women around the world. We all deserve this special day and recognition for what we do and what we contribute to our family, community and country.

On this special day we, KWO, encourage ALL WOMEN everywhere to be bold for the change you want to see in this world, NOW and every day!

We stand together with women everywhere and stand in solidarity with you in our shared struggles for peace and justice in our homes, villages, communities, countries and the world.

We are proud to be with you and to be part of the women’s community made up of so many amazing women, like you, around the world and here at home. Together, we can be bold.  By becoming stronger, we can continue to change the world one step and one leap at a time!

KWO Statement on International Women’s Day 2017 English version

KWO Statement on International Women’s Day Karen Version

KWO Statement on International Women’s Day Burmese Version

KWO is in Urgent Need of a Volunteer

KWO is in urgent need of a volunteer who can come and work with us for a minimum of 6 months. Ideally, we would love a volunteer who is fluent in both the Karen language, as well as the English language. However, we are also happy if we can find a volunteer to work with us who is fluent in English and has good writing skills. We are looking for a volunteer who is between the age of 25 to 50.

It would be best if a volunteer has some experience in working in community or in humanitarian work. We are also looking for self-confidence and good physical health with some background knowledge of Burma, the Thai Burma border and our women’s movement. The volunteer would be expected to work 5 days a week and would be mostly based in our Mae Sariang office. KWO can provide shared accommodation in the KWO staff house, 3 meals a day and a bicycle for getting around the small town of Mae Sariang.

The work would mostly involve assisting with the editing of funding proposals and reports, occasionally summarizing important news or reports for the women in our organization to be able to understand them and assisting staff in writing emails. If the volunteer had some skills that were useful for our staff, we may also ask them to share these.

For Karen women living overseas (especially), this would be a great opportunity to get some hands on work experience in a development setting, as well as a wonderful opportunity to understand the current situation on the border and in Burma. This kind of experience is highly regarded by colleges as well as by employers.

Please contact us at : kwocentral@gmail.com 

KWO Message: On-Going Use of Rape by Burma Army

16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence Against Women

KWO Message: On-going Sexual Violence by Burma Army

During this current 16 Day Campaign to increase awareness about Violence Against Women, KWO feels obligated to raise our voices about the on-going use of rape and other forms of violence against women by the Burma Army.

In Burmese military operations in Arakan State over the past months, there have been consistent reports received of widespread, systematic sexual violence against Rohingya women by Burma Army troops. In a little over one month, 192 reports have been received of incidents of rape committed by Burma military. We are deeply pained by these reports, which revive memories of similar horrors endured for decades by women in our communities at the hands of the Burma Army. Other reports continue to emerge of the widespread use of torture, unlawful killings, and disappearances suffered by the Rohingya people at the hands of the Burma Army soldiers. Cases of 428 deaths, and 192 disappearances of Rohingya people have been documented. Our hearts go out to the Rohingya women and their families at this time.

We are further saddened by the NLD government’s denial of these reports of sexual and physical violence by Burma Army troops. We expected the Army to deny the reports, as they always have, but we did not expect the NLD to do the same. We had higher hopes also from Nobel Peace Laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. In 2011 she said “Rape is used in my country as a weapon against those who only want to assert their basic human rights, especially in the areas of the ethnic nationalities. Rape is rife. It is used as a weapon by the armed forces to intimidate the ethnic nationalities and to divide our country.” So we had such hope that sexual violence by Burmese soldiers would not be allowed to happen if DASSK was in power, or if it did happen, she would quickly take action, or speak out against it. We see now that these were empty political words.

In June 2014, Burma signed the “Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict”. There was a lot of media publicity, and the Burma government smiled with Hollywood movie stars in London under the limelight of world attention. We wonder when will be the right time for Burma to act on their promises. There are 12 commitments in that Declaration they signed and none of them have been honoured as yet. Burmese soldiers continue to rape with impunity. How are signatories to the Declaration held to account?

From 2005 to 2016, eleven women’s organization from Burma, published at least 33 separate reports on the violence against women perpetrated by the soldiers of the Burma Army. All of this evidence has been denied by the Burma Army and Burma governments. Denial, then impunity, is the pattern of behavior we have observed for generations. Is it possible all these women are lying? Or could it be true that soldiers of the Burma Army are aggressive and abuse their power and are not held to account?

Burma Army soldiers are well-trained and well-equipped. They have jet fighters bombing villages in Kachin State; there are many officers; a chain of command; penalties for disobeying orders, like most armies in the world. For Burma Army soldiers to rape with impunity, on this scale and for this length of time, it requires the collusion of the whole national military hierarchy. When soldiers rape and nothing is done, their commanders are also guilty. When nothing is done by commanders, no order disseminated that rape will not be tolerated, the whole army and the national government are all guilty.

In honour of the courage of women in Myanmar, we ask Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD government today, to make a simple nation-wide announcement: “Sexual violence is prohibited to members of the Mynamar Army. Any Myanmar soldier found to have committed this crime, and his commanding officers, will be severely punished.”

KWO Message International Day to Stop Violence against Women

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KWO Message International Day to Stop Violence against Women

Today is the special day, recognized in the world, to bring attention to efforts to stop violence against women. The 25th of November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and is also the opening day for the annual Campaign that will last for 16 days and which highlights community-based activism to stop violence against women all over the world. On this special day KWO welcomes and values everyone who wants to co-operate, and unite with us in their hearts, and who will take part in events and activities in the coming days.

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KWO would like to remind all people that this is not a day to express happiness or to feel pleased to be at an opening event. The reason we should not be happy is because today reminds all of us that violence is still used against women. It has not stopped yet; women are still being raped, still being beaten; children are still being raped, still being hurt; and victims of violence still do not get justice.  We all have to take on the responsibility to stop violence against women and children in our own corner of the world, and make sure that perpetrators are found and punished and not allowed to walk free. All of us need to show we will not accept violence in our community.

The theme for the Campaign that KWO has chosen this year is “Strengthen law and promote justice for the protection of women and children”. From KWO’s experience in providing services to women and children who have suffered physical or sexual violence, we see that the law is not enforced effectively, so that the victims are not receiving justice. We believe that strengthening the law and then enforcing that law will be essential to break down and prevent violence used against women and children.

Currently, we say that we need national peace and justice in our country. However, in our own smaller communities, if violence continues and there is no rule of law then we cannot say that we have the peace that we dream of having.

On this day, the Karen Women’s Organization would like to call upon our community, especially the men, to take responsibility to stop violence. If you see anyone using violence with women or with children, please find the best way to stop it and then make sure that action is taken with the perpetrators in accordance with the facts and with the law.

We know that in the community many men do not accept the use of violence. And themselves, they are not violent. However there are some men who do use violence, and do not understand their own power and they misuse it. Therefore it is important for male leaders, including young people in the community, to help to protect women and to protect children, by working to strengthen laws and to promote justice. Men of all ages, should help other men by encouraging them to change, explaining to them, not to use violence, and especially not on women and children. Explain to them that this is a crime and if anyone commits it, action can be taken against them.

KWO believes that in our community, everyone including men, do not want to see violence used on mothers, children, wives, aunts and sisters. Therefore we can stand with a united heart to prevent and respond to violence against women.

We encourage everyone to take responsibility in our own corners to let the violence stop. Following the law and promote justice in the community. We have to work hand in hand in our community to show that we do not accept violence in any form, that we promote justice for all, and that the law is strong enough to genuinely offer protection to women and to children.

In solidarity,

Karen Women’s Organization