KWO Statement in Support of Karen Day in Washington DC in English Version
At a public seminar in Thailand last week, Karen and Karenni officials raised concerns about the increasing pressure for refugees to return from the Thai-Myanmar border as international funding for camps dries up.
“The refugees from the Thai-Myanmar border are not ready to return home,” said Naw Elizabeth, deputy director of the Karenni Education Department, who took part in the September 13 seminar at Chiang Mai University.
“We discussed the need for international donors to continue their support as the refugees’ continue to have basic unmet needs [like] education and health,” she added.
The public event, called “Syria to Myanmar: Who are Refugees?” was organized by the US Embassy in Thailand and Chiang Mai University. About 100 people attended, included members of refugee and internally displaced persons assistance groups like the Border Consortium, the Karen Refugee Committee, the Karenni Education Department and the Shan Women’s Action Network.
Over 100,000 refugees live in nine refugee camps along the Thai-Myanmar border while over 3,000 Karen IDPs remain at the Ei Tu Hta temporary shelter and over 6,000 Shan IDPs are residing in camps along the Thai-Shan border, according to refugee activists. They added that after the Myanmar government and ethnic armed organizations signed ceasefire agreements and started implementing the peace process beginning in 2011, pressure has escalated for refugees and IDPs to return to their homes. While international aid organizations, swamped with other, fresher crises, are forced to dedicate resources elsewhere, the Myanmar refugees say their needs are increasingly going unmet, while lack of livelihoods in their original villages, and in some cases the threat of landmines and fresh conflict, prevents an easy return.
“The international community does not know the real situation of our refugees. I’m glad to have the chance to explain how the issues occurring at the Karen refugee camps are directly related to Myanmar politics,” said Saw Hay Soe Thar Ko, an education officer with the Karen Refugee Committee.
According to participants, a foreign student also discussed the ongoing crisis in Rakhine State at the seminar. Over 400,000 Muslim residents have fled over the border to Bangladesh in the past month, while 30,000 Buddhist and Hindu villagers have been internally displaced by fighting between an insurgent group and the Tatmadaw.
- Written by Saw Shar/ KIC News
The original article can be viewed via BNI at:
Download the letter of appeal in English here:
A selection of figures from some of our projects:
- 6,087 children were supported through KWO Nursery schools in 2014; 5,939 in 2015 and 5,693 in 2016.
- Nursery schools are in 6 districts of Karen State, 2 refugee camps in Thailand, and Ee Tu Hta IDP camp.
- 11,194 Baby kits were distributed to women in 2014, 2015 and 2016 by KWO. These were distributed across the 7 districts of Karen State and in Ee Tu Hta IDP camp, Karen State.
- 28 young women graduated from KWO’s KYWLS in 2014. 18 graduated in 2015. 26 graduated in 2016.
- Every year KWO runs activities centering on the International Campaign 16 days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. In 2014, 2015 and 2016 all together 41, 022 men and women were engaged in these actions
Download the full three year report in English: KWO three year report (2014 – 2016)
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.
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!
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။
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.
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 ။