Karen Women’s Organization Receives International Women of Courage Award

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Karen Women’s Organization

International Women of Courage Award

March 6, 2019

Naw K’nyaw Paw and the Karen Women’s Organization (KWO) are honored this year to accept the “International Women of Courage Award” from the US State Department.  Naw K’nyaw Paw is accepting the award in Washington DC on behalf of the KWO. We were given this award for our “position for consistently condemning the Burma army to end military violence against civilians, for speaking out about the military violence against the Rohingya, and speaking out against SGBV in conflict”. KWO gives consistent support for all ethnic women. We work with community women on a wide variety of issues and support including childcare, leadership development, advocacy, health care and education.  KWO works to support women throughout their lives.

The Burmese military violence continues today, increasing in some areas on northern Burma, in the west and beginning again in the south east.  Women and children continue to be forced to run and hide from Burmese Army attacks as we write.

In 2004, KWO released a report “Shattering Silences”, highlighting the Burmese Army’s sexual abuse to Karen women.  Later KWO released “State of Terror” and later still “Walking Amongst Sharp Knives” all documenting abuse of Karen Women by the Burmese Army.  Then last year the world watched in horror as the Burmese Army unleashed unspeakable crimes, this time against Rohingya women.  Thousands of rapes have been well documented across one ethnic population after another and still these men run the Government and control the lives of our people.  It is time for the world to take action and bring these men to justice.

All indigenous ethnic women are either vulnerable to attack or are currently being attacked by the Burmese Army.  It will not end until the world takes action as a united community against these extreme human rights violations and hold those Generals in charge fully accountable. The peace process has stalled, the removal of sanctions has not brought us greater respect for human rights, it is still unsafe to return, or to speak the truth in our country.  We need targeted sanctions and a body outside Burma to hold the Generals accountable.

While we work for peace we hope the world will not forget the refugees the world over.  For us rations and services have been deeply cut.  Refugees and Internally Displace People in Burma need food, healthcare and education to live.  Please remember those in need as we accept the honors we also hope for resources and assistance for our community.

KWO is accepting this International Women of Courage Award along with 10 amazing women from across the globe who are also being honored.

We have many courageous women in Burma but when we see this group on honorees, we realize just how much we can accomplish when we are not afraid and we work together.  KWO’s fellow recipients fight for and serve the neediest across the globe.  Olivera Lakic writes the truth in Montenegro despite threats and attacks. Moumina Houssein Darar brings the rule of law to Djibouti. Magda Gobran Gorgy educates the poorest in Egypt, Colonel al-Twal helps people like me in her own country of Jordan, Marini de Livera brings the rule of law to women and children in Sri Lanka, Anna Aloys Henga defends human rights in Tanzania, Flor de Maria Vega Zapata works to protect the environment in Peru, Razia Sultana brings her legal knowledge to documenting the violence done against the Rohingya, Sister Orla Treacy educates and supports girls in Sudan and Marini help protect women and children in Sri Lanka.  This group touches every part of our lives, all over the world.  KWO is humbled by their work and honored to stand beside them.

Contact: kwocentral@gmail.com

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SAW O MOO: Defender of Indigenous Karen Territories, the Environment and Way of Life

KWO sends our heartfelt condolences to the remaining members of Saw O Moo’s family in this very sad time after he was killed by Burma Army soldiers last month.
In his honor, we want to share his life story and achievements with our friends and colleagues all over the world. That we may learn from him and his desire to see real peace in our land.
We feel enormous gratitude to him for his work as a defender of Human Rights and Indigenous Rights, and as a protector of the environment and the Karen way of life.
Saw O Moo, you are not with us anymore but your work will be in our hearts forever. You will be always remembered as a Karen indigenous rights defender and we offer hope that your soul may rest in peace. We make a promise to you to carry on your work in defense of our lands, our identity, and our freedom.
Karen Women’s Organisation

KWO Celebrates 33rd Anniversary

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On the occasion of KWO’s 33rd anniversary, April 5, 2018, we celebrate our successes while also looking at our challenges ahead and how to overcome them. KWO will have it’s largest celebration of the anniversary in the Taw Oo District of Karen State led by the KWO Central leadership. The celebration includes a sport competition, a concert showing Karen culture, songs, and dancing. KWO will also present information on KWO’s work, the peace process and gender equality. KWO will particularly honor KWO leaders and staff who have worked full time for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 25 years respectively. KWO is the strong vibrant organization we have become because of their commitment and hard work.

Naw Paw GayIt is our honor to recognize Nan Paw Gay as well for her leadership and contribution to our community and to Burma. She is a member of the KWO Standing Committee and has worked in community media. Due to her talent and hard work she rose to Chief Editor of the Karen Information Center in 2008. She was also Burma News International (BNI) Executive Director.

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Additionally, we honor a KWO young leader, Naw Hser Hser, a KWO Standing Committee member and Joint General Secretary of the Women’s League of Burma. Naw Hser Hser won the P’doh Mahn Sha Young Leadership Award this year which she will receive on KWO day. KWO congratulates Naw Hser Hser on her award. Naw Hser Hser is a role model for younger women in our community through her hard work for KWO, the Karen community, and the entire ethnic community in Burma.

Both these women show the strength, vision, and hard work of Karen women and inspire all of us through their work.

In addition to all these women we also want to recognize the 80 Traditional Birth Attendants who work with KWO for their incredible contribution to the health and well being of women and children in our community.

KWO will honor 151 women and 2 men today for their positive contribution the Karen community. The list of those being recognized follows:

  • Women’s Champion in Social Work: Nan Paw Gay, Chief Editor of Karen Information Center and Executive Director of Burma News International

  • Women with over 25 years of service: P’doh Myaing Poe, P’doh Paw Day Toe, Tharmu Shwe Paw, Thramu Baw Nyaw, P’doh Naw Dah Dah,  and Naw Khin Yin

  • Women with over 10 years of service: 31 women

  • Women with over 15 years of service: 30 women

  • Women with over 5 years of service: 5 women

  • Traditional Birth Attendants: 80 people (78 women and 2 men)

KWO Statement on International Women’s Day

Statement (International Women’s day

For International Women’s Day (2016 March) in Burmese

International Women’s day Statement in Karen Version