Throughout the rise of the Burman and Mon kingdoms, Karen peoplehave consistently been oppressed and as result they have foundthemselves divided. Used as porters by both sides, such divisions soon
becme recognised. Internl conict between these two kingdomsdened the Pwo, or Plone, s Mon Kren nd the Sgw, or Pknyw,s Burmn Kren. It wsn’t unl the Brish colonised the country inthe 1800’s tht educon, freedom, nd development resulted in therecognion of single Kren identy.
The Karen wanted independence from the Burmese state in 1948 dueto mistrust ingrained through the centuries. This lack of trust was
further excerbted t the me of the Jpnese occupon in which theJpnese llied Burm Independence Army (BIA) commied wide scletrocies ginst locl Kren communies. Bsed on fers of Burmndominnce of the Government nd subsequent discriminon, the
Karen resistance movement was started on 31 January 1949.
While such concerns hve connued to previl nd overt discriminonhs connued through successive Governments, the Kren NonlUnion hs embrked on number of pece negoons with the
Burmese Government, however, due to mistrust on both sides, many of
these negoons hve filed.While the current negoons connue, these tlks hve inherited the
same mistrust, despite this, we need to overcome these problems and
they need to be solved bsed on policl dilogue not economics nddevelopment. All the lessons lernt from the pst negoons must be
used to build trust - not just through words and promises - but through
con from both sides before such trust cn be built.
It must also be recognized that the Karen are only one of 8 major ethnicgroups, including the Burman majority, in Burma. Consequently, theethnic issues facing the country must be solved not just by the Karenand Burman but by all ethnic groups. For peace to prevail, we must