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The Karen National Union Negotiation (1949-2012)

The Karen National Union Negotiation (1949-2012)

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Published by B A Thang Salai

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: B A Thang Salai on Jun 20, 2012
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The Karen National Union Negotiations 1949 - 2012
by the Burma Centre for Ethnic Studies
Published in June 2012 byThe Burma Centre for Ethnic StudiesPO Box 49Chiang Mai UniversityChiang Mai 50202ThailandEmail: info@burmaethnicstudies.netWebsite: www.burmaethnicstudies.net
Acknowledgements: The author would like to thank Saw Htoo Htoo Lay,Saw David Taw, Col. Saw Soe Soe, Saw Ta Doh Moo, Naw Kler Paw andSaw Wana for their invaluable assistance in preparing this paper.Unless otherwise stated, working papers of the Burma Centre for Eth-
nic Studies re presented without endorsement s contribuons to the
public record and debate. Authors are responsible for their own analysisand conclusions
The Karen National Union Negotiations1949 - 2012
Paul Keenan
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
becme recognised. Internl conict between these two kingdomsdened the Pwo, or Plone, s Mon Kren nd the Sgw, or Pknyw,s Burmn Kren. It wsn’t unl the Brish colonised the country inthe 1800’s tht educon, freedom, nd development resulted in therecognion of  single Kren identy.
The Karen wanted independence from the Burmese state in 1948 dueto mistrust ingrained through the centuries. This lack of trust was
further excerbted t the me of the Jpnese occupon in which theJpnese llied Burm Independence Army (BIA) commied wide scletrocies ginst locl Kren communies. Bsed on fers of Burmndominnce of the Government nd subsequent discriminon, the
Karen resistance movement was started on 31 January 1949.
While such concerns hve connued to previl nd overt discriminonhs connued through successive Governments, the Kren NonlUnion hs embrked on  number of pece negoons with the
Burmese Government, however, due to mistrust on both sides, many of 
these negoons hve filed.While the current negoons connue, these tlks hve inherited the
same mistrust, despite this, we need to overcome these problems and
they need to be solved bsed on policl dilogue not economics nddevelopment. All the lessons lernt from the pst negoons must be
used to build trust - not just through words and promises - but through
con from both sides before such trust cn 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

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