Wednesday, January 26, 2011

KIO and KNO agree to work together

Wednesday, 26 January 2011 12:07 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) and the foreign-based Kachin National Organisation (KNO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to co-operate with each other while working for the rights of Kachin people.

agreement-letterIn the past, the two organisations have competed with each other in politics for 12 years. On January 21 and 22, the top leaders of both groups met to discuss ways to co-operate with each other for the sake of the Kachin, according to KIO vice chairman Gauri Zaw Seng.

‘In the past, we have had some differences, and we competed. So, some people misunderstood us. From now on, we will work together’, Gauri Zaw Seng told Mizzima.

The KNO was formed to communicate with the international community, which is beyond the KIO’s reach.

Among the areas of mutual agreement was the need to form a federal Union with the co-operation of other pro-democracy ethnic groups, officials said. In the MOU, they also agreed to work to seek racial equality for all ethnic people including Burmese, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Shan and Arakanese.

The KNO was formed in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on January 9, 1999, by Duwa Bawmwang La Raw, a businessman.

KNO members in various countries have staged protests against the junta’s 2008 Constitution, the 2010 elections and the Myitsone Dam Project in Kachin State.

KNO chairman Duwa Bawmwang La Raw said that they have tried to inform the world about human rights abuses in Kachin State and the need to form a genuine federal Union to protect the rights of ethnic people.

‘We tried to let the international community know about the problems under the rule of the military junta. To escape from these conditions and establish peace, we need to form a genuine federal Union’, he said.

The memorandum was signed by KIO Lieutenant General N’Ban La Awng, Vice Chairman Gauri Zau Seng, central committee member Lahpai La, patron Duwa Howa Jala, chairman Duwa Bawmwang La Raw, and General-Secretary Dr. Lahtaw Naw Lawn.

Despite the cease-fire agreement between the KIO and the junta, signed in 1994, the KIO has rejected the junta’s Border Guard Force (BGF) plan. State-run newspapers have labeled the KIO an ‘insurgent group’.

The KIO has not met with the junta since September 2010.

The KIO and its armed wing, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), were founded on February 5, 1961, by Zau Seng and his brother Zau Tu.

The KNO has branches in the US, Japan, Australia, Denmark, Malaysia, India, Canada, Britain, Norway, Sweden, China and Thailand.

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