Friday, July 20, 2012

Karen in Europe call for refugee aid, political solution

 Friday, 20 July 2012 12:12 Mizzima News
More than 100 Karen from various communities across Europe have met to discuss the political situation in Burma and called for renewed efforts to achieve peace and increased aid to Karen refugees, after attending the third general meeting of the European Karen Network (EKN) in Sweden from July 13-14.

Members of the EKN met in Sweden from July 13-14 for a summer camp workshop. Photo: EKN

The network welcomed the recent cease-fire agreement between the Burmese government and the Karen National Union, but it said that based on recent history it is still very cautious about the situation in Karen State and other ethnic areas.

It called on the Burmese government to

– Engage in dialogue with the Karen National Union for lasting political solutions that can guarantees the safety and security of the Karen people. We believe that a ceasefire alone without political solution will not bring genuine peace for our Karen people.

– Create economic development that will benefit local people and ensure the protection of the environment.

– Increase humanitarian aid especially refugee aid and cross-border humanitarian assistance for internally displaced people along the border areas.

“European Governments and the international community focus too much on the small positive changes in central Burma and prematurely reduce pressure against the dictatorship while human rights situation in ethnic areas is getting worse,” said Naw Tah Eh Shee, a EKN board member and executive member of Karen Community Norway.

“We have been suffering human rights abuses for decades. It is very disappointing that the EU and the rest of the international community fail to pay proper attention to what is happening in ethnic areas," he said. "They have been easily fooled by the Burmese government promising reform without yet delivering. EU and international governments should not ignore and neglect the on-going human rights situation in ethnic areas. “

The European Karen Network was set up in July 2009 with the aim to raise awareness about the Karen and the government of Burma.

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