Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Karen group issues position paper

Wednesday, 12 September 2012 14:46 Mizzima News

The Karen Community Based Organizations group has outlined a number of preconditions, which it says should be in place prior to any repatriation of Karen refugees.

“It is our position that every refugee should have a free choice regarding whether or not to return,” it said.

Karen displaced persons   Photo: Karen News

Among the pre-conditions are a nationwide cease-fire including a code of conduct and meaningful enforcement mechanism, landmine clearance must be completed in areas where refugees are returning or are needed for their livelihood and the withdrawal of the Burmese Army and its associated militia from Karen areas.

Also the government should abolish all oppressive laws that affect refugees’ and the ethnic community including the Unlawful Associations Act, the Electronic Transaction Acts, and the cross-border act.

It said a framework to resolve land issues must be agreed upon, including issues related to land ownership, land seizures and other issues.

It is important that refugees individually decide for themselves whether or not and when to return to Burma or to remain in the areas where they have currently taken refuge, said the group.

A complete and up to date assessment of the locations where refugees would be returning must be done by a local monitoring team, it said. The group should be an independent group and be allowed to complete the assessment before the return takes place. Community Based Organization representatives must be part of this team, it said.

Karen returnees must be recognized as full citizens and have government Identification Cards issued, it said.

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