BURMA: Women to Take Part in Peace Process: KWO

Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Chinland Guardian
South Eastern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Peace Processes

Women should be included in the ongoing Burma's peace-talk process between the government and ethnic armed groups, a statement by the Karen Women Organization (KWO) said yesterday.

In their recent meeting on the Thai-Burma border, KWO which formed a peace committee said it has decided to send representatives and participate in the Karen peace process.

The statement also stressed the importance of women involvement in the process, saying their voices need to be heard and recognized.

When asked about the issue, Dr. Sui Khar told Chinland Guardian: "As a very initial stage of the process, the meeting takes place only between armed groups and state-level governments."

"It will be followed by a series of other important events such as public consultation and political dialogue. But in the public consultation and political dialogue to follow will include women," added the team leader of the Chin National Front's negotiating delegation.

The Chin National Front (CNF) and Chin State government signed a ceasefire agreement as the first step toward bringing about peace into the country in Hakha, capital of Chin State from 5-6 January 2012.

Ms Chin Chin, of Rangoon-based Shalom Foundation, who participated as a member of the Chin Peace and Tranquility Committee, a group of religious leaders facilitating contacts between the two sides, during the 2-day meeting, told Chinland Guardian: "I was privileged to be a part of the committee after they sent an official invitation letter to my organization. I really respect the fact that the committee thought about the issue of 'gender balance' in the process."

"Women are very often forgotten or neglected in most of the high-level activities in Burma. It is important that women also become proactive and work hard to make our voices heard at any levels," added Ms Chin Chin.

Formed in 1949, the Karen Women Organization is committed to working on women's capacity building, the special needs of women and children, documenting human rights violations and advocating justice for women. The organization says it has 49,000 members.