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Karen petition urges UN to take action against junta

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A petition signed by 84,000 Karen has been sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take action against the Burmese junta’s violation of human rights and military campaigns against the Karen people. 

Officials of the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army at the Karen National Day ceremony. The KNU, which has been fighting for self-determination for more than 60 years, is under increasing assault by the Burmese Army and its ally, the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, a Karen splinter group. Photo : MizzimaOrganized by the Karen National Union (KNU) and 31 Karen social organizations in 16 countries in Asia, Europe and North America, the petition was also sent to leaders of eight countries including British Prime Minister David Cameron and Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard, according to the KNU. 

The eldest petitioner was 103 years old and the youngest was 16. 

Naw Zipporrah Sein, the KNU secretary-general, said, ‘We want Mr. Ban Ki-moon to use his power and authority to exert pressure on the junta to stop the violations of human rights. We would like to request Mr. Ban Ki-moon to put pressures on the junta to negotiate a cease-fire across the country, to hold a serious political dialogue and to build a federal country that can guarantee racial equality and human rights’.

KNU officials said that more than 3,600 villages in Karen State have been destroyed by the junta in the past 15 years. More recently, 18 Karen civilians were killed and 38 were physically abused by junta troops before the election in November 2010, officials said. It said 52 Karen were arrested unlawfully, 2,300 were used in forced labour, 198 buildings including homes, schools and churches were destroyed due to the military clashes in the Karen State, and more than 3,000 Karen villagers were forced to seek refuge in the jungle, according to the KNU statement.

During 2010, there were more than 1,000 clashes between the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), the armed wing of the KNU, and junta troops in Thaton, Taungoo, Nyaunglebin, Myeik, Dawei, Papun, Kawkareik and Hpa-an districts, said KNU officials.

The KNU was formed in February 5, 1947, to fight for equality and self-determination for the Karen people.

Last Updated ( Monday, 28 February 2011 18:32 )  

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