84,000 Karen Civilians Call on Ban Ki-moon to Help Stop Attacks in Burma
On Monday 28 February 2011, a petition signed by 84,000 Ethnic Karen civilians will be handed in the office of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and other world leaders, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The petition delivery will take place in 8 countries including Japan, Norway, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Canada. This petition is endorsed by 30 Karen organizations from 15 countries around the world and it is the first time a Karen petition will be delivered to world leaders.
The 84,000 ethnic Karen civilians have signed a petition calling on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take effective action to immediately stop the Burmese dictatorship attacking civilians and committing gross human rights abuses against them.
The petition was organised by the Karen National Union (KNU), the largest political organisation representing the Karen people in Burma, at the request of Karen civilians in cooperation with local community leaders and supported by Karen communities and organisations around the world.
Signatories of the petition are aged from 16 to 103 years, who have been affected by Burmese Army’s attacks. These civilians have been subjected to abuses including forced labour, looting, extortion, destruction of homes, villages, crops and fields, forced relocation, extrajudicial killing including women and children, beating, torture and the systematic rape of women and children by the Burmese Army for decades. More than 3,600 villages have been destroyed in Eastern Burma in the past 15 years, an average of four every week.
In 2010 before the Burma’s election in November, in parts of Karen State where the KNU was able to document abuses, there have been cases of 18 civilians killed, 38 civilians tortured and beaten, 52 civilians arrested without reason, 2,336 civilians used as slave labour, 198 homes, schools and churches destroyed, 146 fields and orchards destroyed and more than 3,000 civilians forced to flee and hide in the jungle.
The elections held on 7th November 2010 did not represent any kind of progress towards democratization, national reconciliation or peace and stability in Burma and will not solve the fundamental problems, which are the lack of ethnic equality and human rights. The Constitution that the elections brought in was designed to enshrine military rule without granting any ethnic rights or protection. It is a serious threat to ethnic minorities in Burma.
To help solve Burma’s problem the KNU have repeatedly called on the Burmese regime to respond to calls by the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Security Council, European Union, United States of America and others, and engage in genuine tripartite dialogue for positive change. However, the regime refuses and instead continues to target our civilians for attack.
“This is an unprecedented appeal to the United Nations from ordinary villagers in Burma who are facing appalling human rights abuses. The Burmese Army has been committing war crimes and crimes against humanity for so long. We call on the UN Secretary-General to use his power to pressure the Burmese regime to stop their military operations and human rights violations in Karen State and other Karen areas,” said Naw Zipporah Sein, General Secretary of the Karen National Union. “We urge Ban Ki-moon to work with concerned governments around the world to secure a nationwide ceasefire, leading to meaningful and inclusive dialogue to achieve genuine national reconciliation and the establishment of a federal Burma that guarantee ethnic equality and human rights.” The KNU is working for a peaceful, stable, democratic and federal Burma.
Organizations taking actions and supporting the petition
1. Australia Karen Organisation
2. America Karen Association of Utica
3. Denmark Karen Organisation
4. Eastern Pennsylvania Karen Community
5. European Karen Network
6. Karen Canadian Community
7. Karen Community of Arizona
8. Karen Community Association Ireland
9. Karen Community Association UK
10. Karen Community Norway
11. Karen Community in Czech Republic
12. Karen Communities of Mid Atlantic
13. Karen Community of Minnesota
14. Karen Community of Wisconsin
15. Karen National Community – Japan
16. Karen National Community Germany
17. Karen National Community Netherlands
18. Karen National League Japan
19. Karen National Union Japan
20. Karen National Union UK
21. Karen Swedish Community
22. Karen Youth Organisation – Korea
23. Karen Youth Organisation – Kawthoolei
24. Karen Student Network Group
25. Karen Teacher Working Group
26. Karen University Student Group
27. Karen Women’s Organisation
28. Malaysian Karen Organisation
29. Overseas Karen Organisation - Japan
30. Overseas Karen Refugees’ Social Organisation
31. Utica Karen Community
2. United Kingdom
8. Czech Republic
10. United States of America
12. South Korea
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