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Karennis, the Forgotten People of the World

   (S.H.A.N. & Burma's News Published by Burma's Chinese 貌强 )

   Kaya State was called Karenni State before 1948.

   It is situated between Burma and Thailand ,sharing an international border with Thailand to the east , state boundaries with Shan state in the north-west and Karen state in the south-west.

   “Karenni”, means Red Karen and is a sub-tribe of Karen people. They prefer red colour and red dresses, so the Burmans call them Karenni.

   Karenni State was an independent state before 1948.So it refused to take part in 1947 “Panglong Conference”and 1948 “Burma’s Independence”. 1948 Burma became independent from the British Empire and the Karenni State was incorporated into Burma. The Karenni people refused to accept Burma’s rule and thus military administration was imposed on them as “Kaya State” by means of Divide and Rule.

   The Karenni national forces have fought for their national rights till today.The Burmese Army continues his campaign of intimidation against this small nationality. The Karennis live under the constant threat of rape, beatings, arrests, massacre and starvation, being enlisted as porters for the Burmese army and having their food and possessions snatched from them.

   According to international organisations, since 1996 the Burmese Army has destroyed over 2,500 Karenni villages and forced 50,000 Karennis to flee deep into mountainous jungle. They live with inadequate access to water, isolated from familiar food sources and any medical services or supplies and their children are denied an education. They have, year by year, been forced to displace to the camps of Burma’s army. Many Karennis have run away to Thailand.

   They are indeed the forgotten people of the world.

   The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) has been fighting against successive Burmese governments for a separate Karenni State for more than 50 years. Khoo Raymond Htoo, General Secretary of KNPP, declared at the end of their 10th KNPP Conference held from 27 May to 2 June,

   “We abandon our claim for a separate state and accept the building of a federal Burma which includes all the states and nationalities having the equal rights”.

   Having seen that the Burma’s military government insists on its dictatorship and its “Uprooting Civil War”, Kayan New Generation Youth (KNGY) declared on June 4,2005, the 41st Anniversary of the Kayan Revolutionary Day, a statement as follows:

   We vigorously would like to express our commemoration and glorification of Kayan people and the Kayan New Land Party (KNLP) on this special occasion of the Kayan Revolutionary Day. We also would like to give honour to the memories of revolutionists or soldiers who have died during the struggle for the freedom of Kayan. Since General Ne Win has forcefully taken over the power from the elected democratic government of Burma to found the military dictatorship in 1962, Kayan people, like any other ethnic groups, started to raise arms against the dictators in June 4, 1964 and later founded the KNLP.

   The KNLP which was founded in the dreams of the foundation of federal union, equality right, democracy, unification of all Kayan and the demolishment of the dictatorship has been fighting against the junta with other armed groups sharing the same ideas, objectives and goals for decades long.

   Although the KNLP concurred the verbal ceasefire agreement with the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) to solve the political problems by political means for the sake of the country harmonization and prosperity in 1994, the junta has just ignored and rejected the proposals the KNLP and other ethnic armed groups presented at Naung Na Ping National Convention. By doing so, it will never be possible for the junta to solve the country problems by political means and to live in peace and harmony. As a result, some ethnic groups try to be free from the junta’s influences and wanted to be independent themselves. The belief of the SPDC in the country-leading role has just melted away and the agreements of ceasefire are disregarded and meaningless. Therefore, on this special occasion for all Kayan minority people, the KNGY would like to convey its opinions, suggestions and demands in this statement as followings;

    (1) By flipping through the recent history of Burma and evaluating the events of the Depayinn massacre, the bombardment targeted to civilians in Rangoon and the announcement of the Independence of the Shan State can be clearly known and recognized of the SPDC leading the country in a random way and not fully receiving the mutual trust of the people. (2) As of millions of people have been suffering quite a long period of time and every aspect such as politics, economics, education, health, healthcare, living standard and the like, have been deteriorating steadily, the SPDC should have called for tripartite which include democracy activists, ethnic groups and the SPDC personals to the negotiation table and form interim government for the transitional period.

   (3) Thereupon of the poverty millions of people have suffered under the dictator rule, we, KNGY members, would like to encourage the SPDC and other political activist groups to carry out the following endeavors without delay on this special day of the Kayan Revolutionary Day.

   (a) To announce an immediate amnesty for political detainees and turn swords into ploughshares.

   (b) To hold a tripartite dialogue and stop Burmanization (vulcanizations).

   (c)To give freedom of press and let news be without borders.

   (d) To stop restricts of the ceasefire groups and political parties.

   (e) To release Daw Aung San Su Kyi, U Tin Oo, U Khon Tun Oo and other political prisoners without delay.

   (f) To put forward the priorities of the state’s interest rather than the community’s and the self’s.

   Central Committee Kayan New Generation Youth (KNGY)June 4, 2005

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