Peace observers say they are still concerned about their security as they have not yet been officially allowed to observe the peace process in Kayah State.
The Kayah State Peace Monitoring Network (KSPMN), formed after the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and the government signed a state-level ceasefire agreement in 2012, has not yet been able to get the official observation rights until now.
Township peace monitoring groups or peace support groups were formed in almost every township.
U Sho Maung from Bawlakhae Township, who monitors the peace process, said, “Our support group, the KSPMN, has no registration yet although we are supporting peace. It looks like we either have registration or not. Our group is like Without. So it is not safe for us to work,” he said.
In addition, there is a lack of confirmed office space for peace activists in Bawlakhae Township, which has made it difficult to support peace effectively.
Although the peace support groups have high expectation on the candidates who won in the election, the candidates said they have limitations to cooperate with the peace support groups in order to implement peace monitoring activities and to solve those barriers.
Only the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in Bawlakhae Township has won all three elections from the 2010 election to the 2020 election. Winning representatives say they will work for peace in the state after winning the election.
However, U Kyaw Than, who won in Kayah State’s Amyotha Hluttaw constituency No. 3, said there were still restrictions to support the peace monitoring group as they are still an illegal group.
“As far as I know, there is a monitoring group. But I do not know if they are legal or not. If it is a legal organization, we can do it if they ask for help. If it is not a legal organization, we can not help it. In addition, cooperation with our representatives is a bit limited,” he said.
The Kayah State Peace Monitoring Group was formed under the previous Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) government after the peace talks at the state level, but in practice no group has officially recognized the situation, so there is no security for the people.
The main point is to monitor whether both parties comply of the terms agreed between the government and the armed group in practice.
The group has now been reorganized as a peace support activists.