The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) has been in a ceasefire with the government since 2012. However, the KNPP still has not signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) yet.
Fighting has not resumed in Kayah (Karenni) State since the ceasefire. No major fighting has been reported except for the warning shots and the killing of a civilian, including a KNPP comrade.
Here are the voices of peace observers, parliamentarians and some other armed groups on the current peace in the state.
U Kay Reh (Dawtamagyi Village Tract) Peace Observer
How this peace process in Kayah State is happening is that I see as either the issue of the statue of General Aung San or the construction process of refinery plant, or the fact that our farmers have been arrested and imprisoned, has slowed down the peace process. In addition, there were occasions we had protests with the youth. So, the problems are too weak to find a solution. As a result, talks with the KNPP have often weakened for peace in our state. In my view, the peace process in Kayah State is slow when there are so many problems occurred like this.
Saw El Ka Lu (Member of Karenni State Ethnic Youth Steering Committee) Peace Observer
What I think about the current peace process is that the groups that worked in the peace process are good. We encourage them too. But if you look at our people, some people say, Peace has been achieved. In my opinion, real peace has two parts. The first part is understood as physical development and mental development. Because in terms of physical peace, how far has development achieved? For instance, are the roads getting better? But if we look at mental development, we should look at how much peace of mind do we already have. For example, if we look back, is it safe to travel? We need to see if we can travel freely. The other matter is comparison to the past. The elder experienced from the past governance would say if they can move and work freely, that is peace for them. Because in their day, they had been porters. Because there is no peace. Now that they can work and eat freely, that is peace for them. But in my view, physical and mental development can be measured by how much peace have been achieved.
Eh Dina (Karenni State Ethnic Youth Steering Committee) Peace Observer
At the state level, if peace talks follow or apply with the NCA path, that’s the right thing to do. It has to be done as most people did. Because there are so many opportunities in the NCA. In the current situation, the rights of the people are being lost because our NCA has not been signed yet. Another thing I want to say is women. In regard of women participation in the peace process, they allowed women to participate. Although women are allowed to participate, the role that they get is just go to a conference and listen. Women have no right to participate in decision-making. What I want is that in the current situation, we are raising our voice for 30% of our women’s rights. What I want is decisions making should not be done without 30% of women participation in decision-making. Only then the women we are talking about be implemented.
Dr. Khin Si Thu (Member of the Pyithu Hluttaw)
We do want peace because we are one of the citizens. We want peace as soon as possible. We want peace quickly, but we should not be in rush even if we want it fast. But it is also not good to procrastinate on what should be done. I don’t like that kind of thing. So, I suggest both sides shouldn’t be too tight. If it is too tight, it will break. Therefore, do not take advantage of the other side. On the other hand, I want them to do their best for the benefit of the people and not to burden the people.
U Michael – Member of KNPDP (Karenni National Peace and Development Party) Central Committee
It would be faster and more effective if we supoort and advise KNPP and cooperate together with the people by giving and taking advise from them in purpose on the success of our current NCA ceasefire. One more thing is we should take care to heal or counsel the tragedies or traumas suffered by the civil war. Besides, I think we need to reassure giving counselling to the villagers who are soldiers and suffered the war traumas by the previous military dictatorship. I think that will help the NCA ceasefire. And we must build a term for the NCA, while the people and the armed groups are still there, while the current NCA period is not over, but we must continue to do so. It is not enough with only the KNPP aiming for peace. I think we can be more successful if we all work together. When I was in charge of the local administration in my area, not all of us had the same views when it came to our development work, whether it was a ceasefire group or a non-ceasefire group. It takes time for the people to succeed in the NCA, while the government has a priority group and also a non-priority group.