Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org
Please see www.dictatorwatch.org for a link to the paper described below.


27 November 2003

Dictator Watch has posted a new paper: "The Karen People of Burma, and the Karen National Union," prepared with the cooperation of the KNU. The paper’s contents include:

- A statement of Karen social and political aspirations, including the objectives of the KNU.
- A presentation of Karen cultural history, including the development of written language and also changes in spiritual belief.
- A description of core Karen cultural values and ceremonies.
- A presentation of Karen political history, with particular emphasis on the relationship between the Karen and ultra-nationalist members of the Burman ethnic group.
- The conditions in Burma during World War II and following independence from Britain. This section describes the formation of the KNU and the circumstances that led the Karen to establish a self-defense force.
- A description of the campaign of genocide to which the Karen (and also the Karenni and the Shan) have been subjected by the successive military regimes in Burma. This section also summarizes the refugee and internally displaced person crisis that has resulted from the genocide. In addition, we would note that the United Nations, and the signatory nations of the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, are obliged to intervene and end the genocide being committed in Burma. Further, Burma's neighbors, through extending the dictatorship both economic and military support, thereby perpetuating its rule, are complicit in this genocide.

The paper also describes the Karen political organization, including:

- The structure of the Karen National Union: its geographic organization; its committees and departments; and its electoral procedures.
- The Karen National Liberation Army, the military wing of the Karen resistance: its mission; its basic organization; and its policy regarding narcotics.
- Other Karen organizations, inside Burma and in Thailand, and overseas.