Ethnic Karen religious leaders, both Buddhist and Christian, met in Hpa-an earlier this week to discuss their involvement in the current peace-building process between Karen armed groups and the Burmese government.
More than 90 Buddhist monks and Christian pastors from various parts of Burma – including Rangoon, Irrawaddy, Tenasserim and Mandalay divisions, and Mon and Karen states – sat for talks at the Thumaydharama Monastery in the Karen State capital on 11- 12 March, said Buddhist monk Sandhawara.
“The Burmese government and the Karen Nation Union have managed to reach a ceasefire agreement in the peace-building process,” he said. “But we would like to find ways to assist, and to give the process a push forward with the aim of establishing a genuine peace.
“We believe that only the involvement of religious leaders will ensure a swift but genuine peace process,” he added.
The 90 religious leaders concluded their summit by releasing an eight-point statement expressing support for the peace-building process and urging honesty and fairness in negotiations. Other points called for a programme to educate the local populations about the peace process; and to resettle villagers and refugees displaced by the decades-long conflict.