Covenant World Relief partner “Partners Relief and Development” (Partners) is reporting that a ceasefire has been signed between the Burmese government and the Karen National Union. This is a welcome development for the Karen ethnic group, an internally displaced people (IDP) group that has been defending itself from attacks by the Tatmadaw (Burmese army) for the past 60 years.
Earlier this month we received an update from Partners reporting that the political climate in Burma had been showing some signs of improvement. Since 2003, CWR has partnered with Partners in providing mobile medical clinics though the Karen Department of Health and Welfare in Eastern Burma. This is a critical need for a people who have often been denied healthcare by the Burmese government.
Although the ceasefire represents a step forward, the peace remains tenuous. “What is important now is that this ceasefire agreement leads to the respect and protection of human rights by both parties. It is also crucial that both parties encourage and cooperate with independent investigations of allegations of widespread human rights violations that have occurred in Karen State,” said Oddny Gumaer, international advocacy coordinator for Partners.
Marci Haigh, the manager for Partners Karen Medical Project, used the dwindling battery on a satellite email connection to write Covenant World Relief straight from the Burmese jungle. “Everyone welcomes the end of fighting, although some worry they will get overrun with Burmese companies, taxes and land confiscation. The medics are more hopeful and are making some great plans at better infrastructure for health – including water-sanitation projects, immunizations and staff certifications at an international standard for public health.”
Haigh added, “It’s an exciting time here–but the Karen always caveat it with ‘we aren’t sure if we can trust the Burmese yet’”.
The future is full of hope and uncertainty for the Karen people. “Please stand with us in prayer for justice as well as peace in Burma,” Haigh asked. Help us support the efforts of Partners’ mobile medical clinics by giving here.