From September 19th to 21st September 2016, KNWO held Karenni Women’s Voice Conference at Maw Du Dee Boe Hall, Htay Ta Ma Village, Chi Kel village cluster, Loikaw Township, Kayah State, Myanmar. The Conference counted with the presence of Ethnic Armed Groups, Senate, Political Party Groups, Civil Society Organizations, NGOs and INGOs and Karenni people representatives. Citizens from Loikaw’s seven townships attended to the conference, of those, 169 were males and 271 were females. A total of 440 participants from 48 villages were actively engaged in the Conference.
Discussions during Conference first day were focused in the result of a consultation with community members led by Karenni National Women Organization (KNWO). This consultation took place in the months of August and September 2016. In this task-force, 1730 participants were interviewed, 634 being males and 1096 females. Topics of discussion were Human Rights, Women’s Right, Social, Economics, Politics, Security and Land and Environment.
Oo Al Phon Shoe, Kayah State Prime Minister opened second day of the Conference with a welcome speech. Khu Oo Reh, Deputy Chair Person of Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and Unity of Ethnic Federation Council (UNFC) Secretary shared a speech aiming to clarify Myanmar Peace Process. His speech was followed by a panel discussion about women’s peace and security, women’s participation in politics, women’s participation in social affairs, women’s participation in economics and Land and Environment. These topics were chosen in order to include all aspects of women roles and gender equality. In the last session of the day, the participants were divided into groups that discussed the above mentioned topics in depth and listed suggestions for improvement.
In the third day of the Conference, moderators summarized the discussions of first two days. This was followed by an extensive group work which raised key recommendations for improvement to insitutions such as Government, Army (Tamadaw), Ethnic Armed Groups, Senate, Political Parity, NGO/CBOs and Donors.
Result of the discussion:
- Women’s political awareness should be increased. There should be a better understanding of elections dinamics and other political specific topics.
- To raise religious leaders’ awareness about women’s rights. Traditional leaders should recognize and promote women’s rights.
- To provide political training and capacity building for women to boost their participation in politics. Participation should be encouraged by parents and other family members.
- Women should integrate institutions in National Government, State level, Village clusters and townships in all decision making levels.
- To include women representatives from State level to Federal level to participate and to present sub-tribes political aspect and consideration on their recommendations.
- To create a policy to ensure inclusion of at least (30%) of women in all aspects of politics and peace process discussions.
- Sufficient budget for Education, Health and Social Welfare to be allocated under National Budget.
- To grant ID cards and household registration to all Internal Displace People (IDP).
- Old beliefs about women’s roles being limited to mother and wife hold women and society abck and should be replaced by modern approaches.
- To raise male leaders’ awareness about women’s rights (religious leaders, ethnies leaders, administrators).
- To raise women’s awareness about their own rights.
- To eliminate the word “Dependent” from women’s ID card. Currently ID cards state “Household Leader in males’ IDs” and “Dependent”, Female.
- To recognize conflict zones and villages which are still not registered by government.
- To provide job posts to all those who return from Borders areas.
- State Government must create job opportunities for all women.
- Government and Ethnic Armed Groups must collaborate to create a clear taxes payment policy.
- To create a policy that allows for widow and vulnerable women to have a reduced taxes priviledge.
- To create an Agriculture and Trade Commission in Karenni State.
- To create job posts for those who fled from civil war and wish to return to their places of origin.
- To ensure creation and maintenance of safe work environments for women.
- To prioritize selection of local people as employees in public institutions operating in their home areas.
- Stop all forms of sexual exploitation. Stop the use of women as economic advertisement.
- To create a written law about women protection in Karenni State. In case of violation of this law, authorities should take quick action accordingly.
- Members of Army and Ethnic Armed Groups who violate women’s security must be judged and punished accordingly.
- Authorities must take severe actions against individuals who commit sexual abuse or any form of sexual violence against women.
- Increase and promote women participation in decision making of legitimacy law.
- Women must be hired for vacancies in Police.
- Authorities to take severe actions against individuals who sell any type of drug.
- To respect women’s peace and security rights based on international norms.
5. Land and Environmental Policy:
- Ensure women the right to own land. It is required a reform in old traditions which state that women are not allowed to own land.
- To ensure land law to women to be own land and change should not be Male as Household leaders.
- Government, Tamadaw (Army) and Ethnic Armed Groups to cooperate in order to ensure cease of unlawful land confiscation.
- Ensure that unlawfully confiscated lands are returned to original owners.
- To promote women’s right to manage land.
- Increase women’s knowledge about land management.
- Women must be involved in decision making regarding amendment of land law (constitution).
- To take action on Justice, ethnically to develop for regional.
KNWO will submit a report with more detailed information to Government, Tamadaw (Army), Ethnic Arm Groups, Senate Representatives, Political Party Groups, NGOs, CSOs and Donors in October 2016.