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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ethnic Karen National’s Position Statement on 2014-PopulationCensus Enumeration in Burma/Myanmar 10-1-2014

Ethnic Karen National’s Position Statement on 2014-PopulationCensus Enumeration in Burma/Myanmar

The Karen representatives from different parts of Burma/Myanmarheld a discussion forum on January 9 & 10, at Thu-may-da-ya-ma Kya-taw-ya Monastery of Pa-an Town, Karen State, with the objectives of forminga united position of all the Karen nationals of Burma/Myanmar, and moving for acquiring true Karen population figures and using correct names for the Karen sub-groups (Karen dialect groups) by officials concerned, in the 2014-Population Census Enumeration.The forum was attended by 270 representatives from Upper Burma and Kawthoolei Region, including those from the Karen State, Mon State, Taninthayi Region, Bago Region, Aeyawaddy Region and Yangon Region.

In the two days of meeting, three discussions were held on the topics - the “Karen Sub-groups” and “Classification of Karen”, contained in the2014-Population Census EnumerationPlan. The findings of the discussions are as follows.

It was found that:

(1) In the previous census enumerations, there were no true representatives of the ethnic nationalities among the ethnic leaders and academics, who designated the names of sub-groups of the ethnic nationalities,and the process was carried out without the sub-groups’ approval of the names given to them.

(2) The ‘Code Numbers’,designating the ethnic sub-groups, used in the 2014-Population Census EnumerationPlan cause, in addition tocontradiction, more divisiveness among the ethnic nationalities.

(3) Some of the sub-groups, which the Karen nationals have recognized historically as Karen, are found to be included in the list of other nationals in the 2014-Population Census EnumerationPlan.

(4) In place of the original Englishname ‘Karen’ for the ethnic Karen nationality, the word ‘Kayin’ is used, without approval of the Karen people.

(5)There can be loss of rights of the ethnic nationalities and cause for confusion as to the objective conditions in classification of a nationality, as one of the directives says that the ‘census enumeration does not take into account whether or not a person is in possession of Family List Form (66/6),Form (10)or possession of the National Identity Card’

Based on the findings above, the Karen representatives attending the forum call upon the central government and the government’s Central Census Commission:

(1) Not to use in census enumeration the names of Karen sub-groups, which are subject to controversy, but to adopt and provide for use of the names the Karen sub-groups have adopted for themselves.

(2) All the Karen sub-groups are to be highlighted as one Karen nationality.

(3) The originalEnglish word “Karen” is to be used in mentioning the Karen people in English language.

(4) To review and amend the Immigration and Census Laws for consistency in the definition of a ‘nationality’ and provide for guarantee and protection of rights of the ethnic nationalities.

(5) The census enumeration is to be done only with the assistance of local ethnic nationality elders and volunteers, and in areas where theKaren formsamajority, at least a Karen person is to be included in the census teamfor a census unit area.

Moreover, we call upon the entire Karen people to act as follows.

(a) At the time of census enumeration, while expressing yourself as being a Karen, you must clearly state also theKaren sub-group to which you belong.

(b) Difference in religion has nothing to do with nationality and to know distinctly the fact that you are being a Karen.

(c) All the Karen nationality affairs ministers, Karen cabinet ministers, Karen MPs of the House of Nationalities, Karen national leaders and elders, Karen civil societies, Karen political parties and Karen religious organizations are to perform with extraordinaryweightiness and give help for obtaining the true population figures of the Karen people and for the use of correct sub-group names in the 2014-Population Census Enumeration.

For further Information, please contact:

(1) Aeyawaddy Region –
Mahn Win Maung; (09 250439592)

(2) Bago Region –
Saw Maung Mya; (054 23994)

(3) Yangon Region
Naw Suzanna Hla Hla Soe; (09-730 210 25)

(4) Taninthayi Region
Saw Kya Day; (09-498 038 94)

(5) Upper Burma
Saw HehKlay; (09-403 750 282)

(6) Kawthoolei Region
PadohMahnMahn; (09-316649 94; +66879 438750)

(7) Mon State
Saw San Tin; (09-255 770 602)

(8) Karen State
Saw Kyaw Zwa; (09-425 308 119)

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