KPSN is the largest Karen civil society network consisting of 30 organizations in Burma and Thailand. Its members have been providing support for vulnerable people and communities in this conflict-torn region for decades, striving to empower local communities, building transparent and accountable institutions, and helping to create a sustainable and equitable peace in Burma.
Goal: To achieve genuine and sustainable peace, social and political justice and equality and the establishment of Federal Democracy.
1. Awareness raising and capacity building
- Raising awareness of the peace process and of human-rights issues among Karen communities
- Building the capacity of communities to advocate for and realize their rights
2. Providing and supporting
- Providing practical support for communities to create sustainable livelihoods and improve their quality of life
3. Advocacy and monitoring
- Advocate for the rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and Refugee
- Monitoring the peace process
4. Facilitation and collaboration
- Facilitating consultation and advocacy for a sustainable and equitable peace in Burma
- Supporting and partnering with democratic forces for the establishment of Federal Democracy.
KPSN’s top priority is achieving genuine and sustainable peace. In order to achieve this, peace-building and development strategies must follow a locally-owned and defined vision of peace. Therefore, KPSN has provisionally chosen nine full values to govern its work. These values are:
- Peace Justice
- Mutual Respect
|Karen Affairs Committee
|Karen Education Department
|Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
|Karen Human Rights Group
|Karen Office for Relief and Development
|Karen Refugee Committee
|Karen Rivers Watch
|Karen Student Network Group
|Karen Teacher Working Group
|Karen Women Empowerment Group
|Karen Women Organization
|KWO (SC/ Member)
|Karen Youth Organization
|KYO (SC/ Member)
|Mae Tao Clinic
|Hsar Mu Htaw CSO
|Hku Po Ka Paw
|Mutraw Community Development Committee
|Taw Oo Humanitarian and Development Committee
|Harmony Youth Association
|Committee for Internally Displaced Karen Peoples
|Karen Women Union
|Karen Lawyers Network
|Southern Youth Tinnithryi
|Karen State Civil Society Organizations Network
|Karen Baptist Convention
|Karen Development Network
|Burma Medical Association
|Community Sustainable and Livelihood Development
|Min Lwin Taung Environmental Conservation Group
|Back Pack Health Workers Team
- Karen organization
- Well-defined organizational structure
- Engage in Karen issues
- Work with Karen communities
- Commitment to actively participate in KPSN meeting and workshop
- Existing network organization or Individual organization that share KPSN concerns and support KPSN mission/vision
KPSN priority campaigns
1. Ethnic grievances: Ethnic armed conflicts in Burma/Myanmar are caused by ethnic grievances so peace-building should aim to address those grievances (e.g. equality, justice, self-determination) and all development projects should avoid making them worse.
2. Material development: We support programs/projects that focus on empowerment, rights and physical security first. We are concerned about projects that focus primarily on material development (e.g.road) because material development cannot build people's confidence in the peace process, if they do not experience genuine change to their security, rights and well-being. According to the World Development Report 2011, no Millennium Development Goal has been achieved in any conflict-affected country, so peace is a pre-requisite to successful development.
3. Large-scale development: We are concerned about any form of aid or development project that directly or indirectly facilitates large-scale development or the entry of big business investment in conflict-affected areas. Large-scale development is problematic for several reasons:
(1) The epidemic of land grabbing for large-scale development projects is already damaging confidence in the peace process.
(2) Loss of land, damage to the local environment, and loss of livelihoods and culture are key ethnic grievances often made worse by large-scale development.
(3) Control over natural resources or trade routes is a common trigger of conflict.
4. Government’s centralized system: We support programs and projects that promote processes of decentralization (e.g. administration, education, health, infrastructure development, natural resource management). We are concerned about programs/projects that encourage government dominance, strengthen centralized systems, and are inflexible to future moves towards federalism. Why? Because the lack of self-determination allowed by the government is a key ethnic grievance, and a root cause of conflict. The expansion of government services undermines existing community-based and ethnic armed groups systems by creating parallel, incompatible systems. Furthermore, the government systems do not reflect the real needs and desires of the local community, and are less accountable to local people.
5. Community leadership and capacity: We support programs/projects that give communities and CSOs leadership roles as implementing agencies, and that strengthen local capacities. Because it will empower communities to address grievances and solve conflict issues by themselves.
6. Engagement of all stakeholders: It is imperative for all stakeholders, including conflict-affected communities and CSOs, to be engaged to promote harmony and not divisions or tensions in the community. It is therefore important that international interventions operate with greater transparency, communication, accountability, and consultation in order to avoid disputes and confusion. Cooperation on projects will encourage communication and improve relations between different stakeholders.