Five organizations concerned with the Karen peace process in Burma say they will not attend a meeting organized by Norway’s MPSI because of its “flawed, untransparent peace-fund consultation” process.
The group sent an open letter to Norwegian Ambassador Katja Nordgaard on Thursday outlining its concerns
The Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MPSI) is a Norwegian-led international initiative to support the cease-fires process in Burma.
The aim is to work with the government, non-state armed and political groups, civil society actors and communities, as well as international partners to provide concrete support to the cease-fire process.
MPSI announced a meeting to be held on Saturday, but the Karen organizations asked for a postponment to allow more groups to attend.
“We are extremely disappointed by your decision to not move the September 1 MPSI meeting to another later date,” said the group. “The fundamental problem is not only with the rushed date but the way the agenda is structured and the dominance of expert consultants.”
The group said the invitation was sent out only five days before the meeting date, preventing many groups from attending.
It said the agenda allowed for less than one hour for questions and answers.
A major focus of the meeting was the updated MPSI Program Strategy and issues moving forward. The groups said it wanted time for more targeted, substantive conversations, and also copies of the consultation material.
It said MPSI risks being seen as “manufacturing consent without broad support from the various ethnic communities.”
“We remain hopeful that Norway uses the peace building process as an opportunity to further reconciliation, not divide Burma ethnic communities,” said the group.
The letter was signed:
Karen Women Organization
Karen Environmental Social Action Network
Human Rights Education Institute of Burma
Women's League of Burma