From October 29-31, 2014, a consultation workshop on the revised Kawthoolei Land Policy was organized by the Kawthoolei Agriculture Department (KAD) in collaboration with the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) in Hpa-An District, Karen State, Burma/Myanmar.
The aim of the workshop was to get inputs, comments and recommendation from people regarding KAD's revised land policy so that the policy could be improved prior to official Karen National Union (KNU) approval. The KAD is one of the departments under the KNU.
Padoh Dot Lay Mu, head of KAD, stated: "We invited law and policy experts to improve this land policy. We revised the policy to ensure that it effectively addresses our Karen people's struggles for their land ownership rights, to make it relevant to other people in Myanmar/Burma, and to harmonize the policy with international laws and standards. "
The workshop was attended by KAD officials from each district in Karen State. Representatives of other KNU departments also attended, including staff from the departments of Forestry, Mining, Fisheries, Livestock and Farming, Interior and Religious Affairs, as well as the Judiciary sector. Finally, there were representatives from several Karen community-based organizations.
Naw Paw Say Wah, a member of Candle Light, a community-based organization which works with local communities in the Mergui-Tavoy District of Karen State, said: "We want our leaders to approve and adopt this policy as soon as possible. There are a lot of land-grab issues in our Mergui-Tavoy District. Therefore, we want this policy to be enforced quickly."
The original land policy was approved by the KNU in 2009. However, KAD decided to revise the policy because there were many thing that needed to be reviewed and added.