Briefing from The Karenni Civil Society Network (KCSN)
This briefing paper analyzes how Burma Army exploitation of natural resources in Karenni State is undermining efforts by the Karenni National Progress Party to seek peace, as happened over twenty years ago.
In 1995, the Karenni National Progress Party (KNPP) signed a ceasefire agreement with the then military regime. However, after only three months, the Burma Army launched an offensive to drive out KNPP from its bases in eastern Karenni State, in order to profit from logging in the area. Tens of thousands of villagers were forcibly displaced, and rampant logging by the Burma Army and military-linked businesses led to widespread deforestation.
The KNPP signed a new ceasefire agreement in 2012, but the Burma Army continued to benefit from logging, even after a logging ban by the NLD government in 2016-2017.
On December 20, 2017, after KNPP troops uncovered an illegal shipment of timber by the Burma Army, three KNPP troops and one civilian were shot dead by the Burma Army. The incident heightened tension between KNPP and the Burma Army, and caused a significant loss of trust among the Karenni people in the peace process.
KCSN analyzes that the Burma Army’s ongoing exploitation of natural resources is a direct cause of conflict, and for the sake of peace, demands that the Burma Army immediately stop extracting natural resources in ethnic areas and stops all offensives, and pulls back its troops so that inclusive political dialogue can begin that will lead to federal devolution of power – enabling ethnic peoples the right to own and manage their own natural resources.