Karen News: A Deadly Mix – Money, Peace and Conflict


A Deadly Mix – Money, Peace and Conflict (click to view article)

A report launched this week by the Burma News International highlighted the impact of business on the country’s fragile peace process.

The report – Economics of Peace and Conflict – details how economic engagement trends connected to the peace process “have already caused serious negative impacts on local communities and may threat the durability of peace agreements.”

Burma News International (BNI) in a media statement point out that “ownership, control and management of land and natural resources cannot be separated from ceasefire agreement and peace talks.”

Nan Paw Gay, BNI’s development officer spoke to Karen News.

“During the two year period of the ceasefire agreement, we have seen a dramatic increase in economic development projects come into areas under the control of the ethnic armed groups. This has added concerns to the fragile ceasefire agreements, as these business investments have strong links to the government.”

BNI warns that it is if these issues are not properly managed they could “destroy the legitimacy and sustainability of the peace agreements.”

The BNI report lists grievances “including increased militarization and violence, lack of ownership and control over natural resources, land confiscation, environmental and social impacts, and competition.”

Padoh Saw Kwe Htoo Win, general secretary of the Karen National Union warned that the focus of the peace talks been shifted to business and economic development risked derailing negotiations.

“During the peace building process, if economy development activities are increasingly carried out, it will disrupt the peace building process. We have to be careful on this issue.”

The BNI report also investigates options for the government, military, non-state-armed-groups, the international community, business investors and civil society to use “to ensure that there is a durable end to conflicts.”

The BNI report lists information on business organizations and key groups involved in Burma’s ongoing peace process.