Mayo Intercultural Action are organising an information night on Burma on Wednesday May 9th at 8:30 pm. Keith Donald and Eileen Seymour from Burma Action Ireland will be in Castlebar to share their experiences and to provide information and insight into the current situation in Burma, with particular reference to the Karen Ethnic Community. Members of the Karen Community will also speak about their experiences in Burma, the refugee camps and life here in Ireland.
Recently more than 57 members of the Karen Community living in Castlebar and Ballina received their Irish Citizenship. The Karen community were resettled here five years ago under the Irish Government UN Refugee Resettlement Programme. Prior to coming to Ireland the Karen families had lived in Ban Don Yang Refugee camp in Thailand under very difficult conditions. They have a very rich culture and tradition with a very tragic recent history. As the largest ethnic minority group in Burma, they have suffered persecution when the Burmese military occupied their land forcing them to flee.
Burma's ruling military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) have made some recent moves towards economic and democratic reform after more than five decades of oppressive military rule. This week, UN secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a landmark visit to Burma to encourage its government to carry out more democratic reforms and to initiate peace deals with ethnic rebel groups.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace laureate, symbolises the struggle of Burma's people to be free. Her mother has Karen ethnicity. Following a recent historic bye-election win, Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party makes it's debut into parliament this week.
Yet, the Burmese Army continues to commit horrific human rights abuses in ethnic areas including to Ethnic Karen who are members of the same ethnic community that live here in Mayo. The Karen hope to return to visit Burma once it safe to do so. Burma Now - What is the real story? is a unique opportunity to find out more information and to hear first hand experiences of the real situation in Burma. For further information, contact Thérèse Ruane from Mayo Intercultural Action at firstname.lastname@example.org / 086 3483414. We look forward to seeing you in The Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar next Wednesday at 8:30 pm. For further information on Burma Action Ireland, see: http://www.burmaactionireland.org