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Creating and committing to a vision for the Salween Peace Park
Kholo Tamutaku Karer (in English: Salween Peace Park) covers 5,485 km2 of the Salween River basin, a region in Burma/Myanmar that is of great importance to both global biodiversity and the livelihoods of many Karen indigenous communities. The Salween River basin has been the territory of life of its indigenous Karen custodians for about three thousand years, but the self-declaration of the Salween Peace Park is relatively recent (December 2018).
The approximately 60,000 residents went through a long and laborious process of successive consultations, developed a Charter including agreed rules, and finally proclaimed that their territory was dedicated to fulfilling three of their core aspirations: 1. peace and self-determination; 2. environmental integrity; and 3. cultural survival. In an area that has suffered from over 60 years of civil war, the territory is now dedicated to generating peace and protecting a stronghold of biodiversity and Karen culture (including customary land governance and management systems) from old and new threats.
From Battlefields to Refuge: Introducing The Salween Peace Park; KESAN, 2017, 4 min. A powerful and telling account of how the Karen communities organised themselves to affirm their vision in a Charter, declare the Salween Peace Park, plan for the future and celebrate their own achievements and commitment for the future.
Photos: © Jittrapon Kaicome