Kachin Political Party, Women’s Group Call for Women’s Inclusion in Peace and Politics

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP) and Kachin State Women Network (KSWN) released a joint statement demanding that the authorities implement a policy to facilitate greater inclusion of women in politics and the peace process.

Twenty-one women and eight men from the KSPP and the KSWN held a meeting and discussed the issues in the statement on January 21. Among the future steps will reportedly be the selection of women who wish to compete in this year’s general elections as candidates.

KSPP said it would strive for a gender quota of 30 percent women in all levels in the party’s structure.

“We have demanded 30 percent women’s participation in decision-making bodies,” Sawng Win, coordinator of KSWN, told NMG.

She said that greater assistance is still needed in order to realize this.

“Men need to encourage women to participate in politics. Men should not discriminate and restrict women with traditions and customs,” she explained. “We, women, are ready to participate in politics. We are still discriminated against in some areas.”

The Union Election Commission reported that there were more than 5,000 candidates who ran in the 2010 general election—nearly 400 of whom were women. There were more than 6,000 in the 2015 general election, nearly 800 of whom were women.

Doi Bu, a central committee member in the KSPP, said that the party has a gender policy.

“Our party has already drawn up a gender policy to allow women’s participation in decision-making bodies such as the central executive committee, and the positions of chairperson and secretary. Regarding capacity, women can compete with men in many areas nowadays,” she told NMG.

The KSPP has tried to reach the 30 percent quota, but as Doi Bu said, women’s participation remains low in the party.

“Even though women’s participation is low in the upper body, there is 40 percent women’s participation in the youth committee,” Doi Bu explained.

KSWN representatives agreed that implementation is weak, even if people across sectors accept the need for greater women’s involvement.

The network will urge respective authorities to provide assistance and shelter to women who are facing human rights abuses in Kachin State, on the grounds that the government ratified CEDAW.

“The government already signed it to protect women from various abuses. Many people still do not understand it. That’s why we highlighted it. We have demanded that the government implement it,” Sawng Win said.

The joint statement also said that the government must seek consent from internally displaced people regarding any potential agreement on resettlement, and that the implementation of the agreement must adhere to international standards.