During 2014 our CEO Peter Sheridan on behalf of Co-operation Ireland was part of a group of representatives who were invited to support the Karen National Union (Burmese – KNU)in developing their thinking on policing as this is one of the controversial issues that he armed ethnic groups and the Burmese government will have to address in the future political dialogue. During the visit he covered topics during workshops that included:
- police organisation, structure, roles and responsibilities
- professional standards and code of ethics for police forces
- styles of policing
- accountability, human rights and international humanitarian standardsapplicable topolicing and rule of law.
During the visit the KNU leadership was also particularly interested in deepening their knowledge on how different law enforcement authorities, such as KNU military court, police, Justice Department and Office of the Attorney General, could effectively collaborate and to which extent and how KNU law enforcement authorities could collaborate with their counterpart in the Burmese government during the ceasefire and peace process?
Whilst he was there Peter visited a number of refugee camps on the Burmese/Thailand Border -the main one being Mae Sot. Many people around the world take for granted the freedom to travel and freedom to work. Others have learned to take for granted that they are unable to do so. Thousands of refugees from Burma have lived confined to the camps in Thailand for 30 years; thousands have been born in the camps and never left. For the vast majority of them, it is the only way of life they have ever known. For many refugees, refugee camps are where they were born and where they grew up, and the only reality they have ever seen exists within the fences of the camps. Meanwhile, many older people have lived in the camps for so long that they can hardly remember their homeland anymore.