AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

About the AKO - Australian Karen Organisation

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

Since Karen people came to live in Australia, they have seen that organisation is very important for the community in this country. Even though they were less in number, they started organising themselves as a group. After the Karen people started growing in number, in 1996 they started organising a committee. The purpose for this committee is to work for the Karen people who had resettled in this country especially in socio-political perspective. For the Karen organisation to be recognised in this country, this committee started writing basic constitution for the first time on February 17, 1997. The same year, the Karens in different states started organising committees for the first time through Teleconference. On February 14, 1998, the Australian Karen Organisation's (AKO) constitution was recognised by the Australian government. And in April, 1998, the Australian Karen Organisation's committees from all over Australia held the first national conference in Sydney. On July 16, 1998, the Australian Karen Organisation was recognised by the Australian government.

Upcoming Events

The details for the event may be subject to change. Please contact the contact persons at the bottom of event details for up to date information.

Australian Capital Territory

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

This year’s the Karen new year era 2756 will be celebrated on Thursday, 29th December 2016 in ACT. It will be such a remarkable event as the ACT's Karen cultural groups have been preparing themselves to bring some amazing Karen traditional and modern performances such as Karen traditional 'Done dance' and many more to be witnessed.

Come and join us to celebrate this significant event as you definitely don't want to miss.

Hope to see you all there.

Event details

  • Date: Thursday - 29th December 2016
  • Time: 5:00 PM
  • Location: St John the Baptist Church (45 Constitution Ave, Reid, ACT 2612)

Contact persons

Name Contact
Saw Andrew Sein 0405 321 125
Naw Ester Kyaw 0423 700 357
Moo K'Lue Di Gay 0481 774 737
Saw Tha Sel 0468 656 317

New South Wales

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

This year's Sydney Karen New Year era 2756 will be celebrated on 7th January 2017 after the Karen national youth seminar in Sydney.

Our focus is to maintain, sustain and develop Karen culture and traditions. The Sydney cultural youth will be combining together with the adult cultural group to perform the don dance, it's an old school meets new school, a performance which has never been performed in any other states.

Live entertainment will be kept for last for the grand closing of the ceremony. Live musical entertainment will be brought to us by our guest Karen singers as Cecilia, Thel Thel, Mee Mee Khel, Pukaloot and guest guitarist Stephen Htoo from a well known Karen music band Klo Kwe and also joining the stage with them is our very own Aussie known Karen idol Saw Ku Gay Htoo. (see the flyer in regards to live musical entertainment for further details.)

With Christmas just around the corner, Sydney will be the best place to celebrate the coming Karen new year era 2756.

Event details

  • Date: Saturday - 7th January 2017
  • Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Location: Roselea Community Centre (645-671 Pennant Hills Road, Carlingford, NSW, 2118)

Contact persons

Name Contact
Saw LwinOo 0412 344 009
Saw Bready Aye 0432 343 396
Nan Dah Eh Kler 0411 057 903
Daniel Thein Thanya 0413 045 514
Saw Eh Dah 0401 017 450

Queensland

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

The Karen National New Year celebrations are held during the pleasant month of Pyathoe (Dec/Jan on the Roman calendar). This year's the Karen New Year era 2756 will be celebrated on Saturday, 31st December 2016. It is such a remarkable event where people come to enjoy variety of beautiful Karen food, experience traditional Karen 'Done dance' and live musical performances that will be performed by our most talented Karen singers in Queensland.

Also joining the stage will be guest Karen singers such as Cecilia, Thel Thel, Mee Mee Khel, Pukaloot and guest guitarist Stephen Htoo from a well known Klo Kwe Karen music band.

Mark the date in your diary for such event you don't want to miss.

Event details

  • Date: Saturday - 31st December 2016
  • Time: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Location: Stafford Heights State School's Hall (95 Redwood Street, Stafford Heights, QLD, 4053)

Contact persons

Name Contact
Pa Da 0478 672 199
Sanlwin Y Shwe 0412 039 426
Ku Gay Htoo May 0433 068 504

Victoria

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

AKO community in Victoria, once again we're looking forward to this year's Karen New Year Celebration, which to be held on Thursday 29th of December 2016. On this very special day you'll be able to witness some amazing performances such as the Karen traditional 'Done dance', Bamboo Dance, culture shows, live musical entertainment that will be brought to you by Karen cultural group in Victoria.

With our most talented Karen chefs who are living amongst us in our community, this year's Karen new year will be the place where you'll be able to find the most delicious Karen food you have ever tasted. It'll be the event where you definitely don't want to miss. You can also bring along anyone with you because everyone is invited to attend this significant event.

Hope to see you all there...

Event details

  • Date: Thursday - 29th December 2016
  • Time: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • Location: Werribee Karen Baptist Church (Cnr Heath Rd & Derrmut Rd, Hoppers Crossing, VIC 3029)

Contact persons

Name Contact
Lulu Johny 0422 321 465
Thataw Kunoo 0430 539 668
Law Baw 0425 381 976

Western Australia

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

Well Karen New Year fast approaches and this year will be celebrated in Perth on Thursday 29th December at 10am sharp. Please remember it's on a Thursday this year just in case you need to book annual leave. Come and support Karen New Year celebrations and display of Karen Culture. Please share with your friends and welcome them to what should be a fantastic event.

Event details

  • Date: Thursday - 29th December 2016
  • Time: 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
  • Location: 5 Vasto Place, Balcatta, WA 6021

Contact persons

Name Contact
Joansy Pegrum 0431 050 303
Melvyn Parnell 0408 947 000
Daffodil Sawmei 0411 783 292
Ross Hansen 0438 956 785
AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

Read a full information on the establishment of AKO Read more >>

About the AKO - Australian Karen Organisation

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

Since Karen people came to live in Australia, they have seen that organisation is very important for the community in this country. Even though they were less in number, they started organising themselves as a group. After the Karen people started growing in number, in 1996 they started organising a committee. The purpose for this committee is to work for the Karen people who had resettled in this country especially in socio-political perspective. For the Karen organisation to be recognised in this country, this committee started writing basic constitution for the first time on February 17, 1997. The same year, the Karens in different states started organising committees for the first time through Teleconference. On February 14, 1998, the Australian Karen Organisation's constitution was recognised by the Australian government. And in April, 1998, the Australian Karen Organisation's committees from all over Australia held the first national conference in Sydney. On July 16, 1998, the Australian Karen Organisation was recognised by the Australian government.

AKO - Mission & Vision Statement

  • The Australian Karen Organisation (AKO) was registered as Incorporated under the Association Act 1981 on 16 July 1998 in the state of Victoria.

  • At present, there are seven chapters of the Australian Karen Organisation which operate as the Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Northern Territory branches.

  • There are many Karen community members living across Australia who migrated under the SHP Program Visa Sub Class 200, 202, and 204. It is estimated that the number of Karens in Australia are about 20,000, with a majority of Karen refugees resettling in Victoria.

AKO - Vision statement

  • Our vision is for the well establishment and resettlement of the Karen community in Australia.

AKO - Mission statement

  • Our mission is to represent and act as an umbrella organisation for the Karen people in Australia and to represent them and voice their concerns in all political, social, cultural and economic matters and to facilitate their affiliation to the AKO.

AKO - Objectives

The Objectives of the Australian Karen Organisation are as follow:

  • To encourage and foster the development and perpetuation of the Karen culture and language.

  • To act as the representative of the Karen community at all levels of government and other authorities, be they State, Federal or Local.

  • To act as the representative of the Karen community in the Ethnic Affairs Commission and other cultural, social or political organisations.

  • To promote public awareness for the problems and hardships suffered by the Karen ethic group have been forced to emigrate from homeland and take refuge in foreign lands.

  • To represent the Karen ethnic group and participate in forums and conferences at national and international level in order to achieve Equality, Peace, Freedom, Justice and Human Rights for the Karen in Burma and abroad.

  • To initiate and participate in welfare projects for the Karen communities in Australia and in areas where they have been forced to take refuge from the onslaught of the illegitimate Burmese government.

  • To prepare and maintain a census of the Karen people in Australia.

In order for our Objectives to be fulfilled we, therefore, want to encourage our people to work together for peace in order that our people would be in stable in the countries where we live. Our greatest hope is that we want to see all the Karen people working in peace and harmony.

Structure of the AKO

  • The AKO has a Central Committee to co-ordinate the activities of the AKO and to be the ultimate authority in matters of policy, discipline and direction.

  • A Management Committee is appointed in every branch to manage the affairs of the branch in the state in which it has been formed.

  • Within the each state’s Management Committee are two departments. One of which is the Youth Affairs Department which is to focus and institute programs on matters pertaining to the Karen Youth in Australia and overseas, and to network with other youth groups around the world.

  • The latter department is the Women Affairs Department which is to focus and institute programs on matters pertaining to the Karen women and women of the world and to network with other women organisation around the world.

  • Sub-committees may also be formed as and when necessary to facilitate and implementation of programs initiated by the AKO.

Contact information

P.O. Box 58 Guildford, Sydney NSW 2161 Australia: Tel: (61-2) 9788 7633; Tel/Fax (61-2) 9632 6248.
P.O Box 679 Mirrabooka, Perth WA 6061Australia: Tel: (61-8) 9349 4073 Fax: (61-8) 93495254.
P.O. Box 1278 Werribee Plaza, Melbourne VIC 3030 Australia: Tel/Fax (61-3) 9734 0400.
P.O. Box 421 Zillmere, Brisbane QLD 4034 Australia: Tel: (61-7) 3205 7039.
P.O. Box 982 Mawson, Canberra ACT 2607 Australia; Tel: (61-2) 6296 7191.
AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

AKO - Executive Committee

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

President

AKO - Executive Committee

Saw LWIN OO

Vice President 1

AKO - Executive Committee

Mahn ORLANDO

Vice President 2

AKO - Executive Committee

Thataw KUNOO

General Secretary

AKO - Executive Committee

Sanlwin Y SHWE

Joint Secretary (1)

AKO - Executive Committee

Ester KYAW

Joint Secretary (2)

AKO - Executive Committee

Ler Say WAI

See more..

Youth Department Coordinator

AKO - Executive Committee

Ku Gay Htoo MAY

Women Department Coordinator

AKO - Executive Committee

Crystal GAW

Education Coordinator

AKO - Executive Committee

Saw Moo K'Lue DI GAY

Cultural Coordinator

AKO - Executive Committee

Maw Noo THA HEH

EC Member

AKO - Executive Committee

Lulu JOHNNY

EC Member

AKO - Executive Committee

Kaw Hser Paw HLAING

EC Member

AKO - Executive Committee

Melvyn PARNELL

EC Member

AKO - Executive Committee

Eh Soe KYAT OO

EC Member

AKO - Executive Committee

Nay Moo LERCY

Contact information

P.O. Box 58 Guildford, Sydney NSW 2161 Australia: Tel: (61-2) 9788 7633; Tel/Fax (61-2) 9632 6248.
P.O Box 679 Mirrabooka, Perth WA 6061Australia: Tel: (61-8) 9349 4073 Fax: (61-8) 93495254.
P.O. Box 1278 Werribee Plaza, Melbourne VIC 3030 Australia: Tel/Fax (61-3) 9734 0400.
P.O. Box 421 Zillmere, Brisbane QLD 4034 Australia: Tel: (61-7) 3205 7039.
P.O. Box 982 Mawson, Canberra ACT 2607 Australia; Tel: (61-2) 6296 7191.
AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

Contact us

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Contact information

P.O. Box 58 Guildford, Sydney NSW 2161 Australia: Tel: (61-2) 9788 7633; Tel/Fax (61-2) 9632 6248.
P.O Box 679 Mirrabooka, Perth WA 6061Australia: Tel: (61-8) 9349 4073 Fax: (61-8) 93495254.
P.O. Box 1278 Werribee Plaza, Melbourne VIC 3030 Australia: Tel/Fax (61-3) 9734 0400.
P.O. Box 421 Zillmere, Brisbane QLD 4034 Australia: Tel: (61-7) 3205 7039.
P.O. Box 982 Mawson, Canberra ACT 2607 Australia; Tel: (61-2) 6296 7191.
AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

AKO - Site map

A sitemap is a hierarchical visual model of the pages of a Web site. Site maps help users navigate through a Web site that has more than one page by showing the user a diagram of the entire site's contents.

Contact information

P.O. Box 58 Guildford, Sydney NSW 2161 Australia: Tel: (61-2) 9788 7633; Tel/Fax (61-2) 9632 6248.
P.O Box 679 Mirrabooka, Perth WA 6061Australia: Tel: (61-8) 9349 4073 Fax: (61-8) 93495254.
P.O. Box 1278 Werribee Plaza, Melbourne VIC 3030 Australia: Tel/Fax (61-3) 9734 0400.
P.O. Box 421 Zillmere, Brisbane QLD 4034 Australia: Tel: (61-7) 3205 7039.
P.O. Box 982 Mawson, Canberra ACT 2607 Australia; Tel: (61-2) 6296 7191.
AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

The establishment of Australian Karen Organisation

The Burmese military ruling regime has used the four cuts operation in the eastern Karen State since 1976 against Karen National Union (KNU). This operation is also known as Scorched Earth, or the Scorched intervention military tactic. It commences annually as the "dry season offensive" against the country's ethnic nationalities. Since 1996, over 3200 villages in eastern Burma had been destroyed and forcibly relocated or abandoned.

The Burmese military has persuaded some of the Buddhist Karen under one of the Karen monk and created Democratic Karen Buddhist Organisation (DKBO) and formed the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), who is a politically naive group with very limited political and general knowledge. Their propaganda is that the KNU is a Christian organisation working solely for its own benefit. Moreover, the DKBA leaders were misled by the SPDC's promise that “If there is no Marnerplaw (the KNU headquarters), the Rangoon government will withdraw all their troops from the Karen State and within six months, would be installed the DKBO as government and handed over all political power to them to rule their own Karen State".

Since then, the Burmese army and DKBA combined troops and attacked Wanka, where KNU's base caved. During January and around February 1996, the Burmese and DKBA combined troops attacking with mortar shellings and burning down Karen refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border at Maeramu, Bawnaw, Shoklo, Kamawlayko and Hwaykaloke, where tens of thousands of Karen refugees lived. Within the 15 months the Shoklo and Hway Kaloke camp were burnt down twice despite the UN and Human rights commission (Human rights council) having passed repeatedly resolutions condemning Burma's military regime for human rights abuses each year since 1990.

A working committee was first formed in 1996 embodying themselves as the Australian Karen Organisation (AKO) to make representations, and bring to the attention of the world community the plight of the thousands of refugees that were being driven out of their homes to the Burma-Thai border.

The committee operated as organisation giving priority to the urgent matters and situations that they had, and their fellowmen were experiencing.

The AKO's objectives were to express their concern and disapproval of the deterioration of the living standards and denial of basic human rights and injustices that their fellow Karens and others were suffering at the hands of the military authorities in Burma. The AKO have organised themselves, joining together to show their solidarity, and to continue the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Burma.

When the news of the Burmese army's attack on Karen Refugee camps circulated, the Karens all over Australia held a teleconference and agreed for the AKO to meet with the Australian Foreign Affairs Officials. The first Karen protest against the Burmese army's attacks on Karen Refugee camp at the Thai-Burma Border was in front of Burmese embassy, Canberra on the 17 February 1997. Subsequently AKO's delegation (consisting of Karen delegates from Perth, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne) met with the Australian Foreign Officials, after the Karen protest. Following meeting with Australian Foreign Officials, the Karens held another meeting at Canberra to discuss the drafted AKO constitution, and made suggestions to seek advice from the Karen National Union (KNU) to gain perspective of the overseas Karen needs.

AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

AKO (WA) Traditional 'Done dance' Team Expands

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

Jan 2016 saw the best year yet in Karen traditional dance at Karen New Year in Western Australia. With widespread social media and community newspaper coverage for the AKO (WA) group last year, this year the team aims to go one better. Last year AKO (WA) had great feedback from the WA Karen community for the group, and this year they are aiming to take the next step in Karen culture performance.

The adult group will expand from 8 to 16 performers, and instead of using digital background music, the traditional format of drums, cymbals and the dancers singing will be used. The team also have the benefit of Saw Htoo Paung's experience instructing the adult men this year and the results are showing. This year AKO (WA) also has an under 18's team of 10 which will also dance to traditional drum, and singing etc, an under 12's team made up of 10 boys and 10 girls, and an under 10's team of 5 children. Promoting Karen culture will continue to be a focal point for the Karen community in Western Australia, particularly as AKO continues to expand.

AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

The establishment of Karen Basic Language School in Queensland.

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

Background

Mission

The establishment of the Karen Language program in Brisbane is to advance the knowledge and understand of our young people the importance of our Karen tradition, culture and language. Most of the Karen people are from Thailand refugee camp, many of us have resettled in Brisbane since the year 2005 and our community has increasingly grown in numbers ever since. Living in a diverse multicultural society it is in our community interest to promote and create a harmonious community, promoting Australia cultural values by way of providing our children and young adults an opportunity to come together on a weekend during school terms to socialise, to learn and speak the language of our ancestors.

Mission

The Karen Language program is for all Karen children and young adults who are keen and have a strong will to wanting to speak, read and write their mother tongue as well as having mastered the English language. Our ultimate goal of creating a Karen Language program in our community is to pass down our identity, cultural value and ancestor knowledge to our young generation. As a community our main concern is our children are becoming less able to communicate with parents and elders in their mother tongue. Undeniably, replacing our ancestor language with a more predominantly spoken one seems very reasonable for many but we believe that what makes Australia a nation is diversity and language diversity is as important in its way as national identity and as biological diversity.

AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

Articles

Contact information

P.O. Box 58 Guildford, Sydney NSW 2161 Australia: Tel: (61-2) 9788 7633; Tel/Fax (61-2) 9632 6248.
P.O Box 679 Mirrabooka, Perth WA 6061Australia: Tel: (61-8) 9349 4073 Fax: (61-8) 93495254.
P.O. Box 1278 Werribee Plaza, Melbourne VIC 3030 Australia: Tel/Fax (61-3) 9734 0400.
P.O. Box 421 Zillmere, Brisbane QLD 4034 Australia: Tel: (61-7) 3205 7039.
P.O. Box 982 Mawson, Canberra ACT 2607 Australia; Tel: (61-2) 6296 7191.
AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au
AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

9th AKO Biennial General Meeting Statement

23 - 25 September 2016

Sydney, Australia

The Australian Karen Organisation (AKO - Inc.) 9th National Biennial General Meeting was held on the 23rd to 25th September, 2016. Representatives from the five states/territory attended.

The following resolutions were made unanimously:

  1. AKO reaffirms and uphold the Karen four slogans of peaceful demand and Saw Ba U Gyi’s Four Principles till completion of Karen national and political objectives.

  2. AKO supports the Karen revolution by all political, moral and with the accomplishment of the Karen national objectives – equality, genuine federal union with self-determination.

  3. AKO believes that the NCA agreement as it currently stands is not weighted equally between the ethnic nationalities and the central government. The agreement would be more fairly balanced without the Burmese military’s ‘The Six Peace Principles’.

  4. The 21st century Panglong conference is a good platform if every stakeholder is participating with sincerity to achieve true national conciliation. In reality we see clearly that the Burmese military is against the change that is why the Burmese military is the obstacle to national conciliation being achieved.

  5. Development projects, land confiscation and extraction of natural resources in the ethnic areas need to be consulted and agreement reached with locally effected people according to the norms of international law.

  6. AKO does not support the premature repatriation of refugees along the Thai-Burma border due to the instability of the area caused by the Burmese military.

  7. AKO urges international governments to continue cross-border funding in supporting the Refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) along the Thai-Burma border.

  8. AKO calls on the Burmese military to unconditionally cease fighting in Karen state and all ethnic areas in order to make the national cease fire legally binding.

  9. AKO urges KNU leaders to stand firm according to the Karen revolution principles.

National Executive Committee

Australian Karen Organisation Inc.

Media Contact:

Sanlwin Y Shwe: (+61) 41203 9426

Thataw Kunoo: (+61) 43053 9668

Contact information

P.O. Box 58 Guildford, Sydney NSW 2161 Australia: Tel: (61-2) 9788 7633; Tel/Fax (61-2) 9632 6248.
P.O Box 679 Mirrabooka, Perth WA 6061Australia: Tel: (61-8) 9349 4073 Fax: (61-8) 93495254.
P.O. Box 1278 Werribee Plaza, Melbourne VIC 3030 Australia: Tel/Fax (61-3) 9734 0400.
P.O. Box 421 Zillmere, Brisbane QLD 4034 Australia: Tel: (61-7) 3205 7039.
P.O. Box 982 Mawson, Canberra ACT 2607 Australia; Tel: (61-2) 6296 7191.
AKO
Australian Karen Organisation
tDpBxhv,XRunD'Duvkmu&X
https://ako.org.au

An overview of the Karen people

AKO | Australian Karen Organisation

Karen people are well known as the indigenous people of Burma and second largest ethnic group after the majority Burman. Karen people mostly live in the western Burma region (Delta), Rangoon, Pa Gu divisions and eastern Burma, along Thai Burma border. They can be found, also in northern and southern Thailand as well.

Karen people are very optimistic, love their land and value peace. However, they have been oppressed by the ruling Burmese military junta for over sixty years. They have been tortured, killed, forced to be military slaves, punished and otherwise mistreated. Moreover, their villages are attacked, burnt down to ash and women raped. Consequently, they have to flee to the neighboring country of Thailand to seek protection in refugee camps. There are over 140,000 Karen refugees, currently residing in seven refugee camps in Thailand and larger numbers living in regions inside of Burma along its eastern border as internally displaced people after fleeing into the jungle to escape the random brutality of the Burmese military.

Karen refugees started arriving in Brisbane in 2006 after the Thai government allowed them to resettle into Western countries as part of the humanitarian resettlement program of the UNHCR. The number of Karen in Brisbane and Logan city is now over 700 persons. The Australian Karen Organization Inc, Queensland Branch (AKO-Qld) was formed in late 2006; a few months after some Karen families were resettled into Brisbane. The youth and women’s sub committees were formed a year later. The AKO (Qld Branch) is committed to work as the representative of the Karen community in the Community Relations Commission and other cultural and social organisations.

[source taken from https://akoqld.org.au]