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Women’s group appoints new leaders, plans move to Burma

Members of WLB pose for a photograph at their annual congress in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on 20 March 2017. (PHOTO: DVB)

The Thailand-based Women’s League of Burma (WLB), an umbrella group of 13 Burmese women’s rights groups in exile, concluded its ninth congress in Chiang Mai on Monday with the appointment of new leaders and an announcement that it would relocate to Burma in the near future.

Lwe Poe Ngeal of the Palaung Women’s Organisation becomes WLB’s new general secretary, while Naw Hser Hser of the Karen Women’s Organisation was named as secretary-1. Karenni Women Organisation’s Maw Day Myar was appointed secretary-2.

Participants at the Chiang Mai congress reviewed the group’s work programmes and financial reports for the past two years, while adopting new policies for the year or years ahead. The NGO says its mission is to bring about peace, justice and federalism in Burma through the promotion of women’s rights.

“We have adopted a policy to promote women’s roles in the on-going peace process,” said newly appointed secretary-1 Naw Hser Hser. “We also formed a team to represent the WLB in any future political dialogue.”

She said the WLB – formed in in 1999 of 13 Burmese women’s groups based in exile in Thailand, India and Bangladesh – is also looking to relocate to Burma after nearly 18 years operating outside the country.

“We will soon be discussing procedures to relocate our office [to Burma] where we can continue our mission and operations,” said Naw Hser Hser.

In a statement at the end of the congress, the WLB said it wanted to cooperate with the Burmese government as well as other civic organisations to put an end to the civil war in the country, and bring about peace and federal democracy.