Showing posts with label EV Myanmar Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EV Myanmar Politics. Show all posts

Civilians bear brunt of conflict in Paletwa, Chin State

The Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO) today condemned both the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar Army for human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law, in the context of recent outbreaks of conflict between the two sides in Paletwa, southern Chin State in a media release dated 15 June.

CHRO urged the authorities to cooperate with UN agencies and the international community to provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to more than 350 Khumi Chin internally-displaced persons (IDPs), who will run out of food supplies before the end of this month.

CHRO’s briefing describes how the community of Khumi Chin indigenous people were forced to flee when their village of Pyin So,where there is a Myanmar Army military outpost, came under direct attack by the Arakan Army at the end of March.

Around 6pm on 28 March, about 40 armed soldiers from non-ceasefire ethnic armed group the Arakan Army approached the village. On their way to the village, they detained 8Khumi Chin men, two of whom managed to escape and were able to warn the villagers of the impending attack. The eight Myanmar Army soldiers stationed there left their outpost and took up positions around the village. Fighting broke out late that night, and again early the next morning, and Myanmar Army Captain Kyaw Htet Aung was killed. After the Arakan Army effectively seized control of the village, they ordered the Pyin So villagers to dig a grave and bury the body of the Captain. Another ten men were forcibly taken by the Arakan Army to porter their loads for them to the border with Bangladesh.

The primary school in the village was destroyed in the fighting, as well as the schoolteacher’s hostel and two other homes. The roofs were heavily damaged and the properties riddled with bullet holes. Both the Myanmar Army and the Arakan Army have allegedly laid landmines around Pyin So village.

“This is yet another case where ordinary civilians, this time Khumi Chin indigenous people, bear the brunt of armed conflict in Myanmar and suffer human rights violations,” said Rachel Fleming, CHRO’s Advocacy Director. “The long-standing pattern of abuses hasn’t stopped; in fact we see it escalating in the Paletwa area.”
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UNA members to contest 2015 elections

The United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) member parties will contest the upcoming 2015 general election, according to UNA member parties.
UNA member parties will participate in the 2015 general election with the objective of amending the 2008 constitution, according to Nai Kyaw Win, Mon National Party (MNP) Central Executive Committee member.
“Because [the] UNA does not like the 2008 constitution, and does not trust it, the UNA has not contested in elections. But now, although we do not like it and do not trust it, once we are Hluttaw (parliament), we will amend it. We compete in this election with the objective of being able to amend the constitution,” said Nai Kyaw Win.
The UNA was founded by eight ethnic political parties which contested the 1990 elections; the group boycotted the 2008 constitution and refused to participate in the 2010 general elections.
At the association’s conference, the UNA and its alliance organizations urged [for] all political parties to participate in the 2015 general elections, in accordance with the democratic system of free, fair, and transparent elections.
According to Sai Nyunt Lwin, general secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), the UNA and other organizations are calling upon all political parties to contest the upcoming election because there is the possibility that the government may not hold the elections.
“It is necessary to hold the elections, according to the constitution; this cannot be avoided. But, it is possible that they [the government] will give other reasons. Generally, in some countries across the world, if the current government cannot win, it just draws back to the past. If they [the government] wins, they will step forward… there is the possibility that the government will just continue to run without holding elections,” said Sai Nyunt Lwin.
The UNA held its 2nd conference from February 17-19th, at the Royal Rose [Restaurant] Hall in Rangoon. More than 33 organizations attended the conference, including UNA member parties, ethnic armed resistance groups, and civil society organizations. The attended representatives discussed topics surrounding politics, ceasefire, Laukkai armed conflict, the national education law, and worker and farmer issues.
The UNA is comprised of political parties that were formed before the 1990 elections, including the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, the Kayah National Party, the Zomi Democracy League Party, the Mon National Party, the Shan State Kokand Democratic Party, the Rakhine National Party, the Kachin National Democracy Congress Party, and the Karen National Party.

ဇိုမီးတုိင္းရင္းသားအပါအဝင္ ႏုိင္ငံေရးပါတီ ၈ ပါတီ


Text of the Agreement signed at Panglong on the 12th February, 1947 by Shan, Kachin and Chin leaders, and by representatives of the Executive Council of the Governor of Burma

A conference having been held at Panglong, attended by certain Members of the Executive Council of the Governor of Burma, all Saohpas and representatives of the Shan States, the Kachin Hills and the Chin Hills, the members of the conference, believing that freedom will be more speedily achieved by the Shans, the Kachins and the Chins by their immediate co-operation with the Interim Burmese Government, have accordingly, and without dissentients, agreed as follows:

(I) A representative of the Hill peoples, selected by the Governor on the recommendation of representatives of the Supreme Council of the United Hill Peoples, shall be appointed a Counsellor to the Governor to deal with the Frontier Areas.
(II) The said Counsellor shall also be appointed a member of the Governor's Executive Council without portfolio, and the subject of Frontier Areas brought within the purview of the Executive Council by constitutional convention as in the case of Defence and External Affairs. The Counsellor for Frontier Areas shall be given executive authority by similar means.
(III) The said Counsellor shall be assisted by two Deputy Counsellors representing races of which he is not a member. While the two Deputy Counsellors should deal in the first instance with the affairs of the respective areas and the Counsellor with all the remaining parts of the Frontier Areas, they should by Constitutional Convention act on the principle of joint responsibility.
(IV) While the Counsellor in his capacity of Member of the Executive Council will be the only representative of the Frontier Areas on the Council, the Deputy Counsellor(s) shall be entitled to attend meetings of the Council when subjects pertaining to the Frontier Areas are discussed.
(V) Though the Governor's Executive Council will be augmented as agreed above, it will not operate in respect of the Frontier Areas in any manner which would deprive any portion of these Areas of the autonomy which it now enjoys in internal administration. Full autonomy in internal administration for the Frontier Areas is accepted in principle.
(VI) Though the question of demarcating and establishing a separate Kachin State within a Unified Burma is one which must be relegated for decision by the Constituent Assembly, it is agreed that such a State is desirable. As first step towards this end, the Counsellor for Frontier Areas and the Deputy Counsellors shall be consulted in the administration of such areas in the Myitkyina and the Bhamo District as are Part 2 Scheduled Areas under the Government of Burma Act of 1935.
(VII) Citizens of the Frontier Areas shall enjoy rights and privileges which are regarded as fundamental in democratic countries.
(VIII) The arrangements accepted in this Agreement are without prejudice to the financial autonomy now vested in the Federated Shan States.
(IX) The arrangements accepted in this Agreement are without prejudice to the financial assistance which the Kachin Hills and the Chin Hills are entitled to receive from the revenues of Burma and the Executive Council will examine with the Frontier Areas Counsellor and Deputy Counsellor(s) the feasibility of adopting for the Kachin Hills and the Chin Hills financial arrangements similar to those between Burma and the Federated Shan States.

For the Shan Committee:

Sawbwas: Tawnpeng, Yawnghwei, North Hsenwi, Laika, Mong Pawn, Hsamonghkam

and representative of Pawnglawng.
Shan people: Tin E, Kya Bu, Sao Yapa Hpa, Htun Myint, Hkun Saw, Hkun Htee
For the Kachin Committee:
Myitkyina: Sinwa Nawng, Zau Rip, Dinra Tang
Bhamo: Zau La, Zau Lawn, Labang Grong
For the Chin Committee:
U Hlur Hmung, U Thawng Za Khup, U Kio Mang
For the Burmese Government: 
Aung San

The Zomi Representatives to First Panglong Conference ( 1946)

Left to Right

# Pu Pum Za Mang Chief of Kam Hau ( Present day Tedim, Tonzang and India's Manipur's Lamka district) The British refered him as the Chin Prince.

# Pu Kio mang, Chief of Haka, Thantlang, Matupi township

# Interpreter Kawl Sum

# Chief of Lumbang ( present day Falam district)

Chief/Sawbwa are call in Zomi as " Ukpi "

Suu Kyi, Ethnic Alliance Agree to Push 3-Point Agenda

RANGOON — An umbrella group of ethnic political parties known as the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) met with Aung San Su Kyi on Sunday and agreed to work with the opposition leader to push a three-point agenda for Burma’s political future.
The two sides agreed that amending the 2008 Constitution, ensuring free and fair elections later this year and the convening of “genuine” political dialogue among Burma’s political stakeholders should be centerpieces of a reform program that began in 2011 but, critics including Suu Kyi say, has stalled of late.
The discussion was held on Sunday at the Naypyidaw residence of Suu Kyi, who serves as chairwoman of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
Gin Kan Lian, secretary of the Zomi Congress for Democracy Party (ZCD), attended the meeting and said the joint three-point position would be formally announced within weeks.
“We didn’t discuss in detail and we agreed to discuss these three matters in the future. Both of us will discuss with our respective groups and will issue a joint agreement.”
Suu Kyi and UNA representatives last met to discuss constitutional reform in September 2013, and this weekend’s meeting comes less than a week after President Thein Sein convened a 48-party dialogue that was criticized by some as ineffectual window-dressing.
Gin Kan Lian called the 48-party meeting “chatter dialogue,” with participants only afforded three to five minutes to state their positions and attendees failing to engage in substantive discussion or reach significant agreement.
He did not take a position on whether the UNA would back the six-party talks that Suu Kyi has endorsed, saying only that the alliance supported “genuine political dialogue.”
The UNA has separately called for a tripartite dialogue that would include the Burmese government, ethnic armed groups and political parties, and the NLD.
Thus far, however, Thein Sein has ignored those calls, as well as endorsements by Suu Kyi and Parliament for six-party talks.
The president’s convening of the 48-party talks earlier this month was preceded by a 14-party dialogue in November that was also criticized as a largely substanceless affair.
Sai Nyunt Lwin of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy told The Irrawaddy: “We will discuss these three agreements with our partner groups and will return to meet NLD soon.”
Dr. Min Soe Linn, from the Mon Democracy Party, told The Irrawaddy that in February the UNA would hold a meeting that would be more inclusive than a gathering it held in December, which saw only 22 groups attend out of an invitation list of 33 organizations with close ties to the UNA.
The UNA says the same 33 organizations will be invited to the February meeting, at which the proposed three-point agenda will be discussed.
“We wanted to find common ground among political parties in order to have future political dialogue. We wanted to get out from the current impasse. We will cooperate with the public on our movement. The government has to pay attention to our movement if the public supports us.”
The UNA is an umbrella group of eight ethnic political parties that was formed following the 1990 elections, when the ruling junta refused to cede power following a landslide NLD victory. Originally it was comprised of 12 different political parties. Irrawaddy
UNA members refused to participate in the 2010 national elections on the grounds that they opposed the military-drafted 2008 Constitution. Some UNA leaders have indicated, however, that they intend to participate in national elections slated for late this year.

Zomi Congress for Democracy (ZCD) Political Party Condemn Army Shelling of KIA Training School

Zomi Congress for Democracy (ZCD) and many other Political Parties, NGOs Condemn Army Shelling of KIA Training School.

RANGOON — A group of 54 civil society organizations and ethnic political parties on Thursday jointly condemned the Burma Army’s deadly shelling of a Kachin rebel training school two weeks ago, saying that it could threaten the country’s national ceasefire process.
“The military must take responsibility to prevent surprise military attacks during the nationwide ceasefire process,” a joint statement by the groups said, adding that the army should take the initiative to announce a unilateral nationwide ceasefire to further the peace process.
The government should launch an independent investigation into the shelling incident, according to the group, which includes All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) Taunggyi Branch, civil society organizations such as the Karen Women’s Union and the Farmers Network, and political parties such as the Democratic Party for A New Society and the United Nationalities Alliance.
The latter is alliance of eight ethnic parties, including the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, the Mon Democracy Party, Zomi National Congress and the Karen National Party.
The government and the army, the statement, said “should stop the war and urgently hold a political dialogue based on peace, democracy and national reconciliation and development, which involves the government, the army, democratic forces and the people.”
On Nov. 19, the Burma Army surprised cadets carrying out exercises when it fired several shells at a Kachin Independence Army (KIA) training school, killing 23 cadets, most of who came from KIA allies, such as the ABSDF, the Arakan Army and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army.
The attack has proven a setback for the talks between the government and the army and an alliance of 16 ethnic armed groups, which have been discussing a nationwide ceasefire accord since mid-2013.

“Only if the one who has power, the military, announces a ceasefire first and holds honest and frank discussions with the ethnics then we will have peace,” Zaw Lian, from the Farmers Network, said during a press conference in Rangoon.

Burma’s Election Commission Rejects Opposition Call for Longer Campaigns

The Union Election Commission (UEC) has rejected a request from the National League for Democracy (NLD) and ethnic parties to double the length of time parties will have to campaign for Burma’s crucial 2015 elections.
The official election regulations will continue to restrict campaigning to 30 days before the polls, according to an election official, although exceptions may be made in remote states where the logistics of campaigning are expected to be difficult.
The UEC met on Wednesday with representatives of the NLD—Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party—and five ethnic parties, which proposed amendments to the election rules laid out by the commission last month.
Thaung Hlaing, a director at the UEC, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that the parties’ proposal to allow 60 days of campaigning before voting day would not be adopted.
“Our chairman has discussed it,” said Thaung Hlaing, referring to the UEC’s chair, Tin Aye, a former military official who was elected as a lawmaker for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) before stepping down to head the supposedly impartial commission.
“The NLD and the ethnic parties asked to extend the date to 60 days but we have set it out to international standards.”
Thaung Hlaing added that candidates in states like Chin or Arakan, where travel is difficult, can ask for more time to campaign.
“We don’t want the political parties to have to spend more [money] due to a long campaign period. It will also prevent any unnecessary problems which might occur amongst rival parties,” he said in explanation of the decision.
The regulations will govern the 2015 parliamentary election, which is expected to be the first national vote the NLD has contested since Burma moved to a nominally democratic form of government. The rules will also decide how by-elections expected late this year are conducted. The UEC says it will announce the date of those elections three months before the polling day.
Tun Tun Hein, an NLD executive committee member, said the party would follow the commission’s decision.
Ten political parties, including the NLD, suggested amendments to the electoral guidelines published by the UEC in July. On Wednesday, only six parties joined the meeting—the Zomi Congress Democracy Party (ZCD Party), the Human Rights and Democracy Party, the Mon National Party, the Wa National Unity Party, the Kaman National Progressive Party and the NLD.
Tun Tun Hein said the UEC still had to clarify regulations on parties meeting with the media; the definitions of campaigning and rallying; and the time campaigning can begin.
“The commission said an unclear media section has been removed in their amended guideline,” said Htun Htun Hein.
He said that some proposals made by opposition parties had been agreed by the UEC, and that Chairman Tin Aye had promised elections would be free and fair.
“He [Tin Aye] said: ‘Don’t look just back to the 2010 experience, but wait for the 2014 by-election,’” said Tun Tun Hein.
May Sitt Paing contributed to this report.

Burma Govt, Ethnics Discuss Roster of Eligible Ceasefire Groups

MYITKYINA, Kachin State — Ethnic armed groups and the Burmese government’s peace delegation met on Sunday to discuss who would qualify to sign a long-sought nationwide ceasefire agreement, with Naypyidaw seeking to limit the number of signatories while ethnic groups have expressed wariness at such exclusion.
Leaders of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) held talks with representatives of the Union Peace Working Committee (UPWC) in Myitkyina, the Kachin State capital, in northern Burma after concluding an ethnic summit in the Kachin rebel-held border town of Laiza last week.
The NCCT comprises representatives of 16 ethnic armed groups in Burma, while the UPWC is led by President’s Office Minister Aung Min.
Saw Kwe Htoo Win, a member of the NCCT who also serves as general secretary of the Karen National Union (KNU), said the two sides were trying to set criteria that ethnic armed groups must meet in order to sign a nationwide ceasefire accord.
“For example, those who meet the standard are organizations that previously reached individual ceasefires with the government and ethnic armed groups who have engaged in armed hostilities with the government for their political beliefs,” Kwe Htoo Win said.
He said organizations based abroad that are active in Burma-related campaigns and advocacy work, and overseas groups critical of the government or “anti-government,” would be excluded from the list of qualified organizations.
Currently, the government recognizes 16 ethnic armed groups and the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) as meeting the criteria for signing a nationwide ceasefire accord, while the NCCT recognizes more than 20 ethnic armed groups as potential signatories.
The government has said two large ethnic rebel groups outside the NCCT, the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), would be eligible to sign, but some members of the NCCT would not.
“We will carefully check existing armed groups and negotiate with the government over the criteria and standards that they [the government] lay out. During the Panglong Conference [in 1947], some groups were excluded from signing the [Panglong] Agreement and that ultimately led to civil war. We will try to include all respective ethnic groups [as signatories],” said Salai Lian Hmong Sakhong, an NCCT member and leader of the Chin National Front rebel group.
Only Shan, Kachin and Chin ethnic minorities signed the Panglong Agreement with Burma’s central government led by the late Gen. Aung San on Feb. 12, 1947, while ethnic Karen insurgency leaders were present as observers.
Currently, armed groups recognized by the government as eligible signatories are the KNU, ABSDF, UWSA, National Democratic Alliance Army, Democratic Karen Benevolent Army, Restoration Council of Shan State, Chin National Front, Kachin Independence Army (KIA), Shan State Progressive Party, New Mon State Party, Karen Peace Council, Karenni National Progressive Party, Arakan Liberation Party and Arakan Army, as well as ethnic Pa-O, Ta’aung, and Naga rebel groups.
Smaller, politically oriented ethnic groups such as the Wa National Organization (WNO), Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) and Arakan National Council (ANC), as well as ethnic Kokang and Zomi organizations, are not recognized by the government as eligible ceasefire signatories.
“We can’t exclude any of them [unrecognized ethnic groups]. We don’t want civil war again. Even if they [the government] can’t accept the rest of the groups to sign the agreement individually, we proposed to the government that they accept these groups to sign the agreement under the UNFC [United Nationalities Federal Council],” said Khun Okkar, an NCCT member.
He said the NCCT delegation told the government team on Sunday that it could not accept some of the demands made by the chief of Burma’s armed forces, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing. Particularly unpalatable to rebel groups was a requirement that they disarm, demobilize and reintegrate (DDR) with the military, also known as the Tatmadaw, Khun Okkar said.
The six-point statement from the military, which includes demands on DDR and acceptance of the controversial 2008 Constitution, first came to light in April.
Asked about the DDR provision, Hla Maung Shwe of the government-affiliated Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) said the issue would have to wait.
“We can’t say anything about how to proceed with it [DDR] right now. It is too early to talk about it now. Both the government and Tatmadaw are now focusing efforts on the peace process. We have to think about it carefully later.”
The informal meeting between ethnic armed groups and the government in Myitkyina was also attended by government army officials including Lt-Gen Thet Naing Win, Burma’s minister of border affairs, members of the MPC and local authorities from the Kachin State government.
Despite the efforts of ethnic leaders and the government to develop a common position, military-related matters and political terminology have emerged as sticking points to a nationwide ceasefire accord, which the two sides hope to sign in September.
The Tatmadaw has objected to ethnic groups’ demands for autonomy within a federal union, while ethnic groups have signaled that they cannot agree to the military’s six-point demands.
Ashley South, a Burma watcher who also acts as a senior advisor to the Myanmar Peace Support Initiative (MPSI), a Norwegian government-backed project to mobilize international support for Burma’s peace process, said there has been progress in negotiations over the past year, but added that the window was shrinking to achieve an agreement before elections expected by the end of next year.
“I think the biggest challenge is for the Myanmar government and Army to acknowledge ethnic groups’ demands, and demonstrate commitment to resolving these. One of the other challenges is to recognize the legitimacy of the main ethnic armed groups as representatives of ethnic nationality communities, while at the same time deepening participation in the peace process to include civil society and political parties,” South said.
He added that some of these issues would need to be discussed in multi-stakeholder political negotiations that would include not only the government, Tatmadaw and ethnic armed groups, but also representatives of civil society and political parties.
“It will be a huge challenge to hold such discussions and reach preliminary agreement on at least some key issues, before the elections,” South said.
More than a dozen ethnic armed groups have signed bilateral ceasefires with the government since President Thein Sein took office in 2011, but the KIA and the Ta’ang National Liberation Army have yet to do so, and have frequently clashed with government troops in recent months.
Saw Yan Naing reported from Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Mon party given approval to register

The Mon National Democratic Front, which won five seats in the annulled 1990’s general elections, has been approved to register under a new party name – the Mon Democracy Party.
Nai Soe Myint, Central Committee member of the MDP, said the Union Election Commission informed the party yesterday that their registration had been approved.
According to Burma’s election laws, a party must submit a list of at least 1,000 members within 90 days to the UEC. THE MDP is now preparing to tour townships in Mon state to begin recruiting.
Nai Soe Myint said the party chose the new name in preparation for a proposed merger with the All Mon Region Democracy Party that picked up 16 parliamentary seats in the 2010 elections.
The MDP’s 11-member Central Executive Committee includes former MNDF vice-chairman Nai Ngwe Thein as the chairman and secretary Min Soe Lin and joint-secretary Dr Min Kyi Min.
The group has also formed its central committee that is comprised of 42 members.
Earlier in the month, the Zomi National Congress, which was not granted permission to register by the Union Election Commission over a naming row in May, has also been given the green light to join the country’s official political landscape under a new title – the Zomi Congress for Democracy.

The ZCD’s spokesperson Pu Kam Lam Khup said the party would appoint a central committee and executive members and file for registration within 30 days in accordance with the country’s election laws.