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

THE CHIN HILLS REGULATION (1896)

ခ်င္းဝိေသသတိုင္း စည္းမ်ဥ္း ဥပေဒ ၁၈၉၆
THE CHIN HILLS REGULATION
(1896)
Posted By Salai Aung Ling
27/11/2013

Introduction : The Chin Hills Regulation (Regulation IV) passed on August 13, 1896, had authorized the Superintendent or Deputy Commissioner (of the Lushai Hills) to order an undesirable outsider to leave the area and to tax the residents, permanent or temporary, clans and villages. On October 9, 1911, the Regulation was extended to the North Cachar Hills, the Garo Hills, the Khasi and Jaintya Hills (excluding the Shillong municipal and cantonement area where only the provision for taxation would apply), the Naga Hills and Mikir Hills

CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY
1.
(1) This Regulation may be called the Chin Hills Regulation, 1896.
(2)It shall come into force on such date as the Local Government may, by notification in the Burma Gazette appoint.
(3) The Section and Section 3 shall extend to the whole of the Chin Hills. The rest of this Regulation shall extend only to such tracts in the Chin Hills as the Local Government, with the previous sanction of the Governor General in Council, may by notification in the Burma Gazette, direct.
2.
(1) In this Regulation, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context the expression – “Superintendent” includes any officer whom the Local Government may invest with the powers of a Superintendent under this Regulation.
(2) “Assistant Superintendent” includes any officer whom the Local Government may invest with the powers of an Assistant Superintendent under this Regulation.
(3)“Chins” includes (a) Lushais, (b) Kukis, (c) Burman domiciled in the Chin Hills; and (d) any person who had adopted the customs and language of the Chins and are habitually resident in the Chin Hills;
(4) “Clan” means any sub-division or section of Chins, and includes a group of clans.
(5)“Villages” includes –
(a) a village – community.
(b) village lands,
(c) rivers passing through or by village land; and
(d) a group of villages; and
(6) “Headman” means the chief or head of any clan or village inhabited by Chins, and includes a council of chiefs or elders.
CHAPTER II
LAW APPLICABLE IN THE CHIN HILLS
3.
(1) This Regulation and the enactment in the schedule, to the extent and with the modifications there in set forth, shall be deemed to be the only enactment which apply to any tract in the Chin Hills to which Section 2 and Section 4 to 41 (both inclusive) may be extended by a notification under Section 1, sub-section (3).
(2) No other enactment shall be deemed to apply to Chins in the Chin Hills:
Provided that the Local Government, (subject to the control) of the Governor General in Council, may by notification in the Burma Gazette, declare any other enactment to be applicable wholly or to the extent or with the modification which may be set forth in the notification.
4.
(1) so far as regards persons other than Chins, the law in force in the Chin Hills shall subject to the provision of sub-section (4) and (5), be the law for the time being in force in Upper Burma exclusive of the town of Mandalay :
(2)For the purposes of any enactment in force in the Chin Hills in persuance of the provisions of sub-section (1), the Superintendent shall be deemed to be the Deputy Commissioner or the District Magistrate and Collector, and an Assistant Superintendent and Assistant Commissioner in charge of a sub-division or an Assistant Collector of the first class, as the case may be.
(3)The Local Government shall exercise the powers of the Financial Commissioner and of a commissioner under any such enactment as aforesaid.
(4) This section and section 9, 16, 22, 23, 33 and 34 shall apply to person within the Chin Hills.
(5)Section 12 shall apply to all parties to a suit or other proceeding of a civil nature in which any of the parties in a Chin.
CHAPTER III
HEADMEN AND THEIR POWERS
5.
(1) Subject to any general or special orders of the Local Government the Superintendent may appoint and remove any headman, and may define the local limits of his jurisdiction and declare what clan, or village, or both shall be subject to him.
(2) Where a headman is appointed for a group of villages or clans, the Superintendent may declare the extent to, and the manner in, which the headman of the villages or clans composing such group shall be subordinate to the headman of the group.
(3) In making a declaration under this section the Superintendent shall be guided as far as practicable by local custom.
6.
(1) Every headman shall within the local limits of his jurisdiction have general control, according to local custom, over the clan, or village, or both , declared subject to him.
2) He may levy from such clan or village any customary dues and may impose on them such punishments as are authorised by local custom:
Provided that no barbarous, excessive or unusual punishment shall be imposed.
(3) He shall be bound to keep the peace within the tract under his general control; to comply with all lawful orders, received from the Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent; and to furnish on the requisition of the Superintendent or an Assistant Superintendent, on receipt of payment at rates to be fixed by the Superintendent, supplies of food or labour required by any public servant.
7.
(1) A headman may try, according to local custom, any person subject to his general control who may be charged with any offence other than and offence punishable under section 121 to 130, section 302 to 308, section 341 to 348, section 363 to 440 (all inclusive) of the Indian Penal Code or with abetment of, or attempt to commit, any of these offences, and may punish with fine in money or goods any person found guilty by him of any such offence as aforesaid.
(2) Nothing in the Indian Penal Code or in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882, shall apply to any proceedings of a headman acting in exercise of the powers conferred by this section.
8.
A headman may try and decide according to local custom any dispute of a civil nature between persons subject to his general control, and may enforce his decision in accordance with such custom.
CHAPTER IV
JURISDICTION AND SPECIAL POWERS OF OFFICERS
9.
(1) The Chin Hills shall constitute a sessions division and a district for criminal, civil, revenue and general purposes, and the Superintendent shall be the Sessions Judge.
(2) As Sessions Judge the Superintendent may take cognizance of any offence as a court of original jurisdiction without the accused being committed to him by a magistrate for trial, and, when so taking cognizance shall follow the procedure prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882, for the trial of warrant cases by Magistrate.
10.
For the purpose of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882, the Local Government shall exercise the powers of a High Court.
11.
The Local Government may, by notification in the Burma Gazette, invest any Assistant Superintendent with all or any of the powers of a Superintendent under this Regulation, and define the local limits of his jurisdiction.
12.

(1) The Superintendent and every Assistant Superintendents exercising jurisdiction within the Chin Hills may try any suit or other proceeding of a civil nature between parties, any one of whom is a Chin, according to such procedure as the Local Government may, by notification in the Burma Gazette prescribed; and
(2) In the trial of any such suit or proceeding, may exercise all or any of the powers which he might exercise in a suit or proceeding in which none of the parties is a Chin, and
(3) In deciding any such suit or proceeding shall have regard to local custom and to justice, equity and good conscience.
13.
The Superintendent may withdraw any civil or criminal case pending before a headman or an Assistant Superintendent and may other try if himself or refer it for trial to an Assistant Superintendent.
14.
(1) Subject to the control of the Local Government, the Superintendent may take hostages from, or impose fines in money or goods on any clan or village or any part thereof, if after enquiry he find that any of the persons belonging to such clan or village have –
(a) colluded with, or harbored, or failed to take reasonable means to prevent the escape of, any person accused of, or under sentence of imprisonment for, an offence;
(b) suppressed or combine to suppressed evidence in any criminal case;
(c) failed or neglected to restore stolen property tracked to their village or to take on the track beyond the limits of their village;
(d) done any act hostile or unfriendly to the Government;
(e) disobeyed the lawful orders of the Superintendent or an Assistant Superintendent;
(f) taken patria or abetted an attack on traders or other travelers, or the levy of, or attempt to levy unauthorized dues or tolls; or
(g) engaged in fighting with any other clan or village.
(2) The Superintendent may order the whole or any part of fine imposed under this section to be given as compensation to any person to whom damage or injury has been caused, directly or indirectly, by the act in respect of which the fine is imposed.
(3) When in pursuance of an order passed under this section a person has received compensation for injury out of the proceeds of a fine, all right of such person to compensation based on the same injury shall be barred.
15.
When within the area occupied by any clan or village a person is dangerously or fatally wounded by unlawful attack, or the body of a person reasonably believed to have been unlawfully killed is found, the members of such clan or village shall be deemed to have committed an offence under the last foregoing section unless they can show that –
(a) had not any opportunity of preventing the offence or arresting the offence; or
(b) had used all reasonable means to bring the offender to justice.
16.
In the event of any clan or village acting in a manner hostile or unfriendly to the Government, the Superintendent may subject to the control of the Local Government, detain all or any members of such clan or village, deport them from the Chin Hills for life or for any shorted term, detain or confiscate their property, debar them from access into territory outside the Chin Hills and prohibit all or any other persons from entering the area occupied by such clan or village.
17.
Every Headman who abused any of the power conferred upon him by this Regulation, or neglect to obey any reasonable order of the Superintendent, shall be liable by order of the Superintendent to pay a fine not exceeding fifty rupees, or to be suspended or dismissed from office.
18.
When the Superintendent is satisfied that a dispute likely to cause a feud, breach of the peace or any offence affecting the human body or against property exists, he may enquire into the dispute and pass such order as he may thick fit, having regard to local custom and to justice, equity and good conscience.
19.
No new village shall be formed without the consent of the Superintendent, who may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, prohibit the formation thereof.
20.
Whenever it seems to the Superintendent to be expedient on military or other grounds, he may, by order in writing, direct the removal of any village to any other site, and with the sanction of the Local Government, may award to the inhabitants thereof such compensation for any loss which may have been occasioned to them by such removal as in his opinion, shall be just.
21.
(1) When any person is known or believed to have a feud, or has occasioned any cause of quarrel likely to lead to bloodshed, dacoity or robbery, the Superintendent may require such person to reside beyond the limits of the Chin Hills or within those limits at such place as the Superintendent may deem desirable.
(2) No order requiring a person to reside beyond the limits of the Chin Hills shall be made without the previous sanction of the Local Government.
22.
When the Superintendent is satisfied that the presence of any person (not being a public servant or a Chin) is injurious to the peace or god administration of the Chin Hills, he may, for reason to be recorded in writing, order such person to leave the Chin Hills within a given time.
23.
Whenever contravenes the provisions of section 19, or disobeys an order under section 20 or a requisition under section 21, or an order under section 22, may, on conviction by a Magistrate, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to one thousand rupees.
24.
When the Superintendent is of opinion that it is necessary for the purpose of the preventing culpable homicide (whether a mounting to murder or not), grievous hurt, dacoity or robbery to require any person to execute a bond, for his good behaviour, he may order such person to execute a bond with or without sureties, for his good behaviour during such period not exceeding three years as the Superintendent may fix.
25.
When a feud or other cause of quarrel likely to lead bloodshed or violence exists, or is, in the opinion of the Superintendent likely to arise between two clans, villages or families of Chins, the Superintendent may order all or any of the persons belonging to such clans, villages or families, or of either of such clans, villages or families, to execute a bound, with or without sureties, for their good behaviour during such period not exceeding three years as he may fix.
26.
When an Assistant Superintendent duly authorised under Section 11 passes an order section 24 or section 25, he shall at once submit a report of his proceedings to the Superintendent.
27.
(1) The commission or attempted commission, or the abetment by a person who has executed a bond for his good behaviour under section 24, of any offence affecting the human body or against property shall be deemed to be a breach of such bond.
(2) If, while a bond executed under section 25 is in force, the life of any person belonging to any clan, village or family concerned is unlawfully taken or attempted to be taken, or the property of any such person is unlawfully taken or attempted to be taken, by or with the abetment of any person or persons belonging to the other clan, village or family, and of their sureties (if any) to be forfeited.
28.
(1) If any person ordered to execute a bond for his good behaviour under section 24 or section 25 does not give the security required on or before the date on which the period for which the security to be given begins, he shall be committed to prison, or, if he is already in prison, be detained there until such period expires, or until within such period he gives the security to the officer who made the order requiring it, or to the officer in charge of the jail in which he is detained, in which case he shall be forthwith discharged from prison.
(2)
Imprisonment for failure to give security under section 24, or section 25 may be rigorous or simple as the officer requiring the security directs in each case.
29.
When any person has suffered imprisonment for three years for failure to give security for his good behaviour under section 24 or section 25 he shall be released and shall not again be required to give security unless a fresh order is passed in accordance with the provisions of this Regulation.
30.
(1) Any person who has, under the provisions of section 24 or section 25, given security, or been imprisoned for failure to give security, may be brought before the Superintendent if, on the expiry of the period for which security was required to be given, the Superintendent so directs.
(2)When the Superintendent thinks if necessary, for the purpose of preventing the commission of any offence affecting the human body or against property, to require security for a further period form any person so brought before him, he shall record a proceeding to that effect.
(3)The proceeding may be founded on the facts on which the original order to give security was founded, and it shall not be necessary to prove any fresh facts to justify an order to give security for a further period; under this section and such subsequent order, if passed, shall have the same effect be enforced in the same manner as an order to give security under section 24 or section 25.
(4) Not withstanding anything in this section, no person shall suffer for failure to give security under this chapter, imprisonment for more than six years or without the sanction of the Local Government, for more than three years.
CHAPTER V
SPECIAL RULES AS TO ARMS, AMMUNITION, OPIUM AND FOREST
31.
(1) The Superintendent may fix the number of firearms and the quantity and description of ammunition which may be possessed by any clan or village, and may issue licenses, either to such clan or village collectively, or to any of the persons belonging there to individually to possess the firearms and ammunitions specified in the licenses.
(2) All firearms for which licenses have been issued shall be stamped and entered in a register.
(3) The Superintendent may grant a license to any clan or village for the manufacture of gun powder.
(4) Any person who, not being licensed or not belonging to any clan or village licensed in that behalf, possessed any firearms or ammunition, or who manufactures gun powder, shall be punished, on conviction by a Magistrate, with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
(5) With the previous sanction of the Local Government, the Superintendent may direct that the foregoing sub-section shall not apply to any tract or part of the Chin Hills, and may with the like sanction cancel any direction so made.
(6) The Superintendent may, by order in writing, prohibit all or any of the persons belonging to any clan or village from carrying das, spears, and bows and arrows, or any of those weapons, in any tract, to be defined in the order, if he is of opinion that such prohibition is necessary to the peace of such tract. Such order shall specify the length of time during which it shall remain in force.
(7) Whoever disobeys a prohibition under sub-section (6) shall, on conviction by a Magistrate, be punished with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
32.
No prosecution under the Upper Burma Forest Regulation, 1887, or any rule there under, under be instituted against any Chin except with the sanction in writing of the Superintendent.
33.
Whoever imports, cultivates, manufactures, possesses, sells or exports opium, ganja, bhang, or charas in the Chin Hills shall be punished, on conviction by a Magistrate, with imprisonment which may extend to one y ear, or with fine, or with both.
34.
Whoever sells foreign fermented liquor or spirit to any Chin shall be punished on conviction by a Magistrate, with imprisonment which may extend to three months, or fine, or with both.

CHAPTER VI
RULES REGARDING TAXES AND REALIZATION OF FINES, ETC.

35.
Taxes shall be levied on all clans and villages at such rates and in such manner as the Local Government may prescribe.
36.
An order for the payment of any fine or tax or for the delivery of any property, or for the performance of any act may be enforced –
(1) by the seizure of any movable property or of any standing crops of the person against whom such order is made, or, when the order is made against a clan or village or family of Chins, of any person belonging there to, or
(2) with the sanction of the Superintendent or of an Assistant Superintendent, by the simple imprisonment, for a tern not exceeding one year, of the person against whom such order is made.

CHAPTER VII
CONTROL
37.
No appeal shall lie against any order passed by a headman or by an officer acting under this Regulation.
38.
(1) All Headmen and all officers in the Chin Hills shall be sub-ordinate to the Superintendent, who may revise any order passed by any such headman or officers, including an Assistant Superintendent specially empowered under section 11.
(2)
The Local Government may revise any order passed under this Regulation.
39.
Subject to the control of the Governor General in Council, the Local Government may make rules consistent with this Regulation –
(a) to regulate the procedure to be observed by the officers acting under this Regulation;
(b) to prescribe the use of such forms, the submission of such reports and statements and the maintenance of such records and registers as it may think necessary; and
(c) generally, to carry into effect the purpose of this Regulations.
40.
Except as provided in this Regulation, a decision passed act done or order made under this Regulation shall not be called in question in any Civil or Criminal Court.
41.
(1) The Local Government may, by notification in the Burma Gazette, delegate to the Commissioner of any Division in Upper Burma all or any of the power conferred upon the Local Government by this Regulation, except the powers conferred by this section and by sections 1, 3, 5.11, 12, 31, 35 and 39, and may, from time to time by a like notification, rescind or vary any such notification.
(2)When all or any of the powers of the Local Government have been delegated to the Commissioner of the division, the Local Government may revise any order passed by such Commissioner except an order passed under Section 10.

Zomi Human Righs Foundation sends SoS to Home Minister, India

ZHRF sends SoS to Home Minister

LAMKA, Mar 20: Zomi Human Rights Foundation (ZHRF) has sent a representation to the Union Home Minister seeking his intervention to station all the Sub-Divisional Officers at their respective sub-divisions and cater to the needs of the interior citizenry and bring administration to their respective doorsteps, our correspondent reports.
In the representation, the rights body alleged that civil administration in four sub-divisions of the district has been non-functional since the late 90s. ‘There is no civil administration at these sub-divisional headquarters. The offices of the Sub-Divisional Officer and Magistrate are not functional. To obtain a tribe certificate or a domicile, for instance, one has to come down to the district headquarters where the offices of all the Sub-Divisional Magistrate/Officer are functioning at a camp,’ it read.
To substantiate their claim the foundation attached photos of four camp offices - camp office of Tipaimukh at Apollo Veng, Central Lamka, the camp office of SDO/BDO Henglep located at Hmar Veng, the camp office of Thanlon at Zion Street, Central Lamka, the camp office of SDO Singngat at GCK Veng, New Lamka and the BDO camp office of Samulamlan at Sielmat - that are located within the town alongside a BDO office.
A copy of the representation was also reportedly dispatched to the State Chief Minister Okram Ibobi.
The representation asserted that the non-functionality of these offices have caused immense hardship to the villagers as they are required to travel to the district headquarters at Churachand-pur to receive any benefit from the Government schemes.
Adding to the woes are the pathetic road condition in the interior areas.
‘Besides, the citizens and villagers at the village within the sub-divisions cannot feel the touch of administration as administrations are not delivered at the doorsteps of the villagers’.
The message, while calling for immediate intervention from Home Minister also stated that bringing administration at the doorsteps of every citizen is a duty reposed on the Government by the Constitution.

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.

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.

Zomi Revolutionary Army clarifies

Lamka, Sep 26: Zomi Revolutionary Army has clarified that the claims and charges made by Minlun alias Franky Singson, in-charge I & PR of UTLA/KNO are baseless.
ZRA cadres never assaulted or harassed innocent civilian in its area of operations, said a statement issued by ZRA PRO/Defence.
After ZRA cadres made its presence at Leijangphai and its periphery, inter factional fighting and groupism had substantially reduced. However, UTLA/KNO has been hellbent on sabotaging the hard-earned tribal unity in the area for reasons best known to them, it claimed.
Maintaining that ZRA cadres are matured and disciplined enough not to harass innocent civilians, the statement further clarified that the ZRA and Assam Rifles never conducted any joint operation as claimed by Franky Singson at Suangsang village on September 14. The charges made are therefore baseless, unfounded and fictitious, it added. src: sangai express

Zomi Human Rights Foundation condemns

NEW DELHI, Sep 16 : Zomi Human Rights Foundation has expressed their shock over the alleged ceaseless attacks on North Eastern Indians, specially women in cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai. The Foundation also expressed its concern over serial molestations, rapes, murder and sexual harassment of innocent women and men from North East India.
North Eastern population chooses to reside in Delhi and other metropolitan cities for job and education mostly.
Abuses to NE citizens, women especially, like molestation, rape, harassment, sexual abuses in Delhi as well as in the adjacent cities has began to draw the concerns of the mainland.
While the UN has promulgated various measures to ensures for the maximum security of Women and Girl Children under the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Woman and Violence and to promote the tenets of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), yet, the sense of insecurity and fears amongst Women in metropolitan cities are largely due to the disrespects and undermining shown to the NE people and their culture. people from NE are now becoming soft targets at work places, highways, buses etc.
Right of the indigenous tribal people to education, cultural and economic rights have been violated by the commission of unabated crimes against indigenous tribal peoples. Every right thinking person and intellectuals are beseeched upon to reckon their obligations to thwart any act which have the potential to deface the trueness of the great Indian democracy.
They are also called upon to preserve and protect the freedoms as provided and laid down by the Constitution; announced, promulgated and adopted at various International Human Rights conventions.
Zomi Human Rights Foundation demanded that law enforcement agency must bring the culprits to book at the earliest. Any omission on the part of any member of such agency must also be dealt with sternly.
The Schedule Tribes Commission should investigate into the matter and put forward the enquiry report to the higher authority to address the issues.
The Woman Commission in the Metropolitan cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad etc must ensure for the safety of women from the North East India in their respective jurisdiction.
The Government of India should ensure and recognize strategic roles played by the North East Support Centre relentlessly and must also set up a rehabilitation program of all the victims of hate crimes and racial discrimination, Information and Publicity Department, ZHRF, GHQ demanded.