UNFC Threatens Renewed Fighting if Violence in Kachin State Continues

UNFC Threatens Renewed Fighting if Violence in Kachin State Continues

By Azan
Monday, May 14, 2012

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which acts as an umbrella group representing twelve separate ethnic armed groups has threatened the Burmese government with civil war if the government does not stop fighting in Kachin State, according to a recently released statement.

 “If the Bamah Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) does not stop its transgression and military offensive in Kachin State by June 10, UNFC members, who have agreed a ceasefire with the U Thein Sein government, have decided to review the peace process and future programs, including the preliminary ceasefire agreement reached” said the statement released by the UNFC on May 10.

Leaders of ethnic armed groups from members of UNFC. (Photo: UNFC)

With the actions and attitude of the Bamah Tatmadaw and government, it is impossible for us to correct the dreadful situation in the country, the statement claimed.

The twelve groups agreed to t he plan of action at a meeting held near the Thai-Burmese border on May 8 to 9, in which they discussed the peace process situation with the Burmese government and  the situation in Kachin State.

The members of the UNFC are Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), Karen National Union (KNU), Karenni National Progressive Party ( KNPP), Chin National Front (CNF), New Mon State Party (NMSP), Shan State Progress Party  (SSPP), Pa-ao National Liberation Organization (PNLO), Palaung State Liberation Front ( PSLF), Arakan National Council (ANC), Lahu Democratic Union, Wa National Organization and Kachin National Organization.

Many members of UNFC agreed to a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese government at the beginning of this year. The KNU, which had been fighting with the Burmese government for about six  decades also took the ceasefire in January, which reflected the efforts of the government in seeking peace deals in the country.

There are many different ethnic  groups in Burma. The ethic leaders said that it is essential to have ethic unity in order to have development and peace in the country. In order to have this, the government  needed to solve the political problems through dialogue and negotiation.

The leaders said that it was unacceptable to solve problem as per Burma’s President Thein Sein suggestion to form a political party and join in the election process to enter parliament as they did not agree with the 2008 constitution.

The ethic leaders demanded that the Burmese government amend the 2008 constitution, which allocates to the military 25 percent of the seats in parliaments in the country.

“The situation of the ceasefire is not good because we do not agree to join parliament unless they amend the constitution,” said the secretary of the UNFC, Nai Hong Sar from  the NMSP.

He said that the current policy of the government was no different from the policy to force the ethnic armed groups to serve as Border Guard Forces (BGF). The Burmese government originally wanted to force all the ethnic armed groups to serve as BGF, but many of the groups refused to do it, and broke their former ceasefire agreements with the government in 2010.

It is alleged that the ceasefire agreements will collapse if the government continues demanding that the ethnic groups form political parties and disarm in order to enter elections and parliament. If the ceasefires collapse, ethnic leaders have agreed that the UNFC will commence fighting in different areas under ethnic armed group control.

The Burmese government only ever mentions development and investment in the ethnic states of the country instead of talking about solving  the political conflict with the ethnic peoples. There are different views between the ethic and Burmese leaders. Some see that giving an incentive of development to the ethic leaders, deprives ethnic people the motivation to join armed forces and opposed the government. But, the ethic leaders hold the view that unless they get full ethnic rights, they will not surrender their arms to the Burmese government.

Nai Htaw Mon, the chairman of the NMSP, said that "we got arms from our people. We will not give these arms to the government unless our people get freedom."
Even though the Burmese government said that the situation is irreversible in Burma since there is political reform last year , the ethic leaders said that the situation can reverse any time while the military  leaders hold higher positions in the country's government.

The statement from UNFC said that the objective of the Burmese government in launching the military offensive in northern Shan State and Kachin State is to protect foreign investment’s mega business projects and to kill fellow citizens. The group asked the international community to wait and see regarding the situation in Kachin State and not to suspend or lift sanctions if the government does not stop fighting in Kachin.

The Burmese government launched an intensive military operation in Kachin last year and 70,000 civilians from Kachin State have fled to the border of China and become refugees due to fighting between the government troops and Kachin Independence Army, the armed wing of KIO.

Feedback From
Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 5:24 PM
Name of sender: Lindita
Email of sender: obsdeviolencia@unama.br
COMMENTS: David, it is simply wrong to suesggt that EU sanctions worked in Burma. The EU and US imposed sanctions on Burma for the best part of two decades. The only discernable outcomes were to impoverish to Burmese people, and to drive the country into the arms of China. Yes, they irritated the military regime, but, without the support of the front-line states, they were never more than an irritation. The constitutional change in Burma which is very welcome was always part of the regime's game-plan, and they delivered it precisely according to their timetable. I hope that events will now take on their own momentum and we will see further reform. The EU decision to lift sanctions is a good move which may encourage reform. But that does not mean the sanctions themselves were good policy. A few years ago, a House of Lord committee asked the Government to carry out an assessment of the effects of sanctions on Burma. The Goverment refused. Surely now is the time to conduct such a review. Let's see what an examination of the evidence shows, before you claim that sanctions worked.


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