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Burma's exiled ethnic nationalities seminar held in North America


Newsletter for social justice and freedom in Burma
May 10 - 25, 2006

Readers’ Front

Break or fine for joining GONGOs

Militia training course to start in the border town

Exiled Mons commemorate Honsawatoi Destruction Day

Joint-Statement on the 249th Fallen Day of Hongsawatoi Mon Kingdom

More villagers fled home after ambush by guerrilla

Bird flu scare drags chicken prices down

Suu Kyi's release won't harm Myanmar peace: police

Yawdserk calls for unity among Shans

One Year Later: CFOB Urges Canada to Implement Burma Motion

Crimes against citizens in Burma

Readers’ Front

Dear readers,

We invite comments and suggestions on improvements to Kaowao newsletter. With your help, we hope that Kaowao News will continue to grow to serve better the needs of those seeking social justice in Burma. And we hope that it will become an important forum for discussion and debate and help readers to keep abreast of issues and news.  We reserve the right to edit and reject articles without prior notification. You can use a pseudonym but we encourage you to include your full name and address.



Kaowao News

On the Joint-Statement on the 249th Fallen Day of Mon Kingdom

Thank you for letting us know about a joint-statement, which gives us a great opportunity for us to learn the true history of our Mon people and feel inspired by the unity of Mon solidarity groups around the globe. Believe that our movement is not just about one day of one year; it is on going hard works on daily basis. Let's keep up our perseverance!!

In Solidarity,

Min Thura Wynn (Canada)

Please include to stop military offensive and demilitarization in ethnic indigenous areas.  We got to raise our voices by saying we don't want Burmese military in our land since they never bring anything good to local people , but only misfortune and starvation.


On the “20 migrants die in Andaman Sea at border crossing”

It is a tragic what happened to migrant workers coming to Thailand.  Extortion, arrest, deportation and death; all risks are what they get despite to fulfill their dreams come true.  Who should be to blame for, the migrant workers, the Thai governments or Burmese regime?

Maung Myanmar

Break or fine for joining GONGOs

(Kaowao: May 25, 2006)

Ye -- The State Peace and Development Council in southern Mon State recruits the local population to join government-organized NGOs or GONGOs by giving priorities.

Asar, a villager from the Khawza sub-town of south Ye, said the Burmese Army convinced villagers to apply as members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) and the Women's Affairs Organization (WAF).

Those who already enlisted as USDA members were given a break from repairing the motor road along Ye-Khawzar while non-members were forced to provide lumber for the wooden bridges and stones to fill the soil of the motor road before the rainy season.  Every household of non-USDA members is required to provide a quota of one Kyinn measurement (1 x 6 x 4 cubic feet) for the military junta's infrastructure project.

The USDA Head of Mon State Brig-Gen Ohn Myint and CEC Brig-Gen Thura Myint Maung met ECs and secretaries of the USDA from state and township levels last year in Moulmein and gave instruction on how to increase members.

Following the meeting, the BA in Mon State convinced local villages to join the USDA and were given special status in the community. A community leader from Ye reported, the villagers who failed to join the USDA were ordered to work in the military run brick factories.

Militia training course to start in the border town

(Kaowao: May 23, 2006)

Sangkhalaburi -- Authorities at the Three Pagodas Pass plan to recruit local militia by giving basic training, according to a source.

A town resident close to the SPDC reported that the SPDC is gathering about 100 trainees from members of the Women's Affairs Organization and fire fighters.

The training will be sponsored by the police force; however, the authorities are finding it difficult filling the quota.

Among the proposed 100 trainees, about 25 will be fully armed and trained to work with the local police and the army.

The Burmese Army has formed local militia groups and counter insurgent forces in Southern Mon State over the past years.

The local militia groups are under the control of the military command to act as a safeguard for the army and the SPDC.  Most of militiamen are retired soldiers from the Burmese Army or local poor men who have no job to feed their families.  The Militiamen are given power to execute villagers who oppose them and to collect force labourers.  The villagers are imposed to pay the salary for the militia but they can arrest any suspect in the community. The militiamen also guide the Burma Army during its military operation.

The plan to recruit the militias at the border town was upset by its cease fire groups, the NMSP and the DKBA, reported a source from the border town.

Exiled Mons commemorate Honsawatoi Destruction Day

(Kun Yekha, Kaowao: May 20, 2006)

Mons in exile commemorated the 249th anniversary of the fall of Hongsawatoi Kingdom (Pegu) by issuing statements, staging demonstrations and holding memorial services.

In Sri Lanka, Mon Buddhist monks quietly held the memorial ceremony by offering food in the temple while the Mon Canadian Society of Alberta organized a similar event by reading poetry and telling the history to the younger generation.  Nai Khaing Waeng and Nai Cham Toik spoke to the gathering about the current situation and the history of the Mon kingdom on how it lost its properties and valuable literature, with Mons being forced to disperse and flee into Thailand in the 18th century.

In the USA, about 60 Mons from Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina marched to the Burmese embassy in Washington D.C on May 19, 2006 and staged a demonstration against the Burmese regime for their inhumane acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing policies that the SPDC committed. Sadly, these same crimes were committed by their last blood-thirsty king, U Aung Zeya, 249 years ago.

The group urged the SPDC to immediately stop the practice of genocide and all forms of human rights violations against the Mon and all other ethnic nationalities and to withdraw its military forces from areas inhabited by these minority groups.  "This is unforgettable day, all Mon should be united to fight for freedom" said Nai Michael Mon who organized the group.

Mons in Fort Wayne made donations and shared merit for those who passed away in Honsawatoi (Pegu).  The Mons in Akron, Ohio also paraded in traditional dress in downtown for the memorial of the fallen day of the Mon kingdom. "We, about thirty Mon people, paraded downtown for two hours while reading and distributing statements to passers by. When they saw our white and red dress in uniform, they waved their hands in return," said Nai Parla who organized the event.

"The last Mon kingdom (Honsawatoi) was invaded by the Burmese king in 1757. In the course of this occupation, tens of thousands of innocent Mon civilians including women, children and over 3000 learned Mon priests were brutally massacred" as mentioned in the joint-statement issued by exiled Mon organization groups.

The Thailand based Mon Unity League (MUL), the Mon Youth Progressive Organization (MYPO) and the Mon National League for Consolidation and Aiding (MNLCA) also issued statements separately.

Burma's ethnic issues gained attention by the US government after a Shan woman, Cham Tong, met with President Gorge W. Bush late last year. The Indiana state Congressman Mark Sounder also said, " the US government won't forget the ethnic issue in Burma." The current SPDC attack on the Karen people is of grave concern for the international community. The USA will allow over 9000 Karen refugees to immigrate to the United States this year as a consequence of the SPDC's attack on the Karen.

Back home in Burma, while the teaching of the Mon language is banned and all cultural activity is restricted, the New Mon State Party and Mon communities modestly commemorated the fall of the Mon kingdom.

Joint-Statement on the 249th Anniversary of the Fallen Day of Hongsawatoi Mon Kingdom

(Kaowao: 19 May 2006)

The Mon people are one of the oldest ethnic groups in Burma.  They lived in Hongsawatoi (Pegu) Mon kingdom until it was invaded and occupied by the Burmese king, Aung Zay Ya, in 1757. In the course of this occupation, tens of thousands of innocent Mon civilians including women, children and over 3000 learned Mon priests were brutally massacred.  Hundreds of thousands of Mon fled to Thailand to escape genocide and ethnic cleansing.  Most historical records, including Mon manuscripts and stone inscriptions, were destroyed.

Friday, 19 May 2006 is the 249th anniversary of the fall of the Hongsawatoi Mon kingdom and the holocaust memorial day of the Mon people.  On this day we celebrate our history, mourn the victims of genocide, and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives defending the Mon kingdom and the others who are still fighting for the freedom of the Mon people.

Since the fall of Hongsawatoi Mon Kingdom, the once immensely prosperous and highly civilized Mon have been reduced to a people without a country.  In Burma Mon people are deprived of their fundamental human rights and may not even teach and practice the Mon language.

The present military regime, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), still pursues genocidal and ethnic cleansing policies against the Mon and other non-Burman ethnic nationalities in Burma.  Such policies have led to many human rights violations, including rape, murder, imprisonment and forced portering.  Since 1995, more than 700,000 refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, over 2,700 villages were destroyed, and thousands of acres of private land in the Mon State have been confiscated by the military regime.  Currently the SPDC is launching military operations against ethnic Karens, with over 12,000 innocent Karen people forced to flee from their homeland.

The most important political goal of our Mon people is to regain the fundamental right of self-determination and recognition as a nationality within Burma. We are committed to work in concert with other ethnic nationalities and democratic forces in Burma for the emergence and establishment of a genuine democratic federal union, where all nationalities, including Burman, will equally enjoy freedom and prosperity.

On this important day, we urge:

1. The Mon people everywhere to join together for the struggle for Mon freedom;

2. The SPDC to immediately stop the practice of genocide, ethnic cleansing, and all forms of human rights violations against the Mon and all other ethnic nationalities, and immediately withdraw its military forces from the homeland of the Mon and other ethnic nationalities;

3. The SPDC to immediately initiate a genuine tripartite dialogue comprised of leaders of ethnic nationalities, elected representatives, and military regime as recommended by the United Nations;

4. The United Nations Security Council to immediately take steps to stop the present genocide and ethnic cleansing policies of the Burmese military regime.

This statement is joined by:

The Australia Mon Association (AMA)

Euro-Mon Community

Mon Canadian Society of Alberta

Mon Women's Association of America

Monland Restoration Council (MRC), USA

Overseas Mon National Students Organization (OMNSO), Thailand

More villagers fled home after ambush by guerrilla

(Kaowao: May 14, 2006)

Sangkhalaburi – Villagers fled their homes after a fighting between the Burma Army and Mon guerrilla group broke out in Yebyu Township of southern Burma.

Nai Mya arriving from Khawza of southern Ye in Mon State reported a clash between a guerrilla Mon group led by Chan Dein and the Burma Army in early May but both sides suffered no injury.  The fighting lasted for 15 minutes near Tamoh Kraing fishing village when 10 guerrillas ambushed the combined column of 30 troops from Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion No. 31 and 299.

As a result of the encounter, the Burma Army forced villagers to build fences surrounding the village to protect any entry of the Mon armed groups.  The Burma Army also accused local villagers as rebel supporters and they were not allowed to go out in their farms.

Mon guerrilla Chan Dein is a former member of Hongsawator Restoration Party (HRP) led by Colonel Pan Nyunt who split away from the cease-fire New Mon State Party in 2001.

Chan Dein later operates in his own group after involving crimes against local population.  He was in the junta’s wanted rebel list last year in early 2005.  The Burma Army sold posters to local villagers in Ye luring the civilian it will reward 10 million Kyats for information leading to the capture of Mon guerrilla leader Nai Bin.  Anyone who can provide information leading to the guerrilla’s whereabouts will be awarded and Chan Dein has one million put on their heads.

The Burma Army continues military offensive to wipe out the Mon armed group and the insurgents in turn use ambush tactics and guerrilla warfare.

Bird flu scare drags chicken prices down

(Kaowao: May 10, 2006)

Chicken price in Mon State drops as a result of bird flu scare according to sources from Moulmein.

A trader who just arrived to Thai-Burma border town said many chickens from the outskirt area of Moulmein, Myaing Tharyar and Taung Waing died during April and early May.  About 20 livestock farms had been shut down and; as a result, the local people refrained themselves from eating chicken products fearing the bird flu pandemic.

“There is no official report about the threat of bird flu but rumour has that it has already spread in upper Burma and the people in Mon State also avoid buying chicken these days,” said Nai Mya from Moulmein.

Even though, the price of chicken is normally expensive than the pork, the chicken price for one Viss is about 1800 Kyat compared to 3000 Kyat for pork in the local meat market.

In March, the SPDC junta reported the first outbreak of bird flu in poultry in central Burma, Mandalay.  Thousands of chicken in the capital city of Mon State also died in the same month.


Suu Kyi's release won't harm Myanmar peace: police

(Reuters: May 24, 2006)

KUALA LUMPUR -- Myanmar's police chief said on Tuesday the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from detention, if ever, is unlikely to hurt peace in the military-run Southeast Asian nation because of falling support for the opposition.

Police Major-General Khin Yi, attending a Southeast Asian police chiefs' meeting in Kuala Lumpur, however gave no hint when the Myanmar opposition leader would be released from house arrest. "I think there will not be rallies or riots in Myanmar if Suu Kyi is released," Yi told reporters. "Our police force can handle everything. There is peace and tranquility in Myanmar."

"I don't think there are a lot of supporters for her. Some members of the NLD have resigned," Yi said, referring to Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party.

The police chief's comments came days after senior UN official Ibrahim Gambari met Suu Kyi, her first contact with an outsider in three years.

Gambari said after the landmark meeting on Saturday that she was in good health, but added the meeting did not mean her release was imminent. Speaking to reporters, Yi also referred to the Suu Kyi-Gambari meeting, saying that "things will be improved." He did not elaborate. "I'm a police officer, not a politician."

Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi, 60, has been in prison or under house arrest for the last three years, her telephone disconnected and all visitors barred apart from her housemaid and doctor.  Her meeting at a Yangon guest house followed an audience between Gambari and Than Shwe, the ruling military junta's supremo, where the Nigerian envoy said he delivered a message from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Suu Kyi's brief trip to Gambari's government guest house sparked immediate hopes inside her NLD party she might be released soon. She has been under house arrest for more than 10 of the last 16 years.

There is little to suggest, however, that the junta is about to make up with Suu Kyi or her party, which won a 1990 election by a landslide only to be denied power by the army.

Last month, the junta accused the NLD of having ties to "terrorists and destructive groups" and said there were grounds to have it banned. Since then, the party has been hit by a spate of resignations, which the NLD blames on pressure from the military rulers.

Yawdserk calls for unity among Shans

(S.H.A.N: May 20, 2006)

In a conciliatory tone apparently directing at his archrival group, the "Interim Shan Government" (ISG), Col Yawdserk, leader of the Shan State Army-South, has urged all Shans to wipe the slate clean and start all over again.

"To all who have sacrificed their lives or been incapacitated during the course of the struggle for freedom, I honor everyone of you, whether or not you are from the same organization," begins the 49-year old chairman of the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the SSA South's political wing, in an address marking the 48th anniversary of the Shan Resistance Day that falls tomorrow.

"All of us want freedom," he continues. "And each one knows there is only one way to achieve freedom and that is through unity."

Finding fault with and slandering each other should be avoided, he maintains. "If we keep on fighting one another, neither will win and only our people will lose," he says. "But unity will be there for us if we love each other".

Unity however is not enough, he cautions. "We must adopt a common policy and live under the same rules and regulations. We also need to have a division of labor with everyone working to the best of one's ability."

The rift between the two sides resulted from the latter's formation of an interim government on 25 March 2005 behind a closed door meeting followed by its declaration of independence on 17 April 2005. The announcement made a week later by Lt-Col Moengzuen, Commander of the SSA's 758th Brigade, of his switch to the ISG only served to deepen the rift.

The SSA, on the other hand, achieved in pulling off its own political coup by forming a Shan Representative Committee (SRC) with 13 other Shan groups on 18 June 2005. The SRC's next move reportedly is to form a Shan State representative body with non-Shan groups.

Shan resistance was launched in 1958 by 31 Shan youths with a handful of guns on the border area opposite Chiangmai. Renaming of 21 May as the Shan Armed Forces Day or Shan State Army Day is not accepted by most non-military activists, who argue the new name excludes ordinary people who are also fighting for freedom. The proper Shan State Army Day, they insist, should be 24 April (1964), when the SSA was formed under the leadership of the late Mahadevi of Yawnghwe.


One Year Later: CFOB Urges Canada to Implement Burma Motion

(CFOB: Ottawa, May 18, 06) – Today marks the one year anniversary of the passage of the Burma Motion in Canadian Parliament. On this occasion, Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB) is calling on the Government of Canada to implement the Burma Motion in a timely manner and with resolve, given the rapidly deteriorating situation in Burma, including the recent attacks on civilians in Karen State and the subsequent displacement of 15,000 people to the Thai-Burma border.

The Burma Motion calls for the possibility of comprehensive economic sanctions, UN Security Council intervention, and the provision of ‘tangible support’ for the Burmese democratic movement. One year after its passage however, the Burma Motion has yet to be implemented.

“We call on the government to respect the will of Parliament, as the majority of Canadian Parliamentarians have already expressed their desire for stronger action on Burma,” said Tin Maung Htoo, coordinator of CFOB.

The resolution was sponsored by Bloc Quebecois MP Francine Lalonde and was adopted by Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affair’s Subcommittee on Human Rights in December of 2004. It was eventually passed with a majority vote in the House of Commons on May 18, 2005.

“The Conservative Party caucus played a key role in the passage of this motion while in opposition, and it is now high time for the motion to be put into action,” urged Tin Maung Htoo.

Meanwhile the Conservative Government, which came into power after winning the Jaunary 2006 federal election, has informed CFOB that its “Burma policy is under review.” Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay confirmed this stance in a recent letter to CFOB, and the position has also been reiterated by senior foreign affairs officials on various occasions.

CFOB would like iterate clear that the implementation of the resolution is long overdue and immediate action is required; the dire situation in Burma right now calls for a firm policy on Burma from the Conservative Party. CFOB also calls on the Government of Canada to consider the policy recommendations submitted to the Conservatives, and to respond in kind.


Crimes against citizens in Burma

By Banya Hongsar, Canberra, May 2006

Burma’s military government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) has been committing crimes against Burmese citizens for decades while the democratic world leaders in the region including Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, as well as those in the west the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia have little courage to pressure the Burmese military on respecting civil and political rights in the country. Senior military officials have targeted politicians, students, journalists, democratic activists, including the innocent, children and rural farming communities who sympathise with pro-democratic forces and anti-government armed forces.

The SPDC is in a position now to further oppress and punish anti-government forces in non-Burman States such as Karen, Kayah, Kachin, Mon and Shan where non-Burman democratic forces station their camps. The senior SPDC officials have exploited the natural resources; gas, mineral, fishery and timber, offering them to a cheaper market to regional businessmen. Local villagers especially women and children have fled to Thailand, Bangladesh and India for safety and security.  Millions of people have fled their homes for fear of persecution and detention for supporting democratic forces and the ethnic political forces in the country.

The SPDC’s key policy on Burmainsation or nationalisation in the entire country is at the top of the military’s agenda soon after the military moved the capital from Rangoon to Pyinmana.

The military government has three goals: to terminate and destroy all political forces in the country. The first and foremost is extending its militarisation program into the non-Burman States, the second is pursing border and regional development at the cost of the lives of the local population; and the third is taking on an ever more aggressive role in confronting the democratic political parties led by the National League for Democracy.

Expanding militarisation in the border areas and into the heart of non-Burman State has been increased in the last ten years, soon after the Mon National Liberation Army and its political wing, the New Mon State Party reached a cease-fire agreement in 1995 with the military regime.

Government regiments have been stationed and its camps built in Ye, Thanphyuzayat, and Mudon Townships in almost every corner of Mon State. One of the worst cases was an unreasonable attack on local villagers in Mudon Township who were accused as co-conspirators in the gas pipeline explosion in March this year. Seven men and one woman were arrested in Mudon Township without trail and held for 30 days.

Local members of New Mon State Party were put under arrest. This act demonstrated fully that the peace-partners have no voice in protecting the welfare of the local villagers when it comes under illegal and unlawful arrest by the military government. The SPDC’s soldiers moved the whole village to non-productive land in the middle of Burma away from the gas pipeline.

According to local news reports from the Independent Mon News Agency, unknown groups attacked the gas pipeline explosion, while the government security forces, looking for a scapegoat, accused the Mon National Liberation Army. None of the local non-government troop such as Karen National Liberation Army, Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and other armed groups claimed responsibility for the explosion while pro-democratic activists were detailed in yet another un-known plot against the democratic forces.

After the increase of government troops in Mon and Karen States in recent years, the role of civil society has diminished. Children are forced to work in government sponsored construction sites including working on road repairs and putting up school fencing in all the villages. Local Buddhist monks are forced to return their vehicles after they were accused of purchasing them without government consent. Students from Moulmein and elsewhere in Mon State are forced off of their campus to rent privately in hostels exposing them to drugs and unsafe-sex practices in the city.

On the question of border and regional development, the military regime uses its power and strict law against the local business people including the cease-fire groups to make deals on importing, transporting and exporting goods from Burma to neighbouring countries. A few bridges, road and power generations have been built in Mon and Karen State after their appeasement propaganda campaign to the local anti-government groups to abide by their “modernisation of Burma”.

Local vehicle owners and landowners are forced to pay heavy taxes (illegal taxation) to local government troops. All road users are made to pay cash to security checkpoints to pay for government projects in contradiction to the cease-fire deals between the government and non-government troops. Regional and border development programs have no time frame and there is no planning with the wider community. No one knows where to and how much of the military government’s budget is allocated to the regional commanders coffers for its operation.

Local villagers regardless of their income are forced to pay for the welfare of the local government troops.  Roughly 60% of Mon population is relied on to provide income to soldiers, many have to therefore for illegal employment in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. There is no secure income in the town except for paddy growing and rubber plantation. Public servants have been engaged in corruption for the welfare of their children and have no other options available to them.

The construction of the longest bridge in Burma is an example of how the military government exploits the local people to support its government projects and budget, indeed, the cash flow from gas exports to Thailand from Yadana Gas operation since 1994 goes toward military expenditures, not any development projects which it is loath to support. If the regional and border development programs were a success in Mon State, the number of illegal migrants workers who cross the Thai-Burma border daily would have decreased in the last three-five years significantly to enjoy the fruits of development. Alas, the majority of young people who enter Thailand do so for safety and job security reasons where they have a taste of freedom for the first time in their lives.

After ten years the so-called peace partnership with the military government, the Mon political party (NMSP) has lost its legitimate voice to protect their people’s human rights. Why should they when the military government can confiscate land at a whim as they have done so in taking over 10,000 acres of fertile land? Prominent political leaders are detained frequently and local social and cultural groups are under close scrutiny by spy networks.

The urban-based Mon political party, the Mon National Democratic Front (MNDF) is now under growing pressure by the military officials to abandon its legal position from the 1990 General Election that was banned by authorities in 1992. The National League for Democracy is the third political force in Mon State with mixed support from local Mon and Burmese in central Moulmein district who now face similar circumstances.  The NLD is also banned to reopen its office in major towns without permission from the local hierarchy of the commanders in chief.

At the cost of citizens’ human rights, the military officials have enforced various laws in the country banning the role and efficiency of local civil society groups in non-Burman States to help their people.  The Mon people in Rangoon, Pegu and Molumein are banned to celebrate their annual National Day in public while they are forced to celebrate a government cultural and social event in a small hall within the confines of a spy network. Mon musicians are banned to produce their own DVD’s and VCD’s in their own language unless the whole texts are translated into Burmese language including cover designs.

There has never been any evidence that the military officials will ever introduce democratic reforms. The role of civil society is their enemy; the local population have no voice to find a common consensus in implementing community development projects in health and education. Government schools are built by local cash collection in which ethnic villagers have to give up their own schools and support the Burman government run schools. Local communities have to yield to local commanders and senior military officials through force on opening day of the school, while retired and backward thinking military personnel accept all the credit in building them. No community radio or an independent media is allowed to operate in the country despite the SPDC military government’s claims of following a road map to democracy.

These are challenges for regional and western democratic leaders and UN agencies for promoting a democratic government in Burma. Mon State was created in 1974 under a new socialist led government but no executive power was allowed to form by local Mon political parties. Over 3-4 million Mon people are seeking a common ground to find free space in Burma under a strong leadership to bring them into the 21st century. But all solutions are stomped on by the dictatorship.

The minorities such as Karen and Mon have lived in close proximity for a few centuries, with the Mon living in this part of world for over a thousand years—the Karen people in this part of Southeast Asia—but both parties lack mutual trust in building a democratic institution in southern Burma where they can share land and resources.

The local political forces including social and cultural groups have the ability to change and introduce modern democratic institutions in the country in which they are in position to prove to the world that they are competent in managing local issues on health, education, employment and economy including the welfare of its own population. But five decades of the long military led government in Burma has failed to undertake its legitimate role on the governance of the ethnic communities in which all parties can work together. The military government is only concerned with dominating the non-Burman ethnic nationalities and establishing its superiority over the entire country.

The big question is whether Burma is best suited for a democratic institution. Federalism or a country made up of the non-Burman, independent ethnic states. For long-term security and stability in the region, it would be best to grant independence to the ethnic peoples, for the short term to establish a federation over a 20-30 year period.

Will the SPDC military government ever take full responsibility for those who have committed human rights violations against innocent people?  Crimes against humanity by the state have been common practices in the country for many years. The thinking of the Burmese government is the result of centuries of exploitation and dominance.  Forward thinking people are jailed for their political opinions, women are raped by its government soldiers, and children in forced labour are all accepted norms, what are the circumstances that will change their thinking?


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