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Burma's exiled ethnic nationalities seminar held in North America


(By J Lum Dau)
It is a great pleasure for me to regularly read Kao Wao News. One can learn not only the different pros and cons of issues, but also how to balance between the different information and reports in your News.
Through such observations, I wish to emphasize that one should not simply hope for rights and justice in participating in a forthcoming Tripartite Dialogue or National Convention (NC).  Such a constitution or set of rights does not yet exist in Myanmar , so one needs to be realistic about anticipating any kinds of privileges for participants in political discussions. Instead we should all stand together to mutually build up an environment of rights and justice for ourselves. This can only be achieved through a strong cooperation and exchange of views.
Until such an environment for democracy is achieved, I feel that one should not simply talk about the end goal of democracy. Only through appropriate methods of first coming to understand one another can we all form a workable relationship from which Tripartite Dialogue, a democratic basis for discussions, and an accepted new constitution can develop.
Among many important issues at present, the Kachin people have been concentrating on the subject of Tripartite Dialogue when they meet with each other. In general, Kachin organizations consist of three armed ceasefire groups, different religious and cultural groups, parties that stood in the 1990 general election, and various community-based bodies among the population. With the intention of achieving greater understanding and unity, representatives of the Kachin people from all over Myanmar came together at Laiza in Kachin State during 21-25 October 2002 and formed the Kachin Nationals Consultative Assembly as part of preparations to join with other ethnic nationalities as a combined nationality group to participate in Tripartite Dialogue.
In pursuing this path, the Kachins have faced some difficulties along the way to organize among themselves and achieve a solid and united consensus. As with much of Myanmar , our peoples have suffered from decades of conflict and division. In addition, while trying to build peace and unity, we have been hoping to learn effective methods from other groups and parties in the country as to how such obstacles can be overcome. But, to date, we have found our own initiatives the most appropriate for our situation.
Thus it can be recognized that the process of a seven-stage road map to democracy may not an attractive policy to everybody. But in terms of reconciliation steps, it does suggest a method that will to lead a National Convention, which should act as a constitution drafting body. If this is successful, then further stages towards building democracy can follow in substantive ways. It is based on thinking and expectations like these that representatives of the Kachin people accepted to take part in the National Convention as a first stage in a long-needed process to build a lasting system of democracy for the country. The achievement of goals may take some time, but it is still vital that concrete steps are implemented which will allow the process of dialogue and democracy to develop.
J Lum Dau
Deputy Chief Foreign Affairs, KIO


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