Tuesday, 15 October 2019

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Ethnic parties urge Burmese government to form peace committee


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Adding to the chorus of calls for peace, five ethnic parties on Wednesday called on the Burmese government to form a peacemaking committee to stop the widespread fighting in ethnic areas.
 
“We urged the government to shoulder responsibility to form a peacemaking committee in the form of a workshop to bring about peace,” RNDP vice chairman Ohn Tin, an Upper House MP representing the Manaung constituency, told Mizzima.

Representatives from five ethnic parties: the Chin National Party, All Mon Region Democracy Party, Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party aka White Tiger Party and Rakhine Nationalities Development Party in front of the White Tiger Party office in Rangoon after a meeting on Wednesday, August 3, 2011. The five parties urged the central government to form a peacemaking committee in ethnic areas. Photo: NBF
On Wednesday, the last day of a two-day inter-party meeting, the Chin National Party, All Mon Region Democracy Party, Phalon-Sawaw Democratic Party, Shan Nationalities Democratic Party and Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) urged the government and ethnic armed groups to stop fighting and to declare a cease-fire.

The group also asked the government, local and foreign charitable organizations and other donors to help war refugees who have fled their homes because of the fighting.

In addition to the 31 representatives of the five political parties, the Kayan National Party also attended the meeting as an observer.
 
Recently, Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi released an open letter addressed to President Thein Sein and ethnic armed groups, saying that she was prepared to do everything in her power to stop the armed conflicts and build a peaceful country.
 
The inter-party meeting did not discuss Suu Kyi’s open letter and their joint statement did not mention it.

RNDP vice chairman Ohn Tin said, “They have their own policy and we, the five political parties, also have our own policy.”

It was not clear if the parties would present their proposal in the next Parliament session that begins on August 22. Ohn Tin said, “We will discuss this with MPs in Naypyitaw. Then we may put forward the suggestion as a proposal.”

According to parliamentary rules, if an MP wishes to bring a matter before Parliament, they must first inform the deputy director general of the respective house at least 15 days before submitting a proposal and 10 days prior to raising the question in Parliament.

Ohn Tin said that he did not know how many days the Parliament would meet, but he thought it could put it forward in time.

On April 5, the Group of Democratic Party Friends, an alliance of five ethnic political parties, also released a statement urging the government to hold an all-inclusive “Union conference” to end armed conflicts in Burma.

Ohn Tin said that if the Union Solidarity Development Party majority objects to the proposal, the parties would release statements to express their views. The parties do not have a plan to directly contact armed groups, he said.
 
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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