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NLD members to honour Panglong Agreement

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – To mark Burma’s 65th Union Day, Shan members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) will bow to the Panglong Agreement pillar in Panglong in southern Shan State on Sunday.
The group, led by NLD members in Panglong, Laihka, Loilen and Nansang, will bow to the stone pillar commemorating the agreement. Since 1989, authorities have banned people from bowing to the Panglong Agreement pillar, members said,.
Taunggyi Township NLD General-Secretary Khin Moe Moe said that the ceremony will demonstrate the importance of the agreement to younger generations. The Panglong Agreement was signed by ethnic leaders and Burma’s revered independence fighter General Aung San, the father of Aung San Suu Kyi, guaranteeing them independent rights in regard to a federal political system.
Khin Moe Moe said one of the first things Suu Kyi said upon being released from house arrest in 2010 was about the importance of the principles in the Panlong Agreement.
Members have yet to receive permission from the authorities to conduct the ceremony. Other political parties including the National Unity Party and Shan Nationalities Democratic Party (White Tiger Party) also plan to hold ceremonies at the pillar. The ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party has not decided whether its members will conduct ceremonies at the pillar or not, sources said.
Loilen Township NLD member Mi Mi said that more than 50 people conducted ceremonies at the pillar on January 4, Burma’s Independence Day, without a disturbance.  
The Panglong Conference was held in Panglong in Shan State in 1947. A document was signed by the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League leader Aung San and Shan, Kachin and Chin leaders, agreeing to unite in a struggle for independence from Britain to achieve a unified republic.

“The emergence of the [current] Union was largely based on the Panglong Agreement. Because of the agreement, the Union was formed. States including Kachin State and Shan State are unified, that’s why we call it [Burma] a ‘Union.’ Union Day is important for all of us,” said Kachin Independence Organization’s permanent central committee member Lama Gumhpan.
The agreement said, “Full autonomy in internal administration for the Mountain Areas [Ethnic areas] is accepted in principle” and “the people in mountain areas must be granted democratic rights.”
“To maintain the integration of the Union and national solidarity, we need to undertake negotiations and a political dialogue. Only if we can do that, will a peaceful and genuine Union emerge,” Lama Gumhpan said.
On October 24, 2010, the Zomi National Congress (ZNC) issued the “Kalay Decleration,” calling for the convening of a “Second Panglong Conference’” for the sake of national reconciliation. On November 20, 2010, the ZNC handed over the responsibility to organize such a conference to Aung San Suu Kyi, after her release from her house arrest.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 February 2012 18:00 )  

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