people of Burma have been longing for a peaceful and prosperous country since
the 1948 independence victory. But regrettably, the nation's independence hero
General Aung San was assassinated a year ahead of liberation. As a result,
civil wars throughout the nation came forward with the independence offered by
British colonial rule.
fact, General Aung San and the leaders of Chin, Kachin and Shan ethnic groups
had guaranteed a genuine federal union of Burma by signing the Panglong
Agreement on Feb. 12, 1947. The said agreement accepted the representatives of
ethnic states to administer their own affairs in areas of economy, judiciary,
education, and customs and so on.
Burma's 66-year-old historic Panglong Agreement has been ignored by the consecutive
Burmese regimes. The said agreement has been disregarded by the military
leaders as they did not support "Federalism "since 1962. The military
extremists blame the federalism as an idea of secessionists.
late dictator, Ne Win, who seized power in a military coup in 1962, strongly
opposed sharing equal power with other respective ethnic nationals. Ne Win
supported a unitary state rather than a genuine federal union. The Military
Council headed by Ne Win declared that the military coup had taken place
because of the "federation topic," which he said could lead to the
disintegration of the nation.
of ethnic minorities with the Burmese majority was to him unacceptable. When Ne
Win seized power, he did away with the 1948 Constitution. At the same time, the Panglong Agreement,
which promised autonomy or self-determination of the ethnic groups, was broken
head of the previous junta, Sen-Gen Than Shwe had followed the example of his
predecessor Ne Win and Saw Maung, who both fortified the single unitary state.
In addition, Gen. Saw Maung's successor, Gen. Than Shwe was no different
either. Under Than Shwe's command, the controversial 2008 Constitution was
drawn up but criticized as an undemocratic charter in public.
the current President Thein Sein government took office by swearing to defend
the 2008 Constitution. It indicates the current regime also is no different to
its predecessors. It will not allow
autonomy or self-determination of the ethnic groups as it has to loyal to the
the armed forces in the union shall be under the command of the Defense
Services," says section 337 of the 2008 constitution. It means ethnic armed
troops have to obey the Burma Army's command.
current regime standpoint is that the ethnic groups must dump their stubborn
attitude of grasping the principle of Panglong Agreement. They also want the
ethnic groups to be faithful to the Burma Army backed unitary state rather than
the federal union system. This means they must lay down their arms together
with their hope for autonomy.
government has been dishonest and avoided declaring a national scale ceasefire
to establish a true peaceful nation. If it was sincere, it would stop all
self-styled area-cleaning offensives in ethnic territories in favor of grand
dialogue to show it has a serious will to reconcile.
the Burma Army has been insincere so far. Although there is a truce between
government's peace-making team and the SSPP/SSA peace-making group, quite a
number of hostilities have been taking place now and again in Shan State.
instance, the Burma Army has launched new operation against the Shan State Army
(SSA) to remove its bases located in
northern Shan State last February 18, S.H.A.N. news said. For that reason, the
SSA has blamed the Burma Army as "untrustworthy".
Burmese military is double-crossing the peace process," said Shan State
Progress Party / Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) spokesman Maj. Sai La. "Calm has
just returned to the Kachin State. It is starting all over again with us. This
doesn't augur well for peace."
SSPP/SSA signed a ceasefire agreement on 28 January 2012. Since then, it has
reportedly fought more than 50 clashes against Burma Army columns "trespassing"
in areas under its control, according to Shan News (S.H.A.N.).
the peace agreement seems to be on paper only. Some analysts believe that the
military-backed President Thein Sein government has also been following the
path of its predecessors. The real plan of seeking temporary ceasefire by the
regime looks as if to persuade more recognition of international community,
rather than genuine peace.
even though some ceasefire deals are made between the rebel groups and the
government there has been little valid progress. Many ethnic leaders asserted
that they don't have trust the new 2008 constitution. They believe that it will
not create a legitimate federal union in the future.
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