Panglong II requires further touches, military on board

Monday, 27 December 2010 21:33 Mizzima News
New Delhi (Mizzima) – The Zomi National Congress on October 24 launched an appeal in its Kalaymyo Declaration for the convening of a second Panglong conference to iron out the status of ethnic groups within the framework of federal union. The declaration essentially seeks to echo the atmosphere and work surrounding the initial Panglong Agreement of 1947, which was never successfully implemented during ensuing periods of democratic or authoritarian rule.

Kalaymyo-junctionMotorists circle a statue of King Maha Bandoola in Kalay Township in Sagaing Division, where the Kalaymyo Declaration was made on October 24. It calls for national reconciliation and a second Panglong Conference to guarantee ethnic groups in Burma equality and the right to self-determination. Photo: Mizzima

The call has met with positive reception from a number of groups, including Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, which is now tasked with the implementation of the project. However, as well intentioned as the goals of a Panglong II may be, questions must be asked of the utility in pursuing the project with regard to its current parameters.

Critically, the military is not on board with the declaration’s objectives. While the door appears to be left ajar in case they decide to join, there also appears precious little energy being expended to make a Panglong II an attractive proposition for the Burmese military to support. And, without the support of the military, the principle antagonist confronting ethnic opposition demands, any fruits borne from a Panglong II will carry minimal effect on policy.

Moreover, the basis for a Panglong II stands in direct refutation of the 2008 constitution and ensuing 2010 general election, denying the legitimacy of both. Clearly, the central government, drawing legitimacy from both the constitution and the election, is not going to support the initiative as currently envisioned. As such, a Panglong II, operating outside of the legal fold, essentially demands parties choose between rival and antagonistic contestants to political power.  Continue reading “Panglong II requires further touches, military on board”

Pa-O leader: The Lady’s Panglong II call deserves open minds

TUESDAY, 28 DECEMBER 2010 17:07 S.H.A.N.

Hkun Okker, President of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization (PNLO) and board member of the exiled Burma Lawyers Council (BLC), speaking to Shan State leaders yesterday, urged them to keep an open mind to the call for the 21st century Panglong Conference, also known as Panglong II, by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Hkun Okker (Photo: S.H.A.N)

“We should take care not to rush headlong before everything’s clear,” the 64 year old lawyer-turned-rebel told the executive members of the Shan State Congress (SSC), a coalition set up in 2008 on the Thai-Burma border.

“We should wait until the aims and objectives have been clearly spelled out before we decide to go head over heels.”

He took his audience back to the 1947 situation when the Panglong Conference was held. “It wasn’t, as many have misunderstood, a meeting of representatives of ethnic groups,” he reminded them. “It was, on the contrary, a meeting of leaders of states: Burma, Federated Shan States, Kachin Hills and Chin Hills. As such, the leaders were legitimate. So were the conference and its outcome – the Panglong Agreement.”

Karen, Arakan and Mon territories were then considered parts of Burma (Proper). The Karenni aka Kayah took part in the conference only as observers.

The aims and objectives of the conference, according to him, were clear: to overthrow British rule and establish a federal democracy.

However the Agreement had a few flaws. “One, it did not say how the agreement would be implemented,” he said. “And two, while there were several leaders signing it for the Frontier Areas, there was only General Aung San to sign for Burma. That was one of the reasons why the Panglong Agreement has never been properly implemented.”

The new Panglong will therefore have a few issues to be resolved before it can be held: 

  • How to establish its legitimacy
  • Its aims and objectives

“So far, it is not clear what the aims and objectives are,” he said. “The Lady has stated that she is not excluding the military and is not setting up a parallel parliament. But we will need more than that, if we are to throw our full support behind her.”

“If it is to establish a genuine federal union by partners of equal footing, then we should support it and work hard for it together,” he concluded.

Aung San Suu Kyi, meeting Thai journalists on 22 December, said the ethnic issue must be resolved in a Panglong-like conference, if the country was to move ahead,” reported Thai Public Broadcasting service.


Young activists form network after seminar with Suu Kyi

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Young political activists have formed a network after a conference called by Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi at National League for Democracy headquarters in Rangoon today, an activist who attended the gathering said.

suu-kyi-meets-youth-storyBurmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks at a closed meeting with young people at National League for Democracy headquarters in Bahan Township, Rangoon, on Tuesday, December 28, 2010. More than 150 people attended. Photo: Mizzima

About 200 young people from various sections of society agreed to form the network after the six-hour seminar with the NLD leader, held at Suu Kyi’s request in her desire to listen to the issues affecting young people as the party prepares its action plan for next year.

The young activist who attended said those gathered discussed education, health, labour, social and economic issues and that more young people would be invited to participate in and through the network.  Continue reading “Young activists form network after seminar with Suu Kyi”