12 February (1947), Union Day celebrates the signing of the Panglong Agreement and the creation of the Union of Burma

12 February (1947), Union Day celebrates the signing of the Panglong Agreement and the creation of the Union of Burma. General Aung San was able to convince some of the Shan Saophas, Kachin Duwars and the Chin leaders and finally succeeded in concluding an agreement with ethnic minorities for a unified Burma at the Panglong Conference on February 12, celebrated since as ‘Union Day’. The Karen sent only 4 observers. The Arakanese and the Mons were considered as part of the Burmese tribe having being subdued since the Burmese kings and were not consulted; the Karenni was an independent state and not invited. A new democratic and federal constitution was drafted that safeguarded basic civil liberties and the rights of the citizen.

Panglong Spirit: Liberty, Equality, Autonomy, and Federal Union (LEAF).

There were 23 signatories in all expressing their willingness to work with the ‘interim Burmese government’ in order to achieve independence speedily, and agreeing in principle the formation of a ‘Union of Burma’. Burman representative: Aung San; Chin representatives: Hlur Hmung, Thawng Za Khup, Kio Mang; Kachin representatives: Sinwa Nawng, Zau Rip, Dinra Tang, Zau La, Zau Lawn, Labang Grong; Shan representatives: Tawnpeng, Yawnghwei, North Hsenwi, Laika, Mong Pawn, Hsamonghkam and representatives of Pawnglawng: Hkun Pung, Tin E, Kya Bu, Sao Yapa Hpa, Htun Myint, Hkun Saw, Hkun Htee.

Aung San’s assurance on the day, “If Burman receives one Kyat, you will also get one Kyat”, has often been quoted by ethnic nationalists since. In Aung San’s sincere words, “We will take you along with us in regaining independence.”

“The cause of the Union, the cause of the national races, and the cause of democracy and human rights are inseparable,” Aung San Suu Kyi told her supporters. 12 February1998

The United Nationalities Alliance, the umbrella organization of ethnic parties that had won in the 1990 elections, call for the release of all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi and the Shan leader Khun Htun Oo, an end to the offensives in the ethnic areas and the holding of a tripartite dialogue between the junta, the National League for Democracy and the ethnic forces. 12 February 2010



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