ICC NOTE: Peace is the ultimate goal for the infant democratic government of Myanmar as the country has faced rebel conflict since its independence in the late 1940’s from the British Empire. Many of the ethnic rebels who did not sign the ceasefire treaty last October have large Christian populations. In fact, Burma’s Christian population come from the surrounding ethnic tribal states. They have been the target of both the government and military for decades, prompting the continued struggle for freedom and autonomy. The new government wishes to reconcile the situation through an upcoming peace conference in an effort to stop the blood shed and come a consensus on governance. If a peace is to be brokered, it would cease decades of hostilities between the government and rebels, but the major question will be if it stops the persecution of ethnic Christians.
7/20/2016 Myanmar (Radio Free Asia) – A coalition of Myanmar’s armed ethnic groups that have met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss preparations for peace negotiations in late August say a political framework is crucial for the government’s peace conference to be a success.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto national leader, has made peace and national reconciliation a key goal of her civilian-led administration, which came to power in April.
On Sunday, United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC)—a coalition of nine ethnic rebel groups that did not sign a national cease-fire agreement (NCA) with the previous government last October—met with Aung San Suu Kyi in her capacity as chairperson of the National Reconciliation and Peace Center in Yangon to talk about run-up to the 21st-Century Panglong Peace Conference.
The UNFC, which represents both groups that have signed the NCA and those that have not, is advocating for the formation of a federal union. It also is insisting that all rebel groups be included in the peace conference.
“If we can’t finish discussions on the framework, it will be impossible to hold the 21st-Century Panglong Peace Conference,” said UNFC general secretary Khu Do Reh at a press conference in Yangon. “That means that holding a successful peace conference hinges upon the framework discussions.”
‘Everybody is responsible’
The UNFC requested that Aung San Suu Kyi mediate negotiations between the Myanmar army and ethnic rebel groups so they agree on declaring a cease-fire at the same time, Khu Oo Yal said.
Aung San Suu Kyi promised that she would discuss the issue with the military, he said.
“What we’ve got to understand is that we all fought together for freedom,” Khu Oo Reh said. “Everybody is responsible for working towards development and peace in this country.”
Khu Oo Yal also said the nonsignatories will attend framework discussions for holding the Panglong Peace Conference, named after a similar meeting of ethnic groups spearheaded by Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, General Aung San, in 1947.
But his assassination a few months later prevented the agreements made during the conference from reaching fruition, and many ethnic groups then took up arms against the central government in wars that have ground on in some cases for more than five decades.