Honoring 1994 Kachin ceasefire pact essential to peace: Chiangmai workshop

Recent workshop held in Chiangmai had concluded that Naypyitaw’s honoring of the ceasefire agreement signed between the Kachin Independence Organization / Kachin Independence Army (KIO/KIA) and the current government’s predecessor would prove indispensable to the peace process, not only with the Kachins but with the rest of ethnic movements.

U Thein Zaw (Photo: Mizzima)
It would be in addition to the repositioning, the politically correct word for withdrawal, of Burma Army units that had moved into KIA controlled areas since 9 June 2011, according to the discussants that included Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon and Shan representatives.

“If the Kachin ceasefire agreement is not recognized because it was signed by Gen Khin Nyunt (who was ousted in 2004), that would set a dangerous precedent,” said a participant. “People will start to wonder what’s going to happen to the ceasefire agreements signed by U Aung Min when he is no more the government’s negotiator after 2015.”

There are 13 ethnic movements that have concluded ceasefire agreements with Naypyitaw, although government officials, for some unexplained reason, always cite the wrong figure. 7 of them were signed by U Aung Thaung and 6 by U Aung Min:

U Aung Thaung
U Aung Min
  • United Wa State Army
  • National Democratic Alliance Army
  • Democratic Karen Buddhist Army
  • Karen Peace Council
  • Shan State Progress Party
  • Arakan Liberation Party
  • National Socialist Council of Nagaland
  • Restoration Council of Shan State
  • Chin National Front
  • Karen National Union
  • New Mon State Party
  • Karenni National Progressive Party
  • PaO National Liberation Organization

Others have also questioned whether or not the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC), nominally headed by Vice President Sai Mawk Kham, but in fact run by U Aung Min, is an agency approved by the parliament. “If it is not, then any budget proposal from the UPWC, like that from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also established by the President, is likely to be rejected by the parliament,” said one.

So far, U Thein Zaw, Vice Chairman # 3 of the UPWC, is the only one designated by the Lower House as head of the National Races Affairs and Internal Peacemaking Committee. The Upper House meanwhile had appointed U San Tun as head of National Races Affairs and Domestic Peace Committee. However, U San Tun is not a member of the UPWC.

Everyone reportedly agreed that the ongoing peace process was still a job with too many loose ends to tie up.

The Working Group for Ethnic Coordination (WGEC), made up of United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), the alliance of 11-armed groups, and non-UNFC movements, is to meet early next year to discuss the next stage of the peace process: political negotiations.


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