From Shan forum to joint Shan-Kayah state conference

Shans who had held a highly successful forum in November are now moving forward to hold a Shan State conference in March which is expected to be joined by parties from the neighboring Kayah State, according to Sai Lake, spokesperson for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) from Lashio yesterday.

“Shan and Kayah states have a long history of friendly coexistence and cooperation,” he said. “Parties there have also requested not to move ahead without them.”

Mongpai (also known as Moebye) and Faikhun (better known as Pekhon) in Shan State are made up of races of Kayah descent. Parties like Kayan New Land Party (KNLP) and Kayan National Party (KNP), in fact, are more active in Shan State than in Kayah.

Other Kayah-based parties that have made the request included Karenni National Progress Party (KNPP), Karenni Nationalities Peoples Liberation Front (KNPLF), Karenni National Solidarity Organization (KNSO) and Karenni Nationalities Peoples Development Party (KNPDP).

SNLD delegation headed by General Secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin with Kokang Democracy and Unity Party (KNUP) leaders, after meeting in Lashio on 28 December 2012. (Photo: SNLD)

(The KNPP is a splinter group from its mother movement that signed a ceasefire agreement with Naypyitaw on 7 March 2012)

Yesterday’s meeting in Lashio, participated by 9 parties, had reached agreement to hold the conference in the first week of March. A conference organizing committee made up of 3 from SNLD and 1 each from 8 other parties have also been formed. They are:

  • Danu Nationalities Democracy Party (DNDP)
  • Inn National Development Party (INDP)
  • Kayan National Party (KNP)
  • Kayan New Land Party (KNLP)
  • Kokang Democracy and Unity Party (KDUP)
  • Shan State Kokang Democratic Party (SSKDP)
  • Shan State Progress Party (SSPP)
  • Wa National Unity Party (WNUP)

The organizing committee is planning to make the conference an inclusive one, Sai Lake added. “We need to include remaining groups (in Shan State and Kayah State) in order to establish a common political stand,” he said.

The Shan-Kayah cooperation in 1960 had led to the interstate conference in 1961 that called for amendment to the 1947 “federal in form, unitary in substance” constitution. The two year gamble ended with the military takeover in 1962.


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