Shan armed movement to have revised charter

Loi Taileng.    A draft for a new improved charter was read out and explained by Maj-Gen Sai Yi, Vice President of the Restoration Council of Shan State / Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) and head of the constitutional revision team, during the 4 day annual meeting, 16-19 January, at Loi Taileng, opposite Maehongson’s Pang Mapha district.

The 20 page, 51 article document, a copy of which was received by SHAN, contains two predominant features:

  • “Right of self Determination” in place of “Total Independence” adopted at the founding meeting 13 years earlier
  • A new article that will allow civilians to become members of the council (at present, all council members are also members of the SSA, its armed wing)

The RCSS/SSA chief Lt-Gen Yawdserk explained earlier, “The total independence principle was adopted to counter the government’s long-standing refusal to resolve political problems by political means. Now that President Thein Sein has opened up the field for a political settlement, we believe a major concession by us will speed up the peace process.”

Yawdserk welcoming Sai Yi on his return to the armed struggle on 47th anniversary of Shan Resistance Day, 21 May 2005. (Tai Freedom)

Insiders however warned that a return to the military solution to resolve the problems by the Burman majority dominant government would only serve the cause of its own hardliners to revert to their founding principle.

The 6 Guiding Principles adopted in 2000 are: National Unity, Total Independence, Democracy, Improvement of People’s Livelihood, Elimination of illicit drugs and Peace.

Sai Yi, obviously to placate the hardliners, explained that the Right of Self Determination meant the people of Shan State would decide whether or not to remain in the Union.

PaO constitutional expert Hkun Okker meanwhile said the Right of Self Determination (also known as Internal Right of Self Determination) meant the people of each state would exercise their own legislative, executive and judicial powers without interference from the central government.

“The second reading will be at the next bi-annual meeting where we hope to adopt the charter,” Yawdserk told SHAN at the end of the meeting. “In the meantime, we will welcome feedback from both the Central Committee members and well-wishers, which we hope to incorporate into the draft.”

The RCSS/SSA is one of the 13 armed movements that have concluded ceasefire agreements with the nominally-civilian government headed by ex-general Thein Sein. The Working Group for Ethnic Coordination (WGEC) formed by them, together with those that have yet to reach ceasefire agreements, is developing a framework for political dialogue which is expected to begin during the year.


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