Burma President calls for equal opportunities for all ethnicitiesBy Zin Linn Jul 05, 2012 12:30AM UTC
Chairman of Union Peace-making Central Committee President Thein Sein delivered a speech at first meeting of the Central Committee in the meeting-hall of the Presidential Palace in Naypyitaw Tuesday, according to New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
In his speech, President underscored the ‘Fundamental Rights and Duties of the Citizens’. As every national race owns the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Burma), equitable treatment and opportunities should be granted, he emphasized.
During the meeting, President Thein Sein said that since his government was formed with people’s representatives elected by the people, it was obliged to implement the will of the majority people. To convert the old system to the new one is the people’s desire, he said.
He also said that transforming of the old system into the new one is practical change, rather than that on papers. Moreover political and economic changes must be carried out as foundation of the country.
Thein Sein said in his address, “Rule of law should prevail in all political reforms.”
Continuous armed ethnic clashes hinder economic development and spreading armed ethnic groups weaken the rule of law, he said.
“The foundation for building the nation is end of ethnic armed groups and conflicts,” the President highlighted.
It was noteworthy that the President deemed firm political reforms were compulsory for the success of economic reforms.
“And the end of ethnic conflicts is also needed for firm political reforms. It is needed to ease ethnic conflicts and distribute political and economic opportunities equitably,” he said.
To carry out political and economic reforms, ease of ethnic conflicts needs to be considered. Only when such reforms are carried out, national reconciliation will be achieved and ethnic conflicts will be ended, Thein Sein said during the meeting of Peace-making Central Committee.
However, Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) and Burma Army engaged for quite a lot of times since war broke out on 9 June 2011, a negotiated promising answer to the battle still looks like a far-off option.
KIO has been calling for a true political dialogue for decade-long old warfare. But, Burmese government stays away from political talks since its key interest is to sign a ceasefire accord in order to buy a time to launch more development projects rather than solving the root cause of the conflict.
Burma’s war against ethnic rebels is continuing. Although peace talks are taking place, there seems to be no end in sight in the war against the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) as well s SSA. Even though the government’s peacemaking team has reached a truce with the Shan State Army (SSA), the Burma Army is reluctant to accept the agreement. Even though there is a truce between government’s peace-making team and the SSPP/SSA peace-making group, hostilities have been taking place sporadically in Shan State.
Although the President explained to end of ethnic conflicts as a necessary for firm political reforms, his commander-in-chief has turned a deaf ear to his explanation.
During his Tuesday speech at Union Peace-making Central Committee meeting, he pointed out a paragraph from the constitution. Section 348 in Chapter (8) Citizen, Fundamental Rights and Duties of the Citizens of the 2008 constitution prescribes, “The Union shall not discriminate any citizen of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, based on race, birth, religion, official position, status, culture, sex and wealth.” And Section 347 also goes, “The Union shall guarantee any person to enjoy equal rights before the law and shall equally provide legal protection.”
On the contrary, various ethnic leaders declared that they don’t have faith in the new 2008 constitution made unilaterally by the previous junta. They consider that it will not produce a genuine federal union which will allow equal political and economic rights to ethnic people in the future. For example, the Burmese armed forces take 25 percent seats in the existing parliament show clearly that there is no equal rights as the President mentioned.
So, the ethnic rebels consider the current constitution will not grant the democratic freedom and the fundamental rights for the ethnic groups of the nation.
Thus, the end of ethnic conflicts is not easy as the President deems, and also political reform needs to do so many things including the peacemaking or national reconciliation.
It may be really difficult to ease ethnic conflicts and distribute political and economic opportunities evenhandedly. Ethnic people are watching the game of the president who guarantees all citizens to enjoy equal rights before the law with legal protection.