Will Burma bring back human rights in Chin State?By Zin Linn Dec 11, 2012 8:10PM UTC
The Union level Peacemaking Committee and the Chin National Front (CNF) held a second round of peace negotiations at ‘Myanmar Peace Center’ in Rangoon from 7 to 9 December in the presence of international observers, the state-run New Light of Myanmar has reported. The paper said that out of 31 proposals raised by CNF, 27 issues have been agreed by both teams. There are only four issues left on the record for further talks.
The agreement covers national integration, human rights and environmental conservation, military affairs, development of Chin State, and cooperation of the Union government, the State government and the Chin National Front in social and cultural affairs, the New Light of Myanmar said.
There are three points under Chin National affairs agreement. The first point is to recognize 20 February as Chin national day. Second, both parties have agreed to make Chin National Day an official holiday. Third, all agree to honor 3 January as Chin state day.
Other important points in the agreement are to build up communication networks and news media centers together with establishing Community Radio Broadcasting station for the Chin population. Moreover, to provide basic needs like water, electricity, education and health. The agreement also paves the way to promote tourism by consenting to build one advanced airport in Chin state.
Under the Social and Cultural affairs agreement, the Chin language has to be introduced at the primary level in schools in Chin state, and then it has to be boosted to an advanced level. It is also been agreed that licenses and permits for media outlets such as newspapers, journals, magazines, newsletter, radio, internet and television programs plus freedom of public associations, the Khonumthung News Group said.
It is interesting that both peacemaking teams agreed to set up a ‘Chin Human Rights Committee’ in order to support peace and it’s also good to know that the mining natural resources of Chin state needs prior approval of the local people.
These agreements were signed by Pu Zing Cung and his 19 peacemaking committee members from the CNF together with U Aung Min and his 10 peacemaking committee members from the Government side and seven other witnesses on 9 December 2012.
According to state media, the talks principally focused on ceasefire, political dialogue and the holding of a conference to be attended by all ethnic nationalities as directed by the President. It has learned that the Union Level Peacemaking Committee and the CNF confirmed the promotion of democracy, equality and measures that can guarantee self-determination as basic principles apart from non-disintegration of the Union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and maintenance of sovereignty while building the genuine Union as the definitive goal.
At the press conference, General-Secretary of the CNF Pu Zing Cung said that Kachin issue was also discussed and the Union government attached great importance to ceasefire and peace in Kachin State.
During the second-round talks between the Union Level Peace-making Committee and the CNF, political-party members, academicians and international observers also attended, the media reports said.
In January 2011, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) announced findings from the first population-based survey to file human rights violations in all nine townships of Chin State. The report – Life under the Junta: Evidence of Crimes against Humanity in Burma’s Chin State – provides the first quantitative data of human rights violations against the people of Chin State in Western Burma. The report also reveals that at least eight of the violations fall within the purview of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and may constitute crimes against humanity.
More than 98 percent of the abuses were committed by the junta’s authorities, primarily soldiers. According to the report, generally, 1,768 of the most severe abuses were reported across all nine townships of Chin State. It also urges the United Nations to establish a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ to investigate reports of human rights violations in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
“This report reveals extraordinary levels of state and military violence against civilian populations, and many of the violations that we surveyed may constitute crimes against humanity,” said Richard Sollom, Deputy Director at PHR and principal author of Life Under the Junta, released on 19 January 2011.
As both government and CNF peacemaking teams agree to set up a ‘Chin Human Rights Committee’, people are looking forward to striking anagreement that could at least stop additional human rights abuses in Chin state after peace dialogue concluded.