Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No Election Participation, No Disarmament: Mon Party

The Irrawaddy News

The New Mon State Party, an ethnic armed ceasefire group in southern Burma, decided at its congress not to participate in the 2010 Burmese election, said a member of the executive committee.

About 101 members of the party approved the decision after the party held a two-week congress which ended on Jan 17 at its central headquarters in Ye Township, Mon State. The party holds a congress meeting every three years.

Nai Shwe Thein, a member of the NMSP executive committee, said, “We didn’t get what we wanted at the constitutional convention. That’s why we will not join the election.”

Leaders also discussed the current ceasefire agreement it has with the military government, and the party decided it would not disarm, if asked by the military regime.

“If they [the Burmese military] ask us to disarm, we will do something,” said Nai Shwe Thein. “Our party policy is we will not give up arms, and we will not abandon our party.”

The party has maintained a ceasefire agreement with the Burmese military for more than 14 years.

Some Mon community leaders expressed concern they might be forced to disband their schools, and many Mon plantation owners and laborers are worried they will lose their rubber plantations if fighting should resume between the NMSP and the Burmese military.

Nai Aye Con, a member of the Mon National Education Department, said, “If there is a war, we can’t run the schools that are close to the Burmese military controlled areas.”

Rubber plantations produce daily income for many people, and some fear the recent NMSP decisions could threaten their livelihood.

The NMSP signed a ceasefire agreement with the military regime in 1995. Observers say there have been no political advancements in more than a decade, and the regime has continued a campaign of human rights abuses in Mon State.

In 2003, the party attended the national constitutional convention, but left after a proposal to federalize the constitution was rejected by the military-controlled convention. The party maintained observers at the convention.

In early March, the NMSP released a statement against the constitutional referendum, citing concerns that the constitution would strengthen the regime without resulting in any actual democratic changes in the country.

Recent Posts from Burma Wants Freedom and Democracy

Recent posts from WHO is WHO in Burma


The Nuke Light of Myanmar Fan Box
The Nuke Light of Myanmar on Facebook
Promote your Page too