Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ethnic groups: No Panglong Agreement, no Union of Burma

“Non-Burmans could struggle on their own,
but no one can predict how long it will last.
But if you join hands with the Burmese,
independence at the same time is assured,”
--Aung San, at the Panglong Conference, 12th February 1947

By Hseng Khio Fah

Shan Herald Agency for News

The exile Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) released a statement marking the 62nd anniversary of the historic Panglong Agreement today that were it not for the Agreement, there would not have been the Union of Burma.

“The statement reflects the background of how the Union Day come into being,” said Saw David Taw, ENC Joint General Secretary.

The said treaty between the non-Burman leaders and Aung San was the basis for the Union, he added.

Aung San and his delegation had gone to England in January 1947 to demand Independence. As a result, Burma was promised freedom which did not include the Frontier Areas, as the non-Burman States were known at that time.

He returned to Burma to convince the ethnic leaders to join hands for Independence. On 8 February evening he delivered a speech at Panglong promising adequate safeguards for non-Burman rights should they decide to join Burma.

Aung San said, “Non-Burmans could struggle on their own, but no one can predict how long it will last. But if you join hands with the Burmese, independence at the same time is assured,” according to a SHAN report in 2000.

Later on 12th February 1947, the Panglong agreement was signed between leaders of the Frontier Areas and Aung San to unite and jointly fight for independence, and to establish a sovereign country, composed of co-independent equal states, in accordance with the principle of the Right of Self-determination.

Likewise, Shwe Ohn, 87, a participant at the Panglong Conference, wrote in his Toward the Third Union of Burma (1993), to the following effect:

What would have happened if the Panglong Agreement was not signed?
The answer is clear. The country would have been divided into two parts: Burma and the Frontier Areas. The former would become independent in 1948, while the latter would continue to remain under British rule.

How long would that rule be?

The Federated Malay States, also under British rule, became independent in 1957 without having to fight for it. By the same taken, I believe the Frontier Areas, in which Federated Shan States was a part, would also be an independent country by now.

READ MORE---> Ethnic groups: No Panglong Agreement, no Union of Burma...

Warning by Britishers to Kachins comes true

"Don't take independence together!", the British had warned ethnic Kachin leaders and this has come true today, the 62nd anniversary of the Union Day in Burma, which commemorates the ethnic Shan, Kachin, Chins leaders and Burmese (Burman) leader General Aung San signing the Panglong Agreement for forming the multi-ethnic Union of Burma on February 12, 1947.

Kachins have lost their autonomous rights since Burma's Independence Day on January 4, 1948 during successive Burmese-national leaderships---from the first elected Prime Minister U Nu to Senior General Than Shwe, current chairman of the military junta's so-called State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Now it is the worst phase.

Kachin Duwa Wabaw Zau Rip
Written by KNG

It was a historic mistake where Kachins lost political rights when Kachin leaders decided to take independence together with Burmese and form the Union of Burma in 1946 under the leadership of the two Kachin Duwas (leaders) in Myitkyina --- Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng and Duwa Wabaw Zau Rip, said Duwa Maran Zau Awng in Florida in the US of the National League for Democracy, NLD's People Representative of Waingmaw Township in Kachin state and Awng Wa, the former 88 Kachin students' leader on the Sino-Burma border.

On August 15, 1946, Mr. Stevenson, officer of Burma's Frontier Areas Administration and Mr. North, special commissioner of Bhamo and Myitkyina met about 100 Kachin Duwas from Myitkyina, Bhamo, Danai (Tanai), Putao and Lashio in Myitkyina and warned them not to claim independence together with the Burmese.

Mr. Stevenson warned Kachin Duwas in a meeting held in a football field in Manhkring primary school in Myitkyina, "So, We are to give independence to Burmese soon, you (Kachin) don't take independence together with them. If you receive it together, you may be depressed by the Burmese someday."

Mr. Stevenson had continued, "We'd like to rule continuously for 10 years and give you independence. As we'd like to be grateful to you for your great help in fighting against Fascist Japan in northern Burma during WW II, we'd like to teach you and educate you 'how to rule country'.

Sama Duwa Sinwa Nawng angrily stood first and fought back with words against Mr. Stevenson saying "If Burmese depress us, we'll slaughter them again. We have slaughtered them in the past."

Duwa Wabaw Zau Rip had complained regarding the promise of political education programs for Kachins by the two British officers, "You did not build any school in Bhamo in 75 years of rule, Myitkyina during 50 years of rule and Putao in 35 years of rule. We don't believe you."

All Kachin leaders in the meeting raised their hands and rejected the warning and the offer of the two British officers as soon as they heard the voices of Duwa Sinwa Nawng and Wabaw Zau Rip, said Duwa Zau Awng who was teenager at that time and informally attended the meeting.

Duwa Zau Awng added, Kachin leaders at that time had also thought of forming the People's Republic of Kachin as the next step in the future after independence together with Burmese.

The London-based Duwa Mahkaw Hkun Sa, general secretary of Kachin National Council accused Burma's ruling junta pointing at Article 9 (c) under Chapter (1) in the junta's newly drafted constitution which was forcibly approved in the public referendum in May, 2008, "The Burma's ruling junta is trying to delete the name 'Kachin state' from Burma."

Now, all Kachin leaders believe that the lost rights of Kachins following Burma's Independence Day will be regained if a democratic system is ushered into Burma, first.

READ MORE---> Warning by Britishers to Kachins comes true...

Lawyers denied entry to Insein prison court

(DVB)–Six members of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions and four others who were arrested after helping victims of Cyclone Nargis appeared in Insein prison court without their lawyers on 10 February.

Phyo Phyo Aung, her father Dr Ne Win, Shein Yarzar, Aung Thant Zin Oo, Aung Kyaw San, Phone Pyit Kywe, Yin Yin Waing, Tin Tin Cho, Ni Mo Hlaing and Myat Thu were arrested for collecting rotting corpses in the aftermath of the cyclone and burying them.

Kyaw Hoe, Khin Htay Kywe and Maung Maung Latt, the lawyers representing the ten people, were not allowed to enter the court on the orders of special branch, a lawyer said.

Lawyer Kyaw Hoe said that MPs-elect Nyi Pu and Dr Tin Ming Htut had also appeared at the court without legal representation.

Kyaw Hoe said it was special branch, not the prison authorities, who had barred him from attending.

The lawyers wrote a letter to Tin Htut, the presiding judge at Western Rangoon district court, but he also rejected their appeal on the orders of special branch.

National League for Democracy legal advisor Thein Nyunt insisted that action should be taken against those who interfere with court procedures.

"If we are to maintain the right to a free trial, the court has a duty to prevent outside interference," he said.

"It won't be a free trial if lawyers are not allowed to represent their clients; this should be reported to the court. Their relatives should also report it to justice ministry."

NLD members Ma Cho and Theingi were also denied legal representation on 11 February, when their lawyer Myint Thaung was refused access to the court to defend them, according to party spokesman Nyan Win.

The two women were arrested five months ago and charged with having contact with illegal organisations.

Reporting by Nan Kham Kaew and Aye Nai

READ MORE---> Lawyers denied entry to Insein prison court...

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