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Ethnic leaders, experts discuss federal constitution drafting

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Leaders of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), ethnic leaders and international federalism experts are conducting a workshop drafting the federal constitution in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.

Under the title “Drafting Key Principles and Characteristics for a Federal Union of Burma”, UNFC leaders, local and international ethnic leaders as well as international experts are holding the workshop at the Chiangmai Orchid Hotel, which began on March 21 and will end on March 26.

In attendance are human right lawyer U Aung Htoo of Law Aid Network (LAN), leaders of the UNFC, Padoh Naw Zi Pohra Sein, the vice-chairperson of Karen National Union (KNU), plus local and international experts.

Workshopping key principles and characteristics for the federal union of Burma (Photo: Irrawaddy)
Workshopping key principles and characteristics for the federal union of Burma (Photo: Irrawaddy)

“The discussed topics include how to share power with states and central governments in an established federal union, to recognize rights for ethnic groups within the states, and how to share natural resources,” said Dr. Nai Pon Nya Mon, advisor of Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Center (ENAC), in an interview with MNA.

Nai Pon Nya Mon added that at the workshop, the participants will also discuss ways in which the federal system might be structured, how power can be divided between the states and central government, how Hluttaw (parliament) is composed and the establishment of security forces.

The 6-day workshop is comprised of two sessions; law experts discuss the federal draft from March 21 to 23 and then from March 24 to 26, the attendants will analyze the federal draft. There is an opportunity to amend points as necessary and the UNFC leaders will then make an analysis and discuss the draft.

The workshop is facilitated by ENAC. At the workshop, besides the topic of ethnic rights, the topic of the rights of minor ethnic groups within the states is also being discussed. The federal union draft will be printed as books and the draft will be also discussed at peace conference.

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