People view on NC
Mon 09 Oct 2006, Nai Sri Mon Chan
The views expressed here are solely my personal views, and they do not reflect those of the organizations with which I am now or previously have been affiliated. And, I would like to emphasis that they are merely “views and perceptions” and they may not be “the truth or the reality”. I also accept that other people will, in fact, have vastly differing views and opinions and, as always, I do respect and accommodate those differing views.
IMNA; What do you want to tell the UN Security Council and the international community concerning the National Convent?.
Siri Mon Chan; Everyone, including the UNSC and the international community, has already been aware that the so-called national convention held by the SPDC is unfair and illegitimate. Both the composition and procedure of the National Convention are far from fair and legitimate. In an attempt to avoid the pressure from the UN and international community, the then Prime Minister Khin Nyunt announced a policy and road map for the future of Burma on 30th August 2003. According to that policy, the reconvening of the National Convention that has been adjourned since 1996 is the first step in their road map (7-road map) to democracy. However, it is merely a declaration of the SPDC intention and determination to openly ignore the results of the internationally recognized free and fair elections of 1990 and, then to shape the country’s future to its own will and desires. The convention is undemocratic and unrepresentative and, is pursued without the consent and participation of the majority of people in Burma. Most of the delegates to the NC are handpicked by the SPDC and consequently the NC is just to define and legalize the military regime’s role in future government. The composition and working procedure of the NC do not permit delegates to express their view freely. The delegates and representatives of the political parties and ethnic nationalities found it impossible to participate and, as a result some walked out of the convention at a very early stage.
IMNA; If the government concludes the NC this year how will it benefit the people?
Siri Mon Chan; The so-called National Convention will not benefit the majority of people in Burma no matter whether it is concluded this year or else. The only people that will benefit from the so-called National Convention are the military regime and its associates. Based on the “104 Principles” of this convention, a new constitution will be drafted in favour of the domination of military in all aspects of national affairs. The intended constitution will allow only former military officers to be President with absolute power, gives military the right to stage a coup detach, and military officers to be people with commanding powers in the different states and regions as well. It will not be the one that embody basis human rights and that emphasizes on fundamental and equal rights for all citizens and nationalities. Therefore, if the national convention is one way or another, concluded and then the new constitution is drafted and approved under its own terms and conditions, Burma will be technically under the military rule forever.
IMNA; What is your opinion on the ethnic cease-fire groups’ decision to attend the NC?
Siri Mon Chan; There are different forms and kinds of ceasefire groups. Their political ideology, their vision, mission, objectives and future directions differ considerably. Some ceasefire groups merely appear as an armed group and have no concrete and specific political platforms .On the other hand, some ceasefire groups such as the KIO, the NMSP and the SSA(North) has been waging war with the successive Burmese government on basis of federalism, self-determination and equal rights for individuals and nationalities. As a result these ceasefire groups including the NMSP have decided to attend the convention with hope of having an opportunity to settle political problems by means of political dialogue. Therefore, these ceasefire groups were much disappointed when they found it impossible to participate and express their views freely in the convention.
Another ceasefire groups such the DKBA and others are not concerned with the composition and procedure of the convention as they have no concrete political platforms, different political ideologies and, hence they have no requirements of political dialogue and finding political solutions in the convention. Their decisions to attend the convention are mainly based on their groups’ short-term interests and self-survival.
IMNA; What do you think of the New Mon State Party’s decision to attend the NC as observers?
Siri Mon Chan; The NMSP decides to attend the NC as observers with a wait-and-see approach. Most of the NMSP leaders and its members see no benefits for the NMSP and for the Mon people as a whole in attending this convention held under the SPDC’s own terms and conditions. The NMSP has fully and actively participated in the previous convention with the intention of finding political solutions by means of political dialogue. However, when the NMSP found it impossible to fully participate and express its views freely in the convention, it, in a way, boycotted the national convention by not sending full delegations and instead just sends a team of observers. It is indeed a very sensitive issue and the NMSP has found it difficult to boycott the convention completely. If possible, the NNSP still desires to improve relation with the SPDC so that the remaining political problems can be solved by means of political dialogues and peace can be maintained in the Mon State. In fact, Mon people are deeply divided on this issue. Not everyone agrees with the attending or sending of observers by the NMSP to the convention. And, at the same time not everyone is agree to boycott the national convention completely by not sending any one at all. Even though most of the Mon people see no benefits out of the ceasefire agreement and the attending of convention by the NMSP, some of our Mon in some areas who have benefited from the ceasefire are still pleased to see the NMSP to maintain ceasefire with the SPDC and attend the NC so that relationship between the two can be improved. It is a dilemma for the NMSP. So the NMSP choose the one between the two extremes. The NMSP assumes that relation with the SPDC, though it is not a cordial one, can still be maintained and the NMSP can still firmly stand on its political platform and its long-term political objectives. So, under the current political climate and circumstances I personally accept that the NMSP has made an appropriate decision in sending a team of observers to the convention.
IMNA; If the NMSP withdraws from the NC how will it affect the convention and the NMSP?
Siri Mon Chan; If the NMSP completely withdraws from the NC, it will have a great impact on the image of the NC. One of the main purposes of the NC is to show to world that all the ethnic-ceasefire groups are actively and harmoniously participating in the national reconciliation and nation-building process despite international criticisms and condemnations. Therefore, by hook or by crook, the SPDC is pressuring all the ceasefire groups to attend the convention.
On the other side, if the NMSP completely withdraw from the NC, there will be a constant and severe pressure on the NMSP. But it will be too early to anticipate that the ceasefire agreement with the SPDC will collapse as result of the withdrawal of the NMSP from the convention. Under these political climate and circumstances, it will be a further damage to the image of the NC in particular and to the SPDC in general if the ceasefire agreement with a major ethnic ceasefire groups has collapsed. So I anticipate that, for the time being under these political climate, the ceasefire agreement between the SPDC and the NMSP will still remain intact in spite of the withdrawal of the NNSP from the convention though indeed there will be frequent and more pressure from the SPDC.