Yesterday, October 15, 2015, marked the signing of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) between the Myanmar/Burma government and eight (8) of the country’s ethnic armed groups that, for almost five decades, have been fighting for their right to self – determination. Said peace accord, also known as the “framework for political dialogue” was declared a top priority by the government when former top Army general Thein Sein assumed office in 2011.
It is however sad to note that peace will more likely remain elusive for the peoples of Myanmar as more than half of the ethnic groups involved in the peace process have declined to participate in today’s peace pact ceremony amid questions of the accord not being fully inclusive.
According to reports, among those who will not sign the ceasefire agreement are the Kachin Independence Organisation, along with the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), commonly known as the Shan State Army, the New Mon State Party and the Karenni National Progressive Party and the National Democratic Alliance Army–Eastern Shan State.
The Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC), a solidarity movement of peace advocates in the Asia pacific region, today appeal to the government of Myanmar to immediately craft a win-win solution to make its nationwide ceasefire agreement inclusive of all parties, particularly women that could once and for all put to rest the cycle of violence, distrust and discrimination in Myanmar.
Myanmar needs an inclusive peace: a peace founded on the fundamental recognition of the democratic rights and aspirations of all the peoples of Myanmar. The three years of peace negotiations will be put to waste, and yesterday’s ceremony in Nyay Pyi Taw will become meaningless if those who should be involved in the process are left out.
APSOC likewise urges the government of Myanmar to immediately stop military attacks specifically in the territories of Shan State, Kachin and Karen and withdraw their military troops from the said areas as a sign of the government’s sincerity in fostering peace—celebrating a peace pact in the capital of Nay Pyi Taw while launching military attacks will simply put the credibility of the peace process in doubt.
Now is also the time for the ASEAN, the United Nations and the rest of the international community to forge stronger solidarity to the peoples of Myanmar. We urge the ASEAN and UN to closely monitor the peace process especially now that Myanmar is heading towards its nationwide elections in November.
For the sake of peace and genuine democracy, an inclusive and sustainable peace process must now find its place in Myanmar.