Kachin par­ties ob­ject to eth­nic mi­nori­ties’ calls for sep­a­rate state

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

KACHIN eth­nic politi­cians have cracked down hard on an at­tempt by Lisu and Red Shan ac­tivists to call for their own state within Myan­mar. In a state­ment is­sued on Septem­ber 7, the Kachin Po­lit­i­cal Co­op­er­a­tion Com­mit­tee an­nounced its ob­jec­tions to the de­mand, which was voiced at the 21st-cen­tury Pan­g­long Con­fer­ence.

“We’re still strug­gling for our equal na­tional rights. That kind of de­mand could split our unity. The Lisu, the Red Shan and other Kachin tribes live to­gether in the Kachin land. First, we have to re­alise the prom­ise of Pan­g­long – then we can ad­dress other prob­lems,” said Labya Jaw San Naw, a spokesper­son for the Kachin Demo­cratic Party.

The Kachin Po­lit­i­cal Co­op­er­a­tion Com­mit­tee com­prises the KDP, the Lhaovo Na­tional Unity and De­vel­op­ment Party (LNUDP) and the Kachin State Democ­racy Party (KSDP).

“Be­fore in­de­pen­dence, just a few Lisu lived in the area. Af­ter­ward, Lisu from China ar­rived, and now the Lhaovo/Rawang and the Lisu pop­u­la­tions are al­most the same. We want to live to­gether peace­fully. When the Lisu asked for their own state, peo­ple crit­i­cised their de­mand,” said B Haung Zal, a spokesper­son for the Lhaovo Na­tional Unity and De­vel­op­ment Party.

Crit­ics in Chipwe town­ship, Kachin State, have pointed out that a 1955 elec­toral law that listed the Kachin eth­nic groups does not in­clude the Lisu.

“We will dis­cuss the mat­ter with the LNUDP and the Tai Leng Na­tion­al­i­ties De­vel­op­ment party,” said Labya Jaw San Naw.

“Re­solv­ing the mul­ti­ple de­sires for state­hood could be one of the ma­jor chal­lenges when the time comes to try to build a fed­eral union. Now it is time to dis­cuss the foun­da­tion of the state. This is when we need to be united,” he added.

The KPCC state­ment ex­pressed strong ob­jec­tions to the de­mand by the Lisu and the Red Shan, and stressed the need to find a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion that re­flected cur­rent re­al­i­ties.

The state­ment also called for a cease­fire be­tween the Tat­madaw and the armed groups in ad­vance of the next round of peace talks.

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