Peace en­voy urges re­li­gious, eth­nic har­mony

The Myanmar Times - - News - LUN MIN MANG lun­min­mang@mm­times.com

IN ad­di­tion to es­tab­lish­ing cease­fires be­tween armed groups, Myan­mar’s peace process should build har­mo­nious re­la­tions be­tween other groups in so­ci­ety, said U Tin Myo Win, the govern­ment’s lead peace ne­go­tia­tor and a vet­eran Na­tional League for Democ­racy mem­ber.

Speak­ing at an event mark­ing the In­ter­na­tional Day of Peace at Yan­gon’s Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Peace Cen­ter, U Tin Myo Win said that since tak­ing of­fice in April, the NLD’s top pri­or­ity has been re­solv­ing ten­sions be­tween armed groups and bring­ing about a sus­tain­able, last­ing peace.

“Mu­tual trust, mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and co­op­er­a­tion” are the most im­por­tant strate­gies to solve decades­old armed con­flicts be­tween dif­fer­ent eth­nic armed or­gan­i­sa­tions and the cen­tral govern­ment, he said.

But he added that a broader ap­proach to achiev­ing peace should be con­sid­ered.

“If we say peace, it should en­com­pass, in ad­di­tion to the armed con­flicts, the non-peace­ful sit­u­a­tions among dif­fer­ent [re­li­gious] groups,” U Tin Myo Win said.

He then thanked lead­ers from dif­fer­ent re­li­gions who at­tended the event for their pres­ence.

U Tin Myo Win’s sen­ti­ments were echoed in the UN sec­re­tary gen­eral’s own state­ment on the In­ter­na­tional Day of Peace

“Peace is about much more than putting weapons aside. It is about build­ing a global so­ci­ety in which peo­ple live free from poverty and share the ben­e­fits of pros­per­ity. It is about grow­ing to­gether and sup­port­ing each other as a uni­ver­sal fam­ily,” said the mes­sage, read on the sec­re­tary gen­eral’s be­half by UN­HCR rep­re­sen­ta­tive Giuseppe De Vin­cen­tiis.

With­out solv­ing un­der­ly­ing po­lit­i­cal prob­lems, which have their his­tor­i­cal roots in eth­nic griev­ances, sus­tain­able peace and na­tional rec­on­cil­i­a­tion can­not be built, Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong, vice chair of the Chin Na­tional Front, told the au­di­ence at the event.

With­out mu­tual re­spect and recog­ni­tion among na­tional eth­nic races, the decades-long armed con­flicts in eth­nic ar­eas will not cease, he added.

“If we are headed in the di­rec­tion of build­ing a ‘na­tional state’ un­der a sin­gle race, re­li­gion, lan­guage, it is a dan­ger­ous path­way.”

The govern­ment is tak­ing ac­tion in this re­gard in­clud­ing the draft­ing of terms of ref­er­ence for na­tional-level di­a­logues to be held “eth­ni­cally, re­gion­ally and top­i­cally” in states and re­gions, said U Tin Myo Win.

He added that the govern­ment be­lieves these na­tional-level talks will be held in early Novem­ber.

Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

U Thein Zaw, U Aung Kyi, U Zaw Aye Maung and Dr Aung Tun Thet at­tend an event mark­ing In­ter­na­tional Day of Peace at the Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and Peace Cen­ter in Yan­gon yes­ter­day.

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