The peace process will be successful if there’s a democratic policy all the armed forces follow under a civilian-led government, said a Chin National Front leader during the 72nd Chin National Day in Thantlang township.
“According to article 7 of the Panglong Agreement, our Union must create a democracy but until today, we still don’t have it. To implement it, we have agreed to the NCA (nationwide ceasefire agreement) and to build a Union based on democracy and federalism,” Dr Lian H. Sakhong, CNF vice chairman-2, said in his opening speech.
This is something State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has been advocating for, and the commander-in-chief of the Burma Army and ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) need to follow her, Sakhong said. “Otherwise the civil war will never end in this country.”
Democracy needs to come before Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and Security Sector Reform (SSR) but there’s differences of opinion about this between the Burma Army and EAOs, he explained.
Aung San Suu Kyi also attended the commemoration and expressed her gratitude for the CNF’s involvement in the peace process. “I am very much elated, and very much grateful, over the fact that the Chin representatives have been participating actively in the Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong Conference in the interest of the Union,” Suu Kyi said in her opening speech.
“During the period of our government’s administration, we have identified the Chin State as a priority state for development, and made contributions in all sectors. We have given priorities to communications and road transportation so that there would be no difficulties for transportation because of the geographical conditions. Priorities have also been given to the sectors of education and health and electricity, which have long been left behind,” she said.