UNFC pushes for a national convention

The United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) in its latest meeting held with its member organizations, ethnic armed groups and political groups have reached a common position to push for a national convention. The UNFC said that its aim is to include everyone in the drafting of a new federal democratic constitution.

During a three-day workshop held from July 5th to 7th 30 representatives from the ethnic armed alliance and political groups discussed the important of creating a convention outside of the Hluttaw [parliament] system before 2015.

The UNFC vice-chairperson, Padoh Saw David Thackapaw, told Karen News that representatives attending the workshop openly discussed the issue.

“We will push for a convention outside of the parliamentary process in order for the government and ethnic groups to be able to exchange their different political views and to enable a move towards a genuine federal principles-based-constitution. We will discuss and work through it step-by-step. We are now at the stage of discussing a future work plan.”

The UNFC’s proposed convention aims to include ethnic alliances members, ethnic armed groups, ethnic organizations, politics groups and civil society organizations.

During the workshop participants studied the conflict between the Indonesia government and the armed groups in Aceh State and the peace agreement reached between the two sides.

Padoh David Thackapaw said that the Aceh case is a good lesson that Burma’s ethnic armed groups can learn from.

Padoh Saw David Thackapaw said.

“If the international community monitors what the government and the ethnic groups peace process, it will be more effective. It is important that government follows and implement exactly what was agreed and signed off during the peace-talks. It is also important to get civil society organizations to support and be involved.”

The UNFC met with Burma’s government’s Peace Working delegations in an informal meeting and UNFC decided on six points to use as basic guidelines in its political meetings. The government decided to have a five-point guideline to use at a State level and eight points at a Union level when they hold meetings with ethnic armed groups.

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