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Home > Main Library > Politics and Government > Federalism, ethnic conflict and the politics of national reconciliation > Ethnic Nationalities Council (Union of Burma)

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Ethnic Nationalities Council (Union of Burma)

Individual Documents

Title: Discrimination, Conflict and Corruption: The Ethnic States of Burma
Date of publication: 02 November 2011
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Since achieving independence in January 1948, successive Burmese governments, elected and military dictatorships, have sought to address the complex issues involving the country’s many ethnic groups. They have sought to do this primarily through confronting a perceived separatist agenda pursued by the many ethnic groups who have taken up arms against the various governments. However, ethnic groups have called for a genuine federal union based upon the principles of equality for all of the country’s citizens. It is this that is the motivating factor behind the continuation of armed struggle, as central Burmese administrations have refused to concede to the political grievances of the ethnic groups. Now that a new, ostensibly civilian, government has taken over the administration of the country, the time has come for new efforts to fully understand the current problems affecting the ethnic groups and to re-evaluate those previous strategies that have continued to perpetuate armed conflict. While armed conflict has become a dominant factor among the problems affecting ethnic peoples, it is not the only one. Wide-scale discrimination against ethnic groups, prevalent corruption, and human rights abuses have continued throughout the decades of civil war. The Governments of Burma, especially from 1962 until 2010, have pursued only a military solution to what is primarily a political problem, and have consequently given ethnic groups no other option but to engage in armed struggle. Ethnic citizens, therefore, have been regarded as possible insurgents without just cause. They have been discriminated against up to the present day. While the ceasefire agreements of the late eighties and early nineties have characterised some of the achievements that could be found by co-operating with the Military Government’s framework, they still failed to alleviate poverty and inequality for most of the ethnic populations. Many of those groups who had not totally supported the military government’s line found the original concessions that they had been granted gradually eroded. The fact that the previous Military Government’s response to the ceasefire groups call for equal recognition led to the coerced creation of Border Guard Forces (BGF), in which ethnic armed forces accepted Burma Army authority, demonstrated that the military still did not understand what was needed for the ethnic groups to realise their aspirations and did not trust them to be equal members of the union. While the new government has made a number of concessions to reform laws and instil democratic values, it must recognise the equality of all peoples of the country. The failure of the BGF programme, the resumption of war in 2011 in Kachin State and the widening of conflict in Shan and Karen States clearly show that the ethnic issue needs to be addressed not by military force but by political compromise. It is this solution that must recognise and redress the inequality that many of the ethnic minority populati on feel."
Author/creator: Paul Keenan
Language: English
Source/publisher: Strategic Studies Department, Ethnic Nationalities Council - Union of Burma
Format/size: pdf (592K - OBL version; 698K - original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.encburma.net/images/files/publications/Discrimination-Conflict-and-Corruption-Report-1.pdf'>http://www.encburma.net/images/files/publications/Discrimination-Conflict-and-Corruption-Report-1.p...
Date of entry/update: 02 November 2011