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Open Letter to President Thein Sein and Ethnic Armed Groups

By Daw Aung San Suu Kyi  •  July 28, 2011

(Unofficial Translation)

1)     U Thein Sein, President, Union of Myanmar
2)     Kachin Independence Organization (KIO)
3)     Karen National Union (KNU)
4)     New Mon State Party (NMSP)
5)     Shan State Army (SSA)

28 July 2011

The (post-independence) Union of Burma was co-founded by different nationalities. Like siblings from a single family, all these nationalities had cohabited this land since time immemorial. Therefore, forging peaceful ties and unity among the nationalities is of paramount importance.

Of late, there have been news stories about military conflicts between the country’s Armed Forces and the armed nationalities groups in various regions such as the Kachin, the Shan, the Karen, the Mon and so on.  These conflicts are resulting in the tragic outcomes such as loss of life, destruction of costly physical infrastructures and economic projects and a condition of general deterioration.  Besides causing enormous sufferings among local communities, these conflicts come with a potential risk of spilling over and spread across Burma’s immediate neighborhoods.

The use of force to resolve the conflicts is only going to be mutually harmful to all parties concerned.   National reconciliation and unity cannot be built on might.  It can only be pursued through political negotiations.  Only through political negotiations can genuine national unity be established.  Only such unity among nationalities can guarantee the country’s (peaceful) future.  In the absence of genuine peace and reconciliation the potential spread of civil war always lurks beneath.

Conflicts among nationalities can surely be resolved on the basis of mutual respect and mutual understanding, leading ultimately to the Union’s peace and stability.  Only when the Union is genuinely peaceful and stable can nation building programs be implemented successfully.  Therefore, with the sole purpose of promoting the well-being of all nationalities in the land I call for  immediate ceasefires and the peaceful resolution of the conflicts.

On my part I am prepared, and pledge, to do everything in my power towards the cessation of armed conflicts and building peace in the Union.


Aung San Suu Kyi
54/56 University Avenue, Rangoon

Click here to see the original press release in Burmese.

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