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Calling For a Nationwide Ceasefire and Inviting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to Meet with All Ethnic Nationality Organizations

By National Council of the Union of Burma  •  November 9, 2011

The National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB) calls for the negotiation of a Nationwide Ceasefire for the benefit of all the peoples of Burma. The ethnic nationalities and the government have all called for a ceasefire. It is time to act to achieve the goal of peace.

The persisting conflict in Burma is causing hardship for all parties. The Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) has suffered thousands of casualties from military offensives. From the early months of 2011 through September 2011, more than 1725 Burma Army soldiers were killed and thousands injured in the Karen, Kachin and Shan states. In the Kachin, Shan, and Karenni states, 150 soldiers have been confirmed killed—mostly from the Tatmadaw’s Light Infantry Division 99 in the six-day attack on the Kachin Independence Army’s 4th Brigade—and hundred of others have been injured.

As a direct result of the ongoing conflict, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is increasing. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that Burma had 451,000 IDPs in 2010 alone. More recently, over 25,000 people have fled military hostilities near the Burma-China border. Even more refugees have escaped Burma due to violence, with cross border migration into Thailand alone exceeding 2 million in 2010. Human rights abuses are also increasing across Burma. The Tatmadaw has been accused of serious abuses in conflict areas, including rape, murder, and torture of civilians, and using convicts as human shields.

In addition to the violence, displacement of civilians, and human rights violations, the ongoing conflict is causing broader problems across Burma. The Burmese economy is in shambles with a deficit of 3.2 billion US dollars for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Drug trafficking remains a major problem, with President Obama recently saying that Burma was one of three countries that “failed demonstrably” to make sufficient or meaningful efforts to adhere to the obligations they have undertaken in international counter-narcotic agreements in the last year. Furthermore, the health and education of our youth have suffered in recent years, and infrastructure throughout Burma remains stagnated in 19th century conditions.

These conditions belie Burma’s great potential. Just fifty years ago, Burma was an emerging economic powerhouse. Burma is rich in natural resources, and once our economy is repaired, our economic advancement will benefit all in Burma, as well as our neighbors. With a cessation of hostilities, we can improve our economy, we can meet our international obligations, we can improve our health and educations systems, and we can modernize our infrastructure.

Burma is our home. These all are our problems. And we are prepared to address them. In order to move forward, we must first end hostilities through the conclusion of a meaningful Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.

While the NCUB acknowledges recent conciliatory steps by the government, including meetings between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Thein Sein’s government, the initial release of political prisoners, and the stop in construction of Myitsone Dam, Burma has a long road before we reach peace and stability. A Nationwide Ceasefire, negotiated with all stakeholders at the table, would help move Burma down this road.

The NCUB welcomes the decision by the NLD Executives to meet with the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), as well as the recent announcement of broad political consultations within the party.

The NCUB requests that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD meet with all ethnic leaders and use the meetings to reiterate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s previous offer to mediate negotiations between ethnic leaders and the Tatmadaw.
The NCUB calls for the U Thein Sein government to recognize the NLD’s capacity to negotiate for all and to support the NLD in its endeavors.

The NCUB also calls upon the U Thein Sein government to open negotiations with all relevant stakeholders represented at the table in order to end the hostilities in Burma and establish a Nationwide Ceasefire.

Contact: Saw David Tharckabaw Chairman 66 8 4332 8199, U Maung Maung General Secretary 1 571 234 9258

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This post is in: Press Release

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