End Myanmar military rule; bring back genuine ‘Union Day’

Members of Chin Democracy and Human Rights Network and other activists have called for an end to military rule in Burma and for the restoration of the Panglong agreement so that the country can adopt a federal democratic system.

Union Day demonstration outside the Myanmar Embassy in South Korea

We are a group of ethnic people from Myanmar and a collection of other human rights activists. Today, we are holding a pro-democracy and ethnic freedom rights demonstration in front of the Myanmar Embassy. This is in commemoration of Union Day, which started in Panglong Town, Shan State, Myanmar on 12 February 1947.

‘Union Day’ is the birthday of the Myanmar nation. On this day, 23 representatives from four territories, which comprise the Shan state, the Kachin hill, the Chin hill and mainland Burma, signed an agreement in Panglong to form the Union of Myanmar. To honor this historical agreement, Myanmar people celebrate Union Day across the nation on 12 February every year. This day is the most important day in modern Myanmar’s history.

These four territories are also representative of almost the entire territory of the current Myanmar region as drawn in the country’s map. Not only did the Panglong agreement pave the way for the formation of the Myanmar nation, it also enabled the country to gain independence from the British emperor.

Significantly, the Panglong agreement guaranteed the people freedom in both the ethnic minority territories and mainland Burma and included such things as equality and sharing together in the country’s prosperity. The core issue of the Panglong agreement was to setup “a federal system of government full autonomy in internal administration”.

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But the country’s successive rulers, Myanmar military governments, have never implemented the Panglong agreement and have not respected the Union Day since 1962, when the country fell under military government rule completely. From that time, the military abolished the Panglong agreement and Union Day has never been honoured in its original spirit since then. Instead the military government wrongly represents Union Day and misleads the people from the real essence of its goal.

In recent years, the military government deliberately drafted a constitution to keep military control over the country, which is against the principle of the Panglong agreement, such as a 25 per cent limit on seats for the military in parliament. Several ethnic groups, KIO, NMSP, UWSA and SSA-N, requested that the draft constitution be a genuine one ahead of its creation. The military government, however, flatly rejected this proposal.

Furthermore, Myanmar’s military government also rejected the United Nations proposal for a tripartite dialogue.

It is clear that the Myanmar military’s attitude has been shown to be deceitful with regards to its country’s people and before the international community.

Therefore, we, the All Ethnic Democracy and Human Rights Network, demand that the Myanmar military junta:

  • stop military rule and do not interfere with any civilian rule.
  • restore and bring back the Panglong agreement and build the country according to a federal democratic system.
  • immediately cease its human rights violations and religious repression.
  • immediately relieve the people from political and economic repression.

Furthermore, we ask that the Korean people and the international community show staunch support for the cause of democracy and call for the end of ethnic repression in Burma.

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