NCA non-signatory groups can address Peace Conference

15 January 2016
NCA non-signatory groups can address Peace Conference
Union Peace Conference held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre (MICC-2) in Nay Pyi Taw on 12 January, 2015. Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima

Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) non-signatories, who have been designated as ‘special invitees,’ will be permitted to address the first Union Peace Conference (UPC) which started on 12 January, according to sources from Naypyidaw.
A Shan representative said: “They can present their case with regards to each thematic issue chosen by the UPC organizers.”
So far, only representatives from the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) are attending as special invitees the other invitees have boycotted the conference.
A senior Shan politician said: “The decision to allow the non-signatories to speak should have been made known earlier. Now it is too late [for the non-signatory groups] to change their minds.”
The Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC), a 48-member group made up of 16 members from three key stakeholder blocs: the government, parliament and the military; ethnic armed organizations (EAOs); and political parties selected the following issues to discuss:
Politics: Basic principles for a federal democracy
Social resettlement and reconstruction for IDPs (internally displaced people)
Economy: Tax and revenue sharing
Security: Basic principles for Union security and defence
Land and natural resources: Management and distribution
The five-day gathering will end on 16 January after the presentation of reports and conclusions (“not decisions,” according to another Shan participant) from each thematic group.
Concerns have been raised by critics, many of whom had experienced decisions pre-determined by the then ruling military junta at the 14-year-long National Convention (NC), better known as the Nyaung Hnabin (Two Banyan Trees) Convention, held to draw up the basic principles for what became the 2008 constitution.
Sai Nyunt Lwin, General Secretary of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) said: “We don’t want more Nyaung Hnabins.”
His party will be represented by some of its younger members at the UPC, he added.
The first UPC is expected to be followed by state/regional level political dialogues where proposals for each five key topics will be further developed.
A total of 1,136 participants and observers including representatives from foreign embassies, UN agencies, INGOs, government recognized organizations and CSOs have been invited.
Courtesy BNI