The All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF) reiterated on Friday that it would join hands with the ethnic armed groups and pro-democracy forces in Burma and abroad in working to achieve peace and national reconciliation in the country.
Reforms must be measured by the health, education and land ownership rights being enjoyed by the people, said ABSDF chairman Thanke on Thursday—the 24th anniversary of the founding of the student rebel group.
“If the current peace process is to be continually implemented, equal and dignified political negotiations are needed,” he said. “Apart from negotiating with organizations separately, some matters which reflect national character and the entire country’s affairs should be discussed and negotiated together. The ABSDF believes all-inclusive dialogue is fundamental.”
He also said that valuable lessons should be drawn from cease-fire agreements which did not provide room for much needed political dialogue or political settlement.
“Only negotiations adhering to justice, equality and political rights will bear everlasting national reconciliation,” he said.
Speaking to Mizzima, Thanke said that launching military operations during a cease-fire jeopardizes mutual trust and create limitations on any ongoing dialogue.
“We need to create a political atmosphere for the entire nation for the sake of trust and confidence. Moreover, the remaining political prisoners should be released too,” he said.
A ceremony to mark the ABSDF’s 24 years was held on Friday in the Karen National Union’s 7th Brigade. It was reportedly attended by allied pro-democracy groups and ethnic forces.
The ABSDF was born out of the 8-8-88 popular uprising and was established at the Thai-Burmese border after thousands of students fled to border areas to join the armed resistance.
The student army released a statement on Friday in commemoration of the 627 students who were killed in action and 399 students who were injured during the struggle.