For the nationwide ceasefire agreement to succeed there needs to be more participation from community based organisations (CBOs) in the peace process said Min Aung Htoo the organiser of the CBOs and Peace Forum (Mon State).
He was speaking at the forum, which was held at Shwe Myint Mo Tun Hotel in Mawlamyine Town, Mon State from 27th to 28th January.
He said: “The peace process has already taken a long time, so we would like to urge both leaders to talk as quickly as possible to get peace. There also needs to be a joint monitoring body established to oversee the ceasefire process. While some people are pushing both sides to quickly sign the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) we are not the same as them. We believe that to build peace through discussion both sides need to have equal rights.”
Though there have already been six rounds of talks between the government’s Union-level Peace Working Committee (UPWC) and the ethnic armed groups Nationwide Ceasefire Coordinating Team (NCCT) there has been no progress.
Recently there was a protest in Kamarwat Sub-Township in Mudon Township, Mon State calling for both sides to sign the NCA on 12th February 2015, Union Day.
[Whether this protest was genuine is debatable, there have been reports that people who did not agree with the protest were tricked and forced to take part in it by local administrators.]
Nai Hongsa the leader of the NCCT told the forum that the NCCT have not been delaying signing the NCA. Because they want to avoid any battle clashes following the signing of the NCA they are looking for concrete political guarantees that will ensure there are no more battle clashes. He said that if such guarantees are not obtained before the NCA is signed it will just be signatures on a piece of paper.
Nai Min Min Nwe the vice chairman of the Civilian Committee to Watch the Ceasefire Process in Mon State said that if the role of the people and CBOs in Burma’s peace process is increased there could be further progress.
He said: “Both sides should have some give and take to end up with a fair solution. If they are still intransigent and do not look at the current situation to solve this conflict that has been running for many years the conflict cannot be solved. If the people are included and involved we believe that the situation might improve.”
Over 160 people from about 70 CBOs attended the forum.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI