September 14, 2016

Message of U Htin Kyaw, President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, to the International Day of Democracy which falls on 15 September 2016

U Htin Kyaw
U Htin Kyaw

My fellow citizens,
On this auspicious occasion of the International Day of Democracy, it is my earnest wish that all Myanmar citizens enjoy the full essence of democracy and that good democratic practices prevail to that end.
In recent history, our people were deprived of democracy for decades. The people of Myanmar have strived for and gained freedom from injustice and inequality, and Myanmar is now on the right track to democracy. At the same time, the people of Myanmar must continue to work together to consolidate and strengthen Democracy to make it sustainable.
My fellow citizens,
Democracy is the political system in which the strength and power of the people are its main pillars and the democratic system put desires and hopes of the people at the center of its agenda.
In a democratic system, representatives of people or representatives that represent the majority consider matters of the country and make decisions. Nevertheless, in doing so, opinions of minority cannot be ignored since democratic system respects fundamental freedoms and rights of individuals and the minority. Therefore, in democratic countries, participation of the people is respected in finding solutions to the political issues.
The recently held Union Peace Conference-21 st Century Panglong epitomizes the above-mentioned principle.
To end the armed conflicts which stemmed from differences among the brothers and sisters and achieve long lasting peace, national reconciliation and emergence of a democratic federal union as per people’s desire, representatives of different ethnic groups and organizations, as well as individual experts, took part in the Conference and presented diverse perspectives in a transparent manner.
The issues raised at the first meeting of the 21 st Century Panglong Conference will be further discussed at the national level discussions. Peace negotiations  at  forthcoming  political dialogues  will continue with the aim of the emergence of a democratic  federal union, acceptable to the entire population. This is the practice of democratic system in which all citizens can participate in the process without distinction of being majority or minority.
This democratic practice will bring about peace and prosperity to the country, and it is firmly believed that the people of this country will be able to enjoy freedom, justice and equality.
My fellow citizens,
The theme of this year  is “Democracy 2030”, the theme selected by the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The theme aims to link the future of democracy, youths and the role of all parliaments with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The year 2030 is not in the far distant future. In order for the transformation of Myanmar democratic process from transition  stage to consolidation stage, it is necessary to strengthen political culture of the people  including  the  new  generation  of  young people. The success  of  the  democratization of  a country is  measured by the wellbeing  of its people and we must put our utmost efforts to bring changes which are people-oriented and people-centered.
Myanmar is striving for national reconciliation and peace, constitutional amendments for emergence of a democratic federal union and crafting a common national identity. Regardless of whether this journey is near or far, we must move ahead.
It  must be stressed that the sustainable development goals can only be achieved by a responsible society which accepts decision of majority, respects minority, tolerates differences and values democratic culture and in an environment where transparency, accountability and tranquility prevails.
In order to create conducive environment, it is necessary to strengthen democratic foundation such as Hluttaws, political parties, electoral system, civil society organizations and laws and rules, by learning from the past and reviewing the present and making the preparation for the future.
My fellow citizens,
It is evident that in our endeavours to achieve sustainable development, all brothers and sisters will need to march hand-in-hand no matter where they come from, the hills or lowland, states or regions.
Therefore, on this auspicious occasion of the International Day of Democracy, I strongly urge my fellow citizens to contribute to our common efforts of building a peaceful democratic federal union based on democratic spirit and practices, mutual understanding, respect, trust and friendship.


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