August 30, 2016

To be able to live in unity

A genuine Democratic Federal Union and Union Peace Conference – 21st Century Panglong are two concepts that are famous among the people of Myanmar and beyond. And these two concepts are directly connected with the Panglong Pact signed in 1947 with the ethnic races inhabiting the mountainous regions. The original objective was to wrestle back the independence from the British colonialists who exercised the divide-and-rule policy to separate Burma Proper led by General Aung San from Federated Shan States, Kachin Hill Tracts and Chin Hill District led by ethnic leaders.
In this regard, it is relevant to discuss the spirit of Panglong, the commitment of Panglong and the Panglong Pact. The very essence of the Panglong Pact is to regain independence and to establish a federal union. Nevertheless, the establishment of a federal union is easier said than done. The over 60-year armed conflicts have demonstrated the sensitivity and subtlety of the right to secede from the mainland, which was incorporated into the constitution of 1947. Despite this right, the very essence of the Panglong Conference and the Panglong Pact was the unification of the mainland and the hilly regions. This is in fact the spirit of Panglong.
Such being the case, it is of utmost importance for all those attending the 21st century Panglong to find the ways and means to be able to build a federal union based on the spirit of Panglong. In this function, it is worth noting that the principle of federalism has eight basic characteristics – the self-rule or state constitutions for all states; investment of three powers in all states; the right to enact the constitutions of the states in such a way as not to be contrary to the federal constitution; division of powers between the federal union government and state governments according to the federal constitution; bicameral system with the upper house being composed of an equal number of members of parliament for all states; foreign relations, defence and monetary policy and union transportation being entrusted to the federal union whereas the residual powers, to the states; a combination of self-rule and shared rule; and establishment of local governments.
The Union Peace Conference – 21st century Panglong is firmly believed to be able to seek the ways and means to build a genuine democratic federal union where all our national races can reside together in unison, with all races and all entities being able to enjoy equal status and equal development.


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