Tue 31 Aug 2010
Filed under: Inside Burma
Burma’s ethnic Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) has put its foot down and in a statement today has reiterated that it will not transform its armed-wing the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) till a genuine federal union comes about and lasting peace is restored in Burma.If the ruling junta restores lasting peace through protracted dialogue with the KIO and implements the goals and aims set forth in the 1947 Panglong Agreement, which was signed by Kachin and other ethnic leaders for a multi-ethnic union with equal rights, the KIO will transform its armed-wing and other departments, the KIO statement released on August 30 said.
The statement made it clear that the KIO’s stance and goal are based on democracy (existing sovereignty of the people) in a peaceful and developed country.
Wawhkyung Sin Wa, Deputy General Secretary of KIO said, the statement will be important and meaningful for any group or organization related to the KIO as well as the Kachin people.
For the first time in its over 16 year ceasefire period, the KIO was ordered on August 22 to surrender weapons from September 1 by the junta.
The surrender order came in the wake of the junta and KIO meeting over 15 times on the contentious Border Guard Force issue, where the regime demanded transformation of the KIA.
The junta has repeatedly rejected the KIO’s proposal for a political dialogue before the armed-wing issue is addressed, said KIO officials.
On the junta’s controversial November 7 elections, the KIO has, however, stated that it would like it to be “free and fair”.
In order to inform pro-democracy groups, the statement pointed out that the KIO will cooperate with whoever works towards a consolidated and genuine federal union of Burma.
The KIO had signed a ceasefire agreement with the junta hoping for a meaningful political dialogue. It also approved the new junta-centric 2008 constitution despite severe opposition from the Kachin people and pro-democracy outfits.
As an offshoot of its rejecting the junta’s BGF proposal, the KIO is regaining the support of the Kachin people and pro-democracy organizations, who had been alienated because of the KIO’s proximity to the junta.
The statement on KIO’s new policy was the result of two meetings — the meeting between KIO officials and Kachin public representatives on August 14 to 16 and the first Party Congress for KIO members on August 27 to 29 in Laiza, said Deputy General Secretary Sin Wa.