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Cause of Civil War and the Stalled of Peace Process

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  • Pages: 5
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  • Category: Regret

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This section is all the root of the civil war which is the failure to implement the Panglong Agreement, which was signed in 1947 by General Aung San and ethnic national leaders from the frontier areas (Shan, Kachin, and Chin). In the agreement, the ethnic leaders approved to get independence together from the British and to form the democratic Union. Therefore, it was the Panglong Agreement that promised to give ethnic minorities their rights, self-determination, and even the right to separate after a ten-year period. Unfortunately, the chief of the Panglong Agreement General Aung San, who is considered as Independence father, was assassinated on 19th July 1947 (Bailard, 2017). Shortly after getting independence from British, the tension between ethnics and Burmese army have been broken out the civil war.

Myanmar’s Political Struggle in Early Years of Civil War

The author analysis the absence of implementation of Panglong Agreement and unbalance of power separation between frontier area ethnics and proper Burma majorly caused the civil war. As a result, more than 50 ethnic arm groups and parties have been formed for self-determination, equal rights and autonomy (Nyein, 2019). And then the country’s political system and the economy were greatly impact as a consequence.

From 1948 to 1958, Burma adopted a parliamentary system of government, with representation for ethnic minorities. Unfortunately, many ethnics arm groups have started insurgencies and communist movements were dominant during the entire period. In 1958, citing the army’s mistaken fear of a communist takeover the power as a reason (Mccarthy, 2010). Therefore, the Prime Minister U Nu resigned and invited the army’s senior general, Ne Win, to took coup and installed a military caretaker administration in 1962. After the military took coup, the Panglong Agreement absolutely neglected and ethnic groups were politically, socially, economically marginalized (Gum San Awang et al., 2019).

General Ne Win arrested the civilian political leaders, cancel the national parliament and state legislatures, separate the court system, suspended the 1947 Constitution, and created a Revolutionary Council (RC) with 17 military officers included himself as chairman (Mccarthy, 2010). Later, the military Revolutionary Council (RC) created its party which called Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) in July, 1962. Ne Win was elected party chairman when the BSPP held its First Party Congress in 1971, and he resigned his army commission in 1972. A new constitution creating a single party system was introduced in 1974 (Mccarthy, 2010).

Under the military regime, the dictators tried to form socialism, which was against the willingness of people and ethnics arm groups, but it was not successfully. Then the national economy was terrible, therefore, the United Nation and Demonetizing bank officially announced Myanmar as Least Development Country (LDC) in 1987. As a result, the people in the states and society started the uprising in 1988 which made the military seized the power again and captured all the student’s leaders and all the national activists (Than, 2013). On the other side, the battles with ethnics were continually happened around the country. Therefore, the country’s domestic problems were even worst.

Peace Process and It’s Challenges

In 1989s, the military regime invited ethnics arm group for first time ceasefire agreement which was led by Military Intelligence (MI) General Khin Nyunt (Oo, 2014). Forty ethnic armed groups joined the ceasefire process under military government, but only fifteen of them were disarmed into People Militia. However, because of the unwritten ceasefire deals, it led to the invalid or not durable agreement. Besides, the ceasefire process led to uncertainty and regret by both ethnic armed groups and some of those who agreed to disarm. An ethnic arm group called Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and military fought back after three months of ceasefire agreement (Oo, 2014). Therefore, the first ceasefire had failed to build the forever peace.

The second peace process started again after 2010 election when new military government took in power. In August 2011, U Thein Sein government made announcement on the first peace process with ethnic armed groups, but this invitation did not trigger prompt responses from ethnic armed groups because of their concerns and trust on the government. Later, United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) joined firstly to new peace process in 2011 (Oo, 2014). However, only Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army (KNU/KLA), and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) have signed Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) as first group. The total population of soldiers of the groups that signed the NCA amounts to only 18,000 compared to the groups that did not sign have total amount of 40,500 (Routray, 2017). This means, in term of U Thein sein government NCA, which was touted as a success, could actually be called a fake.

Actually, they have two steps in peace process. The bilateral ceasefires with the ethnic armed organizations on a state level and union level. Currently, NLD government and 16 ethnic armed groups are in the process of negotiation on Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), but this agreement is not successful yet (International, 2019). Although chapter three- 5(a) mentions that there will be no actions of troop movement, destruction of property, and launching of military offensives, the reality did not prove with this matter (International, 2019, p.33). In that case, the increase of less trust gives more anxiety to all the ethnic armed groups.

These conflicts continue while the majority of the EAGs, including the Kachin Independent Organization (KIO) and New Mon State Party (NMSP), hold aspirations for a federal and democratic Myanmar in which the right to self-determination and power-sharing among all ethnic groups is enshrined in the constitution (Jolliffe, 2014). For arm groups that have signed the NCA agreement are allowed to travel freely without weapons in across demarcation land and establish liaison offices where necessary (Oo, 2013). However, some ethnics still worry that they will be providing legitimacy and political glory to the government without getting anything in return. There were some clashes between NCA signatory ethnics and government military. Therefore, the peace process could not go faster due to the anxiously of distrust each other.

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