Suu Kyi appeals to ethnic groups to sign ceasefire pact, join peace initiative
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 13-Feb-2017

Panglong, Feb 13: The Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi has appealed to all armed ethnic groups, to sign a ceasefire agreement intended to put an end to all conflicts which even today cause bloodshed in Myanmar.

The Nobel Peace Laureate and current State Councillor and Foreign Minister of the NLD (National League for Democracy) Government participated yesterday at an official event in Panglong, located in The Shan State of Myanmar

This is the same place where her father, the general and independence hero Aung San, signed the first peace agreement between the Burmese and minority Shan, Kachin and Chin70 years ago.

In a speech to commemorate the Day of National Unity, the “Lady” appealed to all ethnic groups “there is still time” to join the “peace movement.” “I want to ask all of those ethnic groups that have not signed the national cease-fire - added Suu Kyi - to have confidence in yourself and sign. And, please, get involved” at the Panglong Conference.

For the Burmese democracy leader and her government putting an end to all conflicts that still today bloody the country is one of the priorities. However, in recent months they have been heavily criticised for ignoring the plight of the Rohingya Muslim minority and not being able to stop the violence towards other ethnic groups, particularly the Kachin in the north.

From 2011 to the present violence in the northern state, on the border with China, they have caused hundreds of deaths and over 100 thousand displaced civilians. With an escalation of the offensive militates, ethnic groups see the ability to reach a cease-fire at the national level increasingly restricted.

The Panglong Agreement, signed on 12 February 1947 between General Aung San and the leaders of some ethnic minorities in Myanmar, should have greater autonomy and freedom, in exchange for cooperation with the Burmese federal government to ensure the independence from the Great Britain.

However, the general was killed five months after signing the agreement and it never really entered into force. Indeed, over time ethnic minorities have accused the army and pro-military government of perpetrating violence and attacks, in violation of the pact.

In August last year, the government and (part) of minorities have sought to re-launch the peace plan. This was strongly supported by the Burmese Church which has invoked a “pilgrimage of peace for all of Myanmar”.