1. The Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) believes that political crisis in Burma is not just ideological confrontation between military dictatorship and democracy but a constitutional problem rooted in the denial of the rights of ethnic nationalities who joined the Union of Burma as equal partners in 1947 at Panglong Conference.
2.Since the root cause of political crisis is “constitution”, the problem should also be solved through constitutional means. As such, Burma needs a new constitution.
3.The Ethnic National Council and other democratic forces have drafted a new constitution of “Federal Republic of the Union of Burma” based on the spirit of “Panglong” and fundamental principles of democracy, equality and justice. A draft constitution also provides guarantees for collective rights of ethnic nationalities, human rights and gender equality, minority rights for all religious and ethnic groups, and the separation of politics and religion.
4.The SPDC announced that they will conduct a referendum in order to adopt a new constitution, which has drawn up in accordance with its 7 Steps Road Map. If the SPDC wants to peacefully implement its Road Map, it needs to consult widely with the ethnic nationalities, democratic forces, and ceasefire and non-ceasefires armed groups. However, the SPDC’s 7 Steps Road Map and its constitution process are not inclusive nor does it reflect the spirit of national reconciliation. The whole purpose of the SPDC constitution is to legalize the military dictatorship through constitutional means.
5.For the sake of the country and the people, and also for starting national reconciliation and establishing peace, the Ethnic Nationalities Council (ENC) proposes the following points:
(i)that a broad-based “Constitutional Review Commission” be formed as proposed by Mr. Gambari, UN Secretary-General Special Envoy for Burma, in October 2007, to review two draft constitutions prepared, one by the Federal Constitution Drafting and Coordinating Committee (FCDCC) on behalf of ethnic nationalities and democratic forces, and another one by the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) at its National Convention.
(ii)that the Constitution Review Commission invites the main stakeholders of the Union of Burma, namely the SPDC, the 1990 election winning party led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and Ethnic Nationalities for a tripartite consultation meeting in order to make necessary compromise and give-and-take through negotiation.
(iii) that the role of armed forces in the future Union of Burma, a democratic transition, and the right of ethnic nationalities through a federal arrangement be included in the tripartite consultation meeting;
(iv)that a transitional authority be formed by the SPDC, the 1990 election winning party led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and ethnic nationalities based on the result a tripartite negotiation.
6.For the sake of peace and stability not only in Burma but also in the region, we request the international community, especially our neighboring countries, including China, India and ASEAN, to mediate a tripartite negotiation among the SPDC, the 1990 election winning party led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic nationalities.
7.If the SPDC rejects our proposal, we will have no choice but to call on the people of Burma to reject the SPDC’s constitution at its referendum in May 2008.
Dr. Lian H. Sakhong
Joint General Secretary
Tel: +66-(0)81 02 96 100
Tel: +66-(0)81-30 64 351