Burma’s seven ethnic states have won the right to write their own state constitutions in an unprecedented dialogue breakthrough between the Burmese government and the ethnic states, according to The Irrawaddy News Online.
The breakthrough was reached last Friday at a meeting of the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC) which was joined by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who leads the committee.
“We were able to agree that we could draft our own state constitutions, which has never been done in Burmese history,” said Colonel Hkun Okkar of the Pa-O National Liberation Organization.
The meeting approved the basic principles covering political, economic, social, security and land and environment sectors.
The UPDJC has so far agreed to six of seven principles of the federal union to be negotiated in the second round of the 21st Century Panglong peace conference to begin on May 24. These principles are sovereignty, the practice of sovereignty, equality, self-determination, federal union principle and a multi-party democratic system.
However UPDJC participants have to agree that their state constitutions do not contradict the Union’s military-drafted 2008 charter which would take precedence in any possible disputes.
The state parliaments, governments, and courts will come under the state constitutions whose authority will be protected from union government’s interference.
On the topic of self-determination, the Burma army requested to add the words “no secession” from the union. The meeting participants said “no secession” shared the same meaning as “non-disintegration” of the union.
The meeting also agreed the Burma army would continue upholding its position of protecting the three main national causes – non-disintegration of the union, non-disintegration of national solidarity and perpetuation of sovereignty.
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