International Campaign for Freedom of Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Weekly Highlights: MPC Future Unknown, Peace Continues To Be Taken Hostage

 

28 March - 3 April 2016

Weekly Highlights
 

MPC Future Unknown, Peace Continues To Be Taken Hostage

In one of the final moves just before the formal transfer of power to the new administration, former president Thein Sein dissolved the government-affiliated Myanmar Peace Center (MPC) and transferred its assets and properties to new organizations that will be led by leading figures and top officials of the MPC. The MPC was established in 2012 as a part of an agreement with the Norway-led Peace Donor Support Group that also comprised the European Union, Japan and United Nations agencies. The MPC was a beneficiary of massive investments from peace donors in the international community and became a prominent symbol of the former military-led Union Solidarity and Development Party Government's "successful" peace process efforts. The former head of the MPC and chief negotiator in the previous administration, Aung Min, will helm the "Center for Peace and Development" – one of the new institutions – and would be joined by Tin Maung Thann, special adviser to the MPC.

Burma watchers and political analysts have decried the farce surrounding the MPC, with some even demanding that the organization should be audited and investigated for corruption and the lack of effectiveness over its term.  A longtime Burma watcher and the Director of the Educational Initiatives, Igor Blaževič, commented on this transfer stating, "This deserves a proper investigation by [the European Anti Fraud Office]. If EU funds have been misused and misappropriated, [then] EU investigating office has right to undertake investigation."

Evidently, there are sharp disjunctures in rhetoric, policy and daily realities despite the "success stories" peddled by the former Thein Sein Government. Since the NCA was signed in October 2015, the fighting has increased both in Kachin and northern Shan states. On the same day a new civilian president was sworn in on 1 April, 2016, fresh fighting flared up in northern Shan State. Meanwhile, a heavily securitization-centered approach continues particularly in restive areas like Rakhine State despite lifting the state of emergency. Arbitrary arrests and detention are rampant under the Unlawful Association Act (1908), which has been notoriously abused 
to designate the members and activities of EAOs, and anyone deemed to be affiliated with EAOs, as illegal. Allegations of torture of suspects and those accused of being sympathizers of the Arakan Army (AA) have also ramped up after renewed clashes with the Burma Army, who have also vowed to "eliminate" the group.

The NLD-led Government has inherited many issues created by the outgoing government and resolving armed conflict in ethnic areas remains at the top of their agenda. In his opening address in the inauguration ceremony, President U Htin Kyaw stressed the importance of peace, the prioritization of national reconciliation, achieving a truly-democratic constitution and genuine federal union. Another notable step forward was the creation of a new Cabinet portfolio- the Ministry of Ethnic Affairs- by the NLD-led Government. However, the move was met with lukewarm reactions, with doubt if the body can decisively play a role in the ongoing peace process, including reforming the political environment for ethnic communities to address their aspirations. Already, there are early visible tensions emerging from the lack of consultation and invitation of ethnic political parties in formation of governments at different levels.

In the time of the MPC's existence, internal conflict has soared exponentially while the non-inclusive "nationwide" cease-fire agreement (NCA) features only eight of the country's ethnic armed organizations. Last week, the non-signatories of the NCA came together and made an announcement to defend each other from further attacks and attempts to create divisions by the Burma Army. International donors of the MPC have also come under fire for legitimizing the heightening conflict and endorsing a half-baked peace process. In doing so, what transpires then is a box-ticking exercise where peace donors and partner organizations are satisfied with the hollow "returns" on their investment, such as the non-inclusive and flawed NCA. They, including members of the Peace Donor Support Group and other initiatives such as the EU-coordinated Joint Peace Fund, cannot afford to remain oblivious or turn a blind eye to the fact that the NCA possibly remains a useful tool for the Burma Army and its political proxies to maintain their space and control over the peace process while creating divisions and discrimination, including through the timeworn divide and rule tactic.

Furthermore, there are fears that the peace process has turned into a lucrative "industry" in Burma, as the proliferation of peace advocacy and development initiatives, activities and projects demonstrate. Meanwhile, aid delivery and assistance only minimally reaches the real victims of conflict and intended beneficiaries of a durable and just peace. Just last week, the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JMC) – formed after the NCA signing to monitor and respond to complaints in signatory areas – reported that it was under-capacitated in resources and expertise to respond to the complaints of violations, mostly from Shan State and Karen State.

The dangers are already laid bare and do not bode well for the new political leadership, particularly in the absence of clear policy formulation and direction as regards addressing the civil war and tyranny of abuses that accompany the conflict. In that regard, the NLD-led Government and the international peace donors and aid agencies need to fundamentally reappraise the peace process, starting with an inquiry of the MPC and its workings, including the serious allegations of public misconduct and seeking accountability for the copious investment dollars. It is imperative that the review is conduced in an inclusive manner and held in participation with those who have been systematically left out, including primary stakeholders such as women as well as ethnic communities. The further threat here is that also by remaining gatekeepers, the Burma Army and its civilian-clad political proxies can hijack and dictate the terms, pace and extent of peace process, and ultimately what form of democracy Burma eventually takes.

 

Latest from the Blog

Reforms Gathering Momentum but Road Ahead Paved with Same Challenges

By Burma Partnership


Actions

In Hpa-an, Karen State, approximately 100 residents held a demonstration against a revived cement factory project that was halted two years ago in the absence of public consultation and concerns over land grab, negative environmental and public health impacts


In Hpakant township, Kachin State, more than 500 residents launched a demonstration demanding the amendment of jade mines law which gives unfair mining concessions that privilege international mining companies


Statements and Press Releases      

Statement of Burma Health System Reform Seminar

By Health Convergence Core Group

ေအာင္ေဇယ်ာတပ္ခဲြတြင္ တာ၀န္ထမ္းေဆာင္ေနေသာ ဗုိလ္ၾကီးတဦးမွ အမ်ိဳးသမီးတဦး၏ ရင္ဘတ္ႏွင့္ နားထင္ကုိ ေသနတ္ျဖင့္ ေၾကိမ္းၾကိမ္ေထာက္ခါ ပစ္ခတ္ရန္ခ်ိန္းေျခာက္မႈႏွင့္ ပတ္သက္၍ ကူကီအမ်ိဳးသမီးစင္တာမွ သေဘာထားထုတ္ျပန္ေၾကညာခ်က္

By Kuki Women's Center

Mi Karen Villagers Pray for Protection of Their Land and Natural Resources Threatened by Proposed Cement Project

By Mi Kayin Community

PSLF Letter to International Community

By Palaung State Liberation Front

New Report Calls for Halt to Upper Yeywa Dam and Other Planned Dams on Namtu River

By Shan Human Rights Foundation, Shan Sapawa Environmental and Shan State Farmers' Network

One in Five Children in Myanmar Go to Work Instead of Going to School, New Census Report Reveals

By The United Nations Population Fund


Reports

Opium Production Spreads to Chin State

By Free Burma Rangers

Save The Namtu River

By Shan Human Rights Foundation, Shan Sapawa Environmental and Shan State Farmers' Network

Presentation on The Union Report: Occupation and Industry

By The United Nations Population Fund

Contact Us | Privacy Policy
© Burma Partnership

Visit us at the following social networking sites.       

             

 



This message was sent to icfab8888.peacefulway@blogger.com from:

Burma Partnership | info@burmapartnership.org | Burma Partnership | http://www.burmapartnership.org | Muang, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand

Email Marketing by iContact - Try It Free!

No comments:

As Daw Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed,

As Daw Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed,
"Justice is a dream. But it is a dream we are determined to realize."