Civil society organizations want greater say in Panglong peace conference

  • Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Htin Kyaw gather with ethnic rebel leaders, top government officials and UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon for a group pictures during a peace conference which hopes to end hostilities amongst the warring ethnic minorities, in Naypyidaw on August 31, 2016. Peace talks between Myanmar’s government and warring ethnic minorities kicked off August 31 in a bid to end decades of conflict that have claimed thousands of lives and kept the country mired in poverty. The five-day gathering is Suu Kyi’s first big drive to end multiple insurgencies that have raged in Myanmar’s borderlands since independence in 1948. / AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD

Civil society organizations (CSOs) specializing in conflict resolution have demanded that they be allowed to participate in the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference and in discussions on all topics related to peace, according to The Irrawaddy Online on Wednesday (Dec 6).

The CSO’s demand was contained in an open letter to leaders of the peace process, including State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and military chief Gen Min Aung Hlaing.

Some 145 representatives of the 92 CSOs took part in the 17th Civil Society Forum for Peace in Yangyon on Dec 4-5.  They discussed key developments and challenges facing the 21st Panglong peace conference, women’s and security affairs as well as current conditions faced by people in various states and regions.

The CSOs made several recommendations concerning the peace conference in the open letter released on Wednesday.

Kun Chan Non, a spokesperson for the Mon Women’s Organization said representatives of the CSOs should be entitled to delegate status at the Panglong conference, rather than observer’s status.

The open letter also called for a review of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in order to further its goals of national reconciliation and peace.  It also urged the Tamadaw, the Myanmar military, and ethnic armed organizations to declare a joint nationwide ceasefire.