The Kokang ethnic is included as one ethnic nationality in the official listing of ethnic nationalities in the Union of Burma. The Kokang Region is delineated as Self-Administered Region in the 2008 constitution. The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) was the first group to have signed a ceasefire agreement with the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) regime after 1988. The MNDAA is an organization that has been fighting to achieve their national rights. The Kokang ethnic has the same life experience as the ethnic nationalities that are in the United Nationalities Federal Council. Therefore, the MNDAA became a member of UNFC in 2014 and also involved in the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT).
The MNDAA broke away from the Burma Communist Party, and during the ceasefire period with SLORC/SPDC (State Peace and Development Council) regime, they enjoyed mutually beneficial relationships. In 2009, the regime leaders did not solve political problems by means of negotiations as promised, but instead they forcefully pressured soldiers from the ceasefire groups to transform into the Border Guard Force and People’s Militia under them. The MNDAA, like some other ceasefire groups, rejected those acts and as a result, they were crushed with the help of those that were separated and persuaded. The MNDAA led by Pheung Kya-shin departed their principal location with heavy losses because of internal betrayal and being caught off-guard.
The MNDAA, who suffered an imbalanced and all-out attack from the regime, with deeply hurt feelings, and indomitable spirit towards the regime, were secretly growing their strength, and now they are trying to resettle in their old principal location to achieve their national rights. The attempt is a duty to be carried out by every oppressed nationality not to let their ethnicity vanish and to achieve their birthrights. This kind of crises cannot be avoided in any country that is founded with ethnic nationalities as long as their affairs are not properly resolved.
We learned that local civilians are facing many hardships because of the fighting. The death of elders, children and women, who are not a part of the fighting, according to facts and findings in news media, has tremendously affected and saddened us. We believe that the MNDAA would not commit such atrocities against those faultless civilians, since most of the local civilians are of the Kokang ethnicity.
The armed crisis that has been going on in our country is politically based and priority should be given to resolve it politically. All concerned persons have understood well that the crisis cannot be resolved with military solutions as has been prioritized for 60 to 70 years. Therefore, we suggest and urge that the government recognize the MNDAA as it does the other ethnic armed organizations and immediately end the armed crisis and that a political solution be prioritized using the nationwide ceasefire negotiations between the Union Peace-making Work Committee (UPWC) and the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT).
February 21, 2015 Central Executive Committee, UNFC
1. Nai Hong Sar – Vice Chairman, UNFC (Burmese language, +66-088-418-7527)
2. Salai Thla Hei – Joint General Secretary 2, UNFC (English language, +66-095-792-9372)