Shan elders declare independence: Chin MP Speaks
[CG Note: A Chin MP Pu Lian Uk, a lawyer and former political prisoner, expressed his opinion below regarding the declaration of independence by Shan elders. He is an independent elected MP from Haka, the capital of Chin state during the 1990 general election in Burma. He is now exile in the United States of America]
April 23, 2005
There is a saying that no country is an island. So no country can free themselves without international intervention. The United Nations is also an organization of existing nations who all want the integrity of their respective present international boundaries and they support each other not to disintegrate their respective existing boundaries. Thus the UN at least in principle is always in favor of not to increase the number of independent nations.
Actually, for the territories of the States of Chin, Kachin and Shan, they had never been under the Burmese kings or were they neither been parts of Burma in the history. They found together with the Burmese kingdom a new country known as the Union of Burma under Panglong Agreement since 1948 just only over fifty years ago.
The Burmese kings annexed the kingdoms of Arakan and Mon against the will of the people with the force of arms and they have every right to establish their own sovereign independent countries in modern time if their population wish to be so.
That was the reason why the representatives of the territories of present day Arakan State and Mon State in the Union Parliament also rectified the Panglong Agreement in their free will consent to form Arakan Affairs Council and Mon Affairs council like the Chin Affairs Council in the Union Parliament in 1961-62 to become the constituent unit states of the federal Union of Burma like the Chin State.
For Karens, the State of Karen has its clear cut boundary from Burma proper. More over, a very wide area of the Karen settlement in delta region of Irrawaddy is mix ed with the Burmese settlement though they can claim that the present Karen and Karenni States had never been under the Burmese kings. But the territories of present day Karen State and Karenni-Kaya State had rectified also Panglong Agreement by joining the Union in the constitution of the Union of Burma 1947 which was based on the Panglong Agreement. Thus Panglong Agreement had a great meaning equally for all the different territories of Arakan, Burmese, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni -Kaya, Mon, and Shan today.
The military regime has discarded Panglong Agreement with the Constitution of the Union of Burma 1947 since 1962 . As a matter of fact, the Burman or Burmese military regime has over thrown the constitutional government of the Union and established a unitary form of government under the complete domination of the Burmese military regime formed of only the Burmese generals against the will of the population in the country making all the non Burman territories – Arakan, Chin, Kachin, Karen, Karenni -Kaya, Mon, and Shan today as non self governing territories.
It was these two documents Panglong Agreement and the Constitution of the Union of Burma 1947 which joined the Burmese territory and the Panglong agreement signatory territories in the Union to be a nation. Therefore in the absence of these two documents, all the Panglong Agreement signatory territories are now in their status quo as independent territories as they were before the British annexation.
The reason the territories of the Panglong signatory territories are in the Union of Burma today is just because, the Burmese military regime has occupied their territories against their will with the force of arms. Thus every territory in the Union now has every right to proclaim independence of their respective territories.
Thus according to the decolonization doctrine of the United Nations, member nations of the United Nations and the UN itself are now to recognize the proclamation of independence by the Federated Shan States.
But whether the independence of Federated Shan States drive out the occupying Army of the Burmese military regime from their territory is a big question for them. The Burmese Military regime pose now as the defec to ruler as a colonizer of the federated Shan States and oter nonself governing territories of the Union.
But the demand of forming the Union of Burma in genuine federal Union by Ethnic National Council (ENC), with all the constituent territories of the Union of Burma including Burma proper as a unit of the federal Union, is supported also by the democratic forces of the Burmans or Burmese. All the separate territories in the Union in united strength, could only have possible enough strength by all means to remove the Burmese military regime from their grip control of all the territories in the Union. And this is one of the reasons why we all the different territories in the Union should not proclaim separate independence at this time.
But we have to have in mind that the Shan group who has proclaimed Independence of the Federated Shan States are still to support the ENC cause of federalism and can join again the federal Union of Burma when the federal Constitution is drafted after restoring peace and democracy is restored in the Union. Their proclamation of independence may be in some way more helpful to the cause of federalism like former members of UNPO are supporting UNPO cause even after they have become members of the United Nations. Thanks.