ENC GENERAL SECRETARY INVITED TO THE WHITE HOUSE
By Elaisa Vahnie – June 12, 2007−Washington DC: Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong, General Secretary of the Ethnic Nationalities Council-Union of Burma (ENC) today met with the first lady of the United States Mrs. Bush at the White House.
The White House opens its door and invited ENC leader to discuss about current situation in Burma as the ENC delegation led by Dr. Sakhong, winner of 2007 Martin Luther King Jr. Prize, is in its lobby trip to the United States.
“I and the people of Burma are grateful for the White House strong supports for the movements towards democracy and human rights in Burma . I am thankful to the first lady for inviting us to discuss current situation in Burma ” said Dr. Sakhong.
When asked what was the main point of discussion Dr. Sakhong said that “we have covered a wide range of issues during an hour long meeting with the first lady. We discussed about political and human rights situation, humanitarian assistance and refugee situation in India-Thailand and Malaysia ”.
First lady Laura Bush joined five female senators last month to launch a new Women’s Caucus on Burma , focusing on the human-rights and political crisis in Burma.
“One important issue I and the delegation have press is to organize international conference on Burma where China , India and ASEAN countries can join the US in democratization of the country” said Dr. Sakhong.
This historic lobby and advocacy mission from Burma ’s ethnic nationalities along with the Free Burma Rangers (FBR) is arranged by Congressman Joseph Pitt office and Congressman Pitt himself accompanied the ENC delegation today to the White House.
Last week Dr. Sakhong and ENC delegation met with seven Congressmen and five senators. They also met with Mr. Christopher Hill, Assistant Secretary of US Department of State.
The top issue they discussed was seeking the US help in bringing China , India , and ASEAN countries under the United Nations mechanism to push for positive change in Burma . They also made a request to the US continue support for humanitarian assistance to Burmese people both inside and outside of the country, and to increase help in assisting capacity building for Burmese people.
The ENC delegation also held Congressional staff hearing and Diplomatic hearing. The later was attended by representatives from 26 embassies based in Washington DC including three ambassadors.
The ENC delegation also had met with high ranking officials from the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
This is the third time that Burma ’s ethnic nationalities group has brought their political agenda to the White House. A Shan woman Nang Charm Tong was invited by the White House in 2006 where she spent an hour talking with the President. And in February 2007, Chin and Kachin delegation brought their political agenda to the White House meeting with senior officials from National Security Council.