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Burma’s Ministry of Home Affairs has removed three rebel groups from a list of unlawful associations, and two from a list of terrorist groups, according to an announcement yesterday.
The statement, signed by Minister Lt-Gen. Ko Ko, announced that the Karen National Union (KNU), All-Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF) and the Restoration Council of Shan State/ Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) are no longer classified as ‘unlawful’ under Burma’s Unlawful Association Act, state media Global New Light of Myanmar reported today.
Both the ABSDF and SSA-S have likewise been removed from a list of terrorist groups under the Anti-Terrorist Law, also signed by the minister. The ABSDF and SSA-S recently announced their intention to sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement with Naypyidaw, scheduled for 15 October.
While an official list of terrorist groups is not available, sources say the KNU was only ever classified as ‘unlawful’. The KNU has also indicated it will accede to this week’s ceasefire deal.
The Anti-Terrorist Law was initially drafted in the wake of a spate of bombing attacks in 2013, which the government attributed to ethnic rebel groups looking to smear the reputation of the government in the lead-up to the several international events, including the Southeast Asia Games in 2013.