88 Gen delegates meet Myitsone villagers

88 Gen delegates meet Myitsone villagers

Representatives of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (88GPOS) civil society group and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) met in state capital Myitkyina on Monday to discuss the ongoing peace process in Burma, though indications suggest that the suspended Myitsone mega-dam project featured prominently in their talks.

Mya Aye of the 88GPOS wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday that his organisation was hopeful it would see progress at the upcoming round of ceasefire talks between the ethnic bloc’s Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team and the government’s Union Peace-making Work Committee.

He also said that the 88GPOS delegation was taken 30 kilometres north of the capital to meet the residents of Aungmyintha village who were forcibly relocated four years ago to make way for the controversial Chinese-backed dam project.

Though neither the 88GPOS nor the KIO chose to mention details of the Rangoon-based group’s trip to the site, Ja Khon, a local Aungmyintha villager, said the 88 Generation delegation arrived on Tuesday morning and listened to their woes.

“They [88GPOS representatives] met with more than 20 villagers at the communal house and listened to us telling them how we were relocated and lost our livelihoods,” he told DVB on Tuesday. “We also explained how we now have little access to healthcare and education.

“They promised to raise our issues with the government.”

The villagers also stressed their concerns that the dam would be resumed when the current government’s term ends.

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Dau Hka, a member of the KIO’s Technical Advisory Team (TAT), said that the Kachin army did not accompany the 88GPOS to Aungmyintha, but instead spoke with the activists about the current state of affairs with regard to the ceasefire talks and peace process.

“We spoke in general terms about each other’s viewpoints and discussed means to strengthen the peace process,” he told DVB.

The 88GPOS team met later on Tuesday with members of the Peace Creation Group (PCG), which has played a mediatory role in recent talks with the central government.

PCG spokesman San Aung said, “We discussed the possibilities with regard to a successful nationwide ceasefire, and we said we expect a positive outcome from the upcoming preliminary talks ahead of the seventh round of ceasefire negotiations.

“We believe that peace will be delayed unless there is progress,” he added. “The president has suggested signing the nationwide ceasefire agreement next month on Union Day, and so we shall wait and see whether that will happen.”

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