Kachin parties denounce ‘terrorist’ labelling of ethnic militias

Kachin parties denounce ‘terrorist’ labelling of ethnic militias

A coalition of three Kachin political parties has denounced the Shan State government’s vote to classify four ethnic armed groups as “terrorists”.

The four militias – Kachin Independence Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army, Arakan Army; and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army – now call themselves the Northern Alliance, and have been engaged in hostilities against Burmese government forces in northern Shan State for over two weeks continuously.

On 7 December, the Shan State government, which has a majority of military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) MPs in its assembly, voted narrowly to proclaim the alliance a “terrorist organisation”.

The political party coalition – known as Kachin Political Cooperation Committee (KPCC), and made up of the Lhaovo National Unity and Development Party; Kachin Democratic Party; and the Kachin State Democracy Party – said the Shan regional assembly’s decision on Wednesday could exacerbate the conflict and harm on-going efforts aimed at national reconciliation.

In a statement, the KPCC praised the lower house of parliament in Naypyidaw for voting last week to shelve an urgent motion proposed by a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) MP, who had called into question the Northern Alliance’s effect on the peace process after it had launched synchronised attacks on Burmese military installations.

Joining the debate in the lower house on December 2, Defence Minister Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe proposed the Alliance be deemed a “terrorist organisation” for its actions.

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“The proposal by an USDP MP to condemn the [Northern Alliance] was shot down in the lower house, but the USDP then raised the motion again at the Shan State regional parliament in Taunggyi, where it was passed,” said KPCC committee member Tu Raw. “I think this is an indication that the both the USDP and the Tatmadaw [Burmese military] have no wish to see peace prevail in Burma.”

He added: “We would like to urge all parties to seek a solution at the negotiation table.”

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