Lahu Civil Society Meets to Discuss Issues Raised in Peace Conference

More than 60 participants explore action for future sessions of the Union Peace Conference.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ethnic Lahu organizations held a meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand on Wednesday to discuss positions and future action within Burma’s peace process.

The groups explored plans for future sessions of the Union Peace Conference (UPC)—also known as the 21st Century Panglong Conference—and shared information about additions to the Union Accord, which emerged from the third session of the UPC in July. The discussions will continue through Friday.

“The third round of the 21st Century Panglong Conference had 14 points of agreement related to politics, economics, social issues, security, land and environmental issues,” said Kya Yaeshell, who works with Lahu social outreach groups. “The aim of this meeting is to help our people understand more about these 14 points of agreement between the government, political parties, and ethnic armed organizations,” he explained, adding that members of the Lahu Democratic Union (LDU) presented this information.

LDU representatives participated in the UPC for the first time during the recent third session.

More than 60 participants from Lahu youth, women’s, and social organizations—as well as religious leaders and township and political party representatives—attended Wednesday’s meeting.

Kya Yaeshell said the Lahu community would “try to come to a common agreement” on the 14 points and identify the issues that they want to raise in the next UPC session.

“It’s like we are preparing for the fourth round of the 21st Century Panglong Conference,” he told NMG, describing the meeting as the first of its kind. “Our Lahu people and organizations will work more closely together…we hope our people will be interested in our ethnic group’s issues and in Myanmar’s politics.”

The LDU is a Lahu ethnic armed group which, along with the New Mon State Party, signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government and military on February 13 of this year.