ABSDF: Goal of 8888 Uprising Still Unfulfilled

‘Don’t say we have democracy,’ the ABSDF-NB chairman said. ‘There is [a quota of] 25 percent military MPs sitting in parliament.’


Friday, August 10, 2018

In a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the 1988 uprising against military rule, the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front-Northern Burma (ABSDF-NB) said that because the Burma Army still exists above the civilian government administration people have yet to get the rights they demanded decades ago.

On August 8, the ABSDF-NB held an event in honor of what is known as the 8888 Uprising at its Janghton-Lakhum Bum headquarters in Kachin State. ABSDF-NB chairman Maj La Seng spoke at the commemoration.

“Don’t say we have democracy. There is [a quota of] 25 percent military MPs sitting in parliament,” he said in his speech. “Now the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-led NLD government is running the country but they don’t have real power. It’s the opposite of the rest of the world: the army is above the government. Our demands from the 8888 Uprising are still incomplete.”

As part of mass nationwide protests in 1988, people demanded an end to military rule and the establishment of a genuine multiparty democratic system with human rights and freedom for all in Burma; thousands were subsequently killed in the crackdown by authorities.

“People who support the military dictatorship say that there is democracy in the country. It’s fake,” Maj La Seng added.

Even though 10 ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), including the ABSDF, signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) with the government and military in 2015 and 2017, Maj La Seng said that they have faced many difficulties due to the restrictions of the military-drafted 2008 Constitution.

“EAOs chose the NCA path because they believed in it. The path closed after the Myanmar Army dictated and controlled the NCA,” he said. “Likewise, the people demanded their rights in the 8888 Uprising but they haven’t got what they demanded,” Maj La Seng added.

What he wants, Maj La Seng said, is to end more than 70 years of civil war in Burma and to build a genuine federal democracy.

Commemoration letters sent by allied organizations were read out at the 8888 commemoration ceremony. Officials from the Kachin Independence Organization, the Arakan Army, and representatives from women’s organizations, as well as community elders and locals participated in the event.