Removing Burma’s EAOs From Unlawful Associations List Important Step For Federal Union, Ethnic Analysts Say

By Network Media Group
Monday, March 22, 2021

Ethnic political analysts welcomed a decision by Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) to remove ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) from the list of unlawful associations because it will allow EAOs to engage with CRPH and the public as normal organizations.

CRPH was formed by lawmakers elected in the 2020 election who were ousted during the recent coup.

Nai Banyar Mon, program director of Federal and Policy Center said: “Now that they removed EAOs from list of unlawful associations, they can discuss building a federal union and army.”

The government used Article 17/1, which was established in 1908 under British colonialism, to harass and arrest ethnic political activists and other activists. Under the law, anyone found guilty of membership or association with an unlawful association can be jailed for three years. According to Article 17/2, anyone managing or promoting an unlawful association can be sent to prison for five years.

CRPH removed EAOs from unlawful associations on March 17. In the first week of March, CRPH announced plans to end the military dictatorship and restore democracy, release political detainees starting with President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and replace the 2008 Constitution with a federal one.

Col Naw Bu, in charge of Kachin Independence Organization information department said: “Building a federal union and army is something that must involve the participation of everyone. If the people are involved with drafting the basic policies and united, we can build it.”

Nai Banyar Mon told NMG that CRPH will succeed if it works closely with ethnic organizations. “If there’s cooperation, there will be progress,” he said.

“We’ll win if CRPH draws up a common policy for everyone to participate in the political movement,” Col Naw Bu said. “The ethnic armed struggle has been happening for over 70 years, yet some Bamar (Burmese) still don’t understand why. However, if they join us, we can defeat the military dictatorship. However, if they don’t, we won’t succeed.”