The eight ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) that signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA), released a statement on 11 December denouncing any attempt to label EAOs as terrorist organisations.
The statement was jointly released by the EAO Peace Process Steering Team (PPST), a policy making group for all the EAOs that have signed the NCA and the PPST implementation team, the Peace Processing Working Team/Coordination team (PPWT/CT), at the end of their third coordination meeting held in Rangoon on 10 and 11 December.
Statement released by NCA-signatories.
Colonel Khun Okkar, the coordinator of the PPST said they had released the statement because labelling EAOs as terrorist organisations could damage the peace process and national reconciliation.
He said: “Such a label [terrorist] should not be attached to any person or organisation, it should not be attached to an EAO. We denounce it. We denounce the attempt to label [the EAOs] as terrorist organisations. If they are labelled as terrorist organisations, they will become more distant and it will destroy the ongoing [peace] process.”
The Shan State Hluttaw (Parliament) labelled the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the Arakan Army (AA), the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), who banded together as the Northern Brotherhood and launched an offensive in northern Shan State on 20 November, as terrorist organisations in a parliamentary vote on 7 December.
Col. Khun Okkar said: “The Shan State [Hluttaw] made the decision even though it does not have the right to do it... No matter what it is, there shouldn’t be any organisations labelled as terrorists yet. We are objecting to this, no ethnic groups should be labelled [as terrorists]. We don’t know what will happen if they are labelled [as terrorists] but it could affect the peace process and national reconciliation. They won’t be able to communicate if they are labelled as terrorist organisations no country or government can deal with them according to international laws.”
The statement also urged the EAOs who have not yet signed the NCA for various reasons and the Burmese Government to better cooperate together to achieve peace.
The Eight EAOs who have signed the NCA are: the Karen National Union (KNU), the Chin National Front (CNF), the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF), the Karen National Liberation Army – Peace Council (KNLA-PC), the Pa-O National Liberation Organisation (PNLO), the Arakan Liberation Party (ALP), the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA).
Translated by Thida Linn
Edited in English by Mark Inkey for BNI