Shan Declares Independence from Burma
**Another of the “Six Outposts of Tyranny” may be Unraveling**
The military regime of Burma (Myanmar) is not impressed with the democratic developments they are witnessing in the post 9-11 world. Like other threatened regimes (see Belarus) they are making public statements about their resistance to interference from without or within. The country is listed on America’s “Six Outposts of Tyranny” list repeated numerous times by the Bush Administration. Now, Burma is talking:
“Only those with noble and deep political convictions can bring genuine developments to the state, and narrow-minded lackeys of the colonialists cannot create the development of national history,” Than Shwe said without specifying any group. “There is no place for the bigoted henchmen of colonialists in the history of national development.”
The government recently criticized exiled rebels of the Shan ethnic minority, who declared the independence of the Shan States, as lackeys of colonialists who were trying to cause disintegration of the nation.
The United States has called the roadmap a sham.
Shan Democratic Union, the leading political formation of the Shan State which remained a constituent state in the Union of Burma has declared independence by breaking off from the Union of the Burma ruled by the army generals since 1964.
Sai Wansai, General Secretary of the Shan Democratic Union has released a statement regarding the declaration of Shan state hereafter as an independent country.
“The declaration of independence is a normal emotional outbreak of the people of Shan State, which have been oppressed due to many political reasons and unfavorable international political configuration,” declares Sai Wansa in the statement released to the press.
Sao Surkhanpha,the eldest son of the first president of Burma Saw ShweThaike, and 48 delegates that represented 48 townships of Shan States,havebeen so angry and disappointed with the oppression of the military regime that they declared on Sunday (4-19) the Shan States Independence.
The last Shan State independence had been declared by Khun Sa’s Pan Tai organisation in 1993. The military regime then pooled its resources and destroyed the movement, bringing Shan people the catastrophe.
“We are in the process of seeking recognition from a number of countries including the United Nations,” said Hkun Hom, the self-proclaimed foreign minister of the Shan government.
“We have foreign troops in our country and have to see that they withdraw back to Burma before we can hold an election to elect a new government,” said Hkun Hom, addressing an informal gathering of journalists in Bangkok.
“Our government’s mandate comes from 48 townships out of 56 in the Shan State who voted for independence,” he said.
He claimed firm support from the 8 million people residing in the Shan State, including the Shan State Army and other rebel groups who have been waging insurgencies in the area for the past five decades.
Surkhanpha said Myanmar, which has been under military rule since 1962, had lost its constitutional right to preserve the country as a union because of the Yangon-based military regime’s mistreatment of ethnic minorities, including the Shan.
Burma’s military government has strongly rejected Sunday’s Shan independence declaration by a group of exiles, saying the move jeopardized the country’s peace and stability.
The military government arrested 10 ethnic Shan leaders in early February on charges of planning the disintegration of the Union. Among the arrested are Hkun Htun Oo, chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, and Sao Hso Ten, president of the Shan State Peace Council, which comprises two Shan ceasefire groups.
Most of the arrested are detained in Insein prison and reportedly face a secret trial.
The United Wa State Army (UWSA), a ceasefire and notorious drug group backed by the junta, is now involved in military action against the Shan State Army in the Mong Ton area of southern Shan State, opposite Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province.
The Shan State Spokesperson appealed for support from the international community, especially Thailand, in the SSA fight with the Wa. She said that any government wanting to suppress drugs should back her group because the UWSA is involved in drug production and trafficking.