February 23, 2005
Address of Chin National Front, Chairman Mr. Thomas
Thangnou for its 57th Anniversary
Dear my fellow Chins,
Today, we celebrate the 57th anniversary of our Chin National Day to commemorate the collaborated effort of the Chin people to end the autocratic-feudal system, and chose to practice the democratic system of government in our land. During the past fifty years successive military and dictatorial governments in Burma attempted several times to abolish the political significance of our Chin National Day by changing it into Chin State Day. In the midst of such hostile environments the Chin people have been united to stand together against the political assault on our people. That unity and solidarity of the Chin people has been shown by the fact that the Chins in Chinland as well as outside Chinland are celebrating our Chin National Day at this very moment.
We the Chins are the original inhibiters in the present Chinland, and we were always independent to manage our own affair. Before we were defeated by the British colonial power, we were never ruled nor occupied by any outside power. Then, we had a system of government in Chinland territory, managing our own affair, free from any outside interference. In the era of Burma Independence movement, we joined the other ethnic nationalities such as Burman, Kachin, Shan, etc. to build a Union together, and our forefathers signed the historic Panglong Agreement. We joined them because we believed that by doing so we would regain our independence, freedom, and liberty in the fastest manner. For the Chin people, Panglong Agreement was rather a Treaty, because we signed it as representing a separate government, territory, and people. However, after Burma gained Independence on January 4, 1948, the Burman rulers reneged on the agreements that they signed in Panglong Agreement. By using judiciary distortion supported military force, the Burman rulers denied freedom, equality, democracy, and self-determination to other ethnic groups in the Union of Burma. These violations remain as the root cause of ethnic conflict as well as the demise of democracy in Burma.
n the history of Burma, it is possible to observe that the
rulers of Burma holding a racist ideology of “the great Burman race”
have made continual attempts to eliminate the other ethnic nationalities in
Burma. In Chin State for example, we the Chins have been put under great pressure
to abandon our language, our culture, and our religion. In addition, the rulers
of Burma have been carrying out systematic manipulations on the social, political
and economic life of the Chin in order to eradicate our national identity. Since
the present military junta took over the State power in 1988, human right violations
and religious persecutions on the Chin Christians had gotten worse in Chin States.
Because of these atrocities committed by the present military junta, many Chins
have been forced to flee into foreign countries including our neighbouring States.
In order that we the Chins may regain our national rights, and build a just
and democratic Chin society, The Seminar on Chin Consensus Building was held
on April 7, 2004 at Camp Victoria. This historic seminar was attended by the
Chin National League for Democracy, Chin National Front, Mara Peoples Party,
Zomi National Congress, and nineteen groups from Chin Civil Society. Thanks
to the united effort of these Chin leaders, there came into existence the Victoria
Agreements in which all the participants agreed to:
- collaborate in defeating the military dictatorial government;
- work together to regain our national freedom and self-determination;
- participate in the building of a true Federal Union in Burma;
- contribute our utmost efforts for the unity of the Chin people as well as for the political, economic, and social development of our Chin people.
As we commemorate our Chin National Day today, we all should take the Victoria Agreements into our hearts as our national obligation. Until we achieve the four articles of Victoria Agreements, the Chin National Revolution will continue to exist, and with the sacrifice of many patriotic Chins we will march towards the goal of our Chin national freedom. We will also stand firmly against any powers which threaten the survival of our national identity. Protecting our Chin national identity and interest remains the guiding principle of Chin national revolution.
In our endeavour to regain our rightful political status in Burma politics, it is very important that political dialogue emerge as a means to solve political problems in the arena of politics. The existence of Chin national revolution is indispensable for the emergence of such meaningful political dialogue. Meaningful political dialogue in Burma signifies tripartite dialogue among the forces of the ethnic nationalities, democratic forces, and the military regime in finding solutions for political problems of Burma. Therefore the meaningful political dialogue must include: the creation of an environment where the rightful delegates may be sent to attend the dialogue-meeting; the non-existence of precondition for the dialogue; the existence of freedom of expression; and the agreement to honour the majority opinion in the dialogue.
The present junta’s National Convention which had been resumed on February 17, 2005 should aim at facilitating the emergence of a federal union, the reconciliation among ethnic groups, and tripartite dialogue in Burma. Then, it should be attended by the parliamentary representatives including those of the NLD which won 1990 general election and delegates from the ethnic armed groups. The junta’s 104 basic principles and 6 guidelines also need to be revised, and there must be attendees of rightful delegates who are afforded freedom of expression at the National Convention.
Today, it is urgent for every Chin in Chinland as well as outside
Chinland to realize our national obligation to work together for the sustenance
of Chin national identity out of nationalistic and patriotic consciousness.
It is important for us to stand steady and firm for our national cause. We should
not be afraid every time we get threatened, or should not be flattered every
time we get praised. At the same time, we should try to uplift and uphold our
national dignity out of our truthful words and honest living. At the present
time, many Chins left our mother Chinland, and sought asylum in many countries.
In this hard time, we the Chins should avoid concocting stories just to get
asylum in other countries. At judicial
proceedings in particular, the name of Chin National Front should not be misused. Such abuse will tarnish the name and dignity of Chin National Front which has been politically fighting the Burman military junta so that our Chin people may regain full human rights and democracy in our motherland. The Chin nationals who found themselves in foreign countries due to unavoidable circumstances should try to empower the patriotic Chins remaining in Chinland so that they may continue to carry out their historic obligation to make a living in Chinland as Chins. Not just with words but with performance our national characteristics of loyalty, honesty and courage should be made known. I also would like to encourage you to make our national cause more important than personal gain.
We need to avoid just watching and criticizing gloatingly over the usual matters of power struggles, conflicts and the downfalls among the Burman military leaders. Our assessment on the enemy’s strength must be based on realism, not on wishful fantasy which wavers, and sees things from the worst possible point of view. Rather it is more important for us to work together for the freedom of our people in a practical manner.
As mentioned earlier, a historic phenomenon occurred in the Chin national political movement when “Seminar on Chin Consensus Building” was held in April 2004 so that all the Chin people and Chin political parties may cooperate in implementing strategies to regain our rightful political status in Burma. One of the outcomes of that seminar was a mandate to hold Chin National Assembly biannually. All rightful delegates are cordially invited to attend the first Chin National Assembly which will be held in 2006.
Therefore, as we celebrate the 57th anniversary of the Chin National Day, let us celebrate it with the mindset of true patriotism, supporting the sustenance of our national identity, uplifting and upholding Chin national characteristics, and always striving towards the unity of the whole Chin people.
In conclusion, I would like to wish the Chins in all over the
world a great celebration of politically meaningful Chin National Day with joys
Statement on the 57th Anniversary of Chin National Day
1. Chin National Day is a day of special historical importance, emerging through the course of the Chin’s struggle for freedom, democracy and national self-determination.
2. Today, in the face of continuing oppression under successive military regimes the goals of our national struggle are yet to be achieved. Realizing the goals of freedom, democracy and self-determination is our national duty, requiring active participation of the entire Chin people.
3. Successive military regimes have been actively and aggressively pursuing a policy of annihilation against the Chin people. This policy manifest in the form of religious persecution, prohibition of the learning of Chin language in schools, discriminatory treatment of Chin subgroups for the purpose of destroying solidarity and the changing of Chin National Day into Chin State Day. These kinds of policy will not in any way help to advance the cause of national reconciliation, federalism and democracy. Chin National Front, therefore, urges the State Peace and Development Council to respect the fundamental democratic rights of the ethnic nationalities.
4. The Chin National Front is gravely concerned by the detention of U Khun Htun Oo,Chairman of the Shan National League for Democracy, Sai Nyunt Lwin, Secretary of Shan National League for Democracy, Major General Hsoten of the Shan StateArmy “North” and other Shan leaders by the State Peace and Development Council.This latest detention is a dangerous setback for national unity and reconciliation in Burma. The Chin National Front strongly urges the State Peace and Development Council to immediately and unconditionally release the Shan leaders.
5. Various recommendations, suggestions and demands that have been made to the State Peace and Development Council by the international community, political parties and ethnic nationalities continue to fall on deaf ears. With little regard for international opinions, continuing the National Convention whose only aim is to produce a constitution tailored to suit the regime’s own purpose will not succeed in resolving the country’s political problems. Keeping in view the best national interest, the regime should enter into political dialogue with elected representatives and genuine representatives of the ethnic nationalities. Only then will a genuine National Convention will emerge.
6. The Chin National Front warmly welcomes the decision of ASEAN parliamentarian meeting held in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta from February (1-2), which agreed to send a fact-finding team to Burma. The CNF urges the State Peace and Development Council to cooperate in good faith with the investigative team.
7. The Chin National Front encourages the Chin people in and outside of Chinland on the auspicious occasion of the 57th anniversary of Chin National Day, to assume their respective roles in working together for
(a) the promotion of Chin national dignity
(b) the emergence of genuine political dialogue and
(c) the freedom of the Chin people.
CHIN NATIONAL FRONT
Date: 20th February 2005