Representatives from six ethnic nationalities formed the Nationalities Alliance (Burma) in Washington, D.C. in the United States on June 15.
They included members of the Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Mon, Rakhine and Shan communities who seek to form a “common voice” for political and indigenous rights in Burma in their work for international advocacy.
The inauguration of the network took place at the office of the Kachin Alliance. KNG editor Naw Din Lahpai interviewed the Kachin Alliance’s leader Nsang Gum San about the significance of the move.
What was the objective of forming the Nationalities Alliance (Burma)?
We formed a network. It’s made up of ethnic people from Burma, who have been oppressed in Burma. The objective is to regain our sovereign power. We are especially trying to have ‘a common voice’ among us, which we will use when we talk with foreign governments. Every ethnic group has separately talked to foreign governments or the UN about their demands. But there is no ‘common voice’ among us. Therefore, we formed a network in order to have this common voice among us.
What activities will the network carry out?
We will do advocacy, as well as promote our rights. We will support organizations and people if we need to. We will negotiate with organizations and people if we need to. We will also try to [advocate to] the UN to change its policy on Burma. There are seats for indigenous people in the UN. Some brothers have gotten seats in the UN, but others haven’t gotten there, so we will try to get seats for them. We will not only release statements and hold protests, but we will try to carry out our activities comprehensively. [The Nationalities Alliance (Burma)] just started from our office, the Kachin Alliance office.
There are no ethnic Bamar people in this Nationalities Alliance. Can you explain why?
Well, the Bamar ethnic group is not oppressed as a group, even though individuals may be oppressed. There isn’t a need to worry about the disappearance of the Bamar ethnic group. We don’t hate the Bamar ethnic people. Ethnic Bamar people are living in our ethnic states, as are ethnic Indian and Chinese communities. We will try to get fundamental human rights for all ethnic people. We will try our best to get basic human rights in all the ethnic nationalities’ states. Even though there are no Bamar people in our network, we will try to get equality for all people living in our ethnic states.
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