Friday, August 18, 2017

Commission warns Mon party over statement

The Mon National Party has received a warning from Mon State election officials over a joint statement it issued with an ethnic armed group taking part in ceasefire talks with the government.

The statement made with the New Mon State Party on March 12 denounced the government’s crackdown on student protests in Letpadan. It was issued following a meeting of the two parties’ leaders.

U Naing Soe Mya, a vice-general secretary of the MNP, said the state election sub-commission warned them by quoting sections of the constitution and laws during a meeting on April 7.

“Although they did not say releasing a joint statement with New Mon State Party on March 12 … was against the law, they said they were calling us to make sure that we exactly follow sections 405 and 407 of the constitution, and section 12 of party registration law,” he said.

“Our stance is clear. We have a relationship with any organisation for the interest of Mon people.”

“During the meeting [on April 7], when we asked them which sections of the laws was violated by Mon National Party, they could not answer it.”

The New Mon State Party is the armed wing of the Mon National Liberation Army and signed a bilateral ceasefire with the government in 2012. However, it is still technically considered an illegal organisation by the government, and those found to have contact with such illegal groups face up to three years’ imprisonment under the colonial-era Unlawful Association Act.

But U Naing Soe Mya said having connections with the New Mon State Party should not be a violation of the law, as it is among the armed ethnic groups that negotiated a draft ceasefire agreement with the government last month. The ceasefire states that all signatories will be removed from the unlawful association list.