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Mon Community of Canada

The 62nd Anniversary of Union Day of Burma
February 8, 2009

Today is the 62nd anniversary of the "Union Day in Burma”. It is a very important day for all the people in
Burma. The Union treaty was signed in Peng Long, southern Shan state, Burma, on February 12th, 1947,
by the Burmese leader General Aung San (Father of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi) and leaders of ethnic
nationalities. As a result of the Peng Long Treaty, the great Union of Burma gained its autonomous
independence on January 4th 1948 with pomp and dignity.

However, the emergence of Union Day did not include initially all the ethnic nationalities of present day
Burma, yet it served as the foundation for a unified Burma. The agreement was aimed at establishing a
“Federal Union of Burma” on the basis of socio-political equality and self-determination for all ethnic
nationalities.

Even though the first state constitution had laid down equal rights for both Burmese and ethnic
nationalities in 1947, the three main powers of administration, legislation and judiciary of ethnic states
were controlled by U Nu-led Burmese democratic governments and successive military juntas.

On March 2nd 1962, General Ne Win instigated a coup and brought in a military government. Ne Win's
military government detained all the ethnic leaders and abolished the 1947 constitution. All the hopes and
dreams for democracy and the federal union that people of Burma had been waiting for fell into the hands
of the military junta.

On August 8th, 1988, there was mass uprising for democracy led by students in Burma, and on September
18th, 1988, the military led government brutally killed thousands of demonstrators while they were
peacefully asking for democracy. In 1990, the military junta hosted a general election in Burma, and the
National League for Democracy – led by Aug San Suu Kyi – won a landslide victory, but the military junta
never handed over the power. The Burmese regime changed its name from the State Law and Order
Restoration Council (SLORC) to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) on November 15,
1997. The name is expected to change again with the ongoing of the Myanmar process of the military’s
democracy road maps through the National Conventions (NC). On November 2007, the military
government killed Buddhist monks and civilians on the street of the capital city Rangoon while they were
demonstrating to demand some action that would solve the daily hardship experienced by the Burmese
people.

On May 2nd and 3rd, 2008, the Ayeyarwady delta region of Burma was hit by Cyclone Nargis, over 130,000
people were dead or missing, and over a million people were left with no shelter and no food. This caused
an outrage around the world. The military government showed no mercy to help the victims of the cyclone
and blocked the aid sent from outside Burma. On May 10th, 2008, the military government forced the
people to say “yes” to their referendum for the upcoming 2010’s election without freedom and justice.

Despite the observation of Union Day for the past 62 years, it is sad that the true spirit of the union has
never been honoured by the Burmese government: that was meant to guarantee the socio-political
equality and self-determination of ethnic nationalities.

What we have learned is that this absolute power is absolutely corrupt and that honesty is the key to build
a true union. In order to build a genuine federal union in Burma, we need political equality, and equal
rights for every citizen and every ethnic nationality. The majority and the minority need to get equal rights
regardless of their ethnicity or religious affiliation. The emergence of a unified country rests on the
shoulders of all the people of Burma. To build a genuine federal union, all the people of Burma must work
together until we reach our goal.

We want democracy.
We want equality rights and justice.
We want a genuine federal union.