DECLARATION & AFFIRMATION OF INDEPENDENCE
His Royal Highness Prince Surkhanpha, Head of State of the Federated Shan States
Today, on this auspicious day of April 17th 2005, I declare and affirm the Independence of the Federated Shan States by the Will and in the Name of all Peoples of the Shan States.
Historically as well as legally the Shan State is a Free Country as Section 2 of the 1947 Constitution of the former Union of Burma provides: It states that “The Union of Burma shall comprise the whole of Burma, including (i) all the territory heretofore governed by His Britannic Majesty through the Governor of Burma and (ii) the Karenni [Kayah] State”.
This is implicit recognition that the territories of the indigenous people such as the Chin, the Kachin and the Karen and other state nationalities of the Union like (us) Shan people were neither under the rule of successive kings of Burma nor were they an integral part of Burma before the British annexation. The sole legal bondage between the Shan and the Burmese was mainly due the 1947 Panglong Treaty that was subsequently enshrined in the Constitution of the Union of Burma following our joint independence attained from Britain in 1948.
Fourteen years after our independence, successive Burmese military regimes have occupied and subjugated us for 43 years since General Ne Win’s military coupe in March 1962.
They have driven our People beyond endurance by rape of our girl children and women; pillage, plunder, and wholesale beating and murder of our men, women and boys by soldiers of the occupying Burmese troops.
For those who tell us that a union is forever and sacrosanct – it is as it were, in an abusive relationship, the abused partner is forbidden to sue for separation, but must grin and bear the abuse.
Indeed, the Burmese regime, in abolishing the 1948 Union of Burma Constitution that arose out of the Panglong Agreement of 1947, – the regime of Ne Win and his successors have already destroyed the very fabric of the 1948 Union of Burma by their unilateral action. They have inadvertently freed us Shan as they have also freed the other three original Constituent States of the Chin, Kachin and Karenni from all obligations and responsibilities towards the now defunct and shattered Union of Burma.
The claim that the Burmese generals are still making of “preserving” the Union is not only hollow but it is also deceitful and disingenuous, for they have already destroyed the Union they swear to preserve.
And in any case it does not give them the right to commit crimes against humanity, and to use rape and genocide as a weapon of war and intimidation against our hapless Shan People.
In destroying the Union of Burma of 1948, the Burmese regimes are striving to convert it into a chauvinistic 4th Burmese Empire or shall I say the 4th Burmese Reich; and it is this territorial expansion of the Burmese Reich by subterfuge and specious arguments, guises and lies of the so-called “preservation of the Union of Burma” is what we the Peoples of the Federated Shan States and our Government oppose and reject without reservation.
On April 9th, 2005 we received the report of the death of Hkun Htoon Oo; Leader of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy in prison by suicide says the Burmese regime. This is preposterous – Is this “murder by suicide”? It is criminal.
This latest report puts the lives of all nine remaining imprisoned moderate political leaders at grave risk – namely Sai Hso Ten, Sai Noot, Sai Hla Aung, Sai Tha Oo, Sai Ba Khin, Sai Myint Than, Sai Ne Moe, Sai Myo Win Htoon & Sai Htoon Nyo at an even greater risk for their lives. The crime of these Shan leaders, in the eyes of the Burmese regime, is that they were honestly trying to work towards a peaceful resolution with the Burmese generals. Hkun Htoon Oo’s murder by suicide and unjustified arrests of these leaders for treason & sedition is yet another catalyst showing us yet again, what an exercise in futility it is to try to negotiate with the unreasonable and uncompromising Burmese military regime in Rangoon.
We call on the international community to condemn the unjustified arrests of our leaders, and of Hkun Htoon Oo’s murder, to demand the immediate and unconditional release of the remaining 9 Shan Leaders and the freeing of other Shan activists and all those innocent civilian victims that the Burmese military regime are holding captive in prisons and in concentration camps.
The Burmese generals do not negotiate, they dictate and issue ultimatums.
I ask the civilised international community to bear witness for deaths and bloodshed visited upon innocent victims of the Burmese generals and their troops. Let it be known that we shall pursue and prosecute them in the International Criminal Court of Justice at The Hague for all the breaches of the Geneva Convention and of crimes committed against humanity.
The Government of the Federated Shan States shall be based on democratic principles and practices. We shall adhere to the Rule of Law and subscribe to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to the Geneva Convention.
We shall be a federation of national States and Peoples living in equality and harmony as we have done in times past before its disruption by the Burmese dictatorship who seek to enslave us and to occupy our lands.
The conduct of our Government shall be that of accepted international norms, of diplomatic and civilised codes; but henceforth we reserve the right to defend ourselves against all alien domination and aggression and shall seek assistance from any nation friendly to us.
We shall seek to live in peace and harmony with all our neighbours, but this shall not mean that we shall allow ourselves to be trampled upon or to allow ourselves to come to harm from those who seek to cause us injury either by covert or overt means and from those who seek to destroy us from within.
We shall extend our hands in friendship to all those who mean us no harm, but it is the Will of our Peoples to stave off and strike out against those who will injure us; and to expel all aliens who pose a threat to our security.
We shall not tolerate anyone dealing in illicit drugs or narcotics, and those found dealing in such substances shall be meted out with the harshest penalties without exception.
We are presently at War to expel foreign occupation troops from our lands and to free and liberate ourselves from alien domination of the Burmese military dictatorship. But as soon as it is practical, transparent general elections shall be held to elect a bi-cameral Congress or Parliament consisting of the People’s Representatives and Senators from the national states of the Federated Shan States.
All nationalities from the States of our Federation shall enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, colour or creed and shall be treated equally under the same law. By democratic usage and universal suffrage we shall elect a secular representative democratic government.
We appeal to the United Nations and the international community to come to our aid in sending International Peacekeeping Forces to oversee:
1. Immediate halt of all hostilities in our country
2. that no further atrocities against civilians are committed and
3. Withdrawal of all hostile Burmese Forces from the Shan Plateau