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Analysis of SLORC's Convention

Burmese Relief Center--Japan
DATE:June 3, 1995

Selections From: Constitutional Seminar Record
Published by the Burma Lawyers' Council
April 1995
63 pages, with color photos

The liberated area of Marnaplaw, where democracy and
federalism pennants have fluttered high in Burma, has fallen
into the hands of the military dictators.

Marnaplaw earned the distinction of being the paramount
threat to militarism, following the 1988 (8-8-88) upheaval.  It
became the focus of global attention, as regards to the
restoration of democracy in Burma.  Centered in Marnaplaw,
the All Burma Students' Democratic Front and the Democratic
Alliance of Burma, have come into being.  It is in Marnaplaw
that National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
also came into existence.  Marnaplaw has been the venue, on
many occasions, of political actions, presentations and
seminars, opposing the military dictatorship.  Many
international and domestic sympathetic people who support
democracy and ethnic rights, the international press, and other
community figures, have set foot in Marnaplaw and exchanged
experiences and information.  Many ways and means to
destroy or destabilise militarism have come under discussions
and scrutiny at Marnaplaw.  The political impetus, centred on
Marnaplaw, is truly tremendous.  But sadly, Marnaplaw has
fallen victim to a brutal and treacherous SLORC onslaught.

The global democratic community, organizations and
sympathisers were astounded to hear of the debacle of
Marnaplaw.  The All Burma Students' Democratic Front,
upholding the slogan "Defend the Democratic Bastion,
Marnaplaw, liberated area" during operation Htwi-Par-Wi-Kyo in 1991, held hand
s with the Karen National Liberation
Army and fought valiantly.  They are obviously saddened, at
the ominous tidings.  The former heads of the minorities who
have had opportunities to wage
armed struggle against the militarists, under the shadow of
Marnaplaw, are also at a loss, on receiving the ill-tidings.  The
loss of Marnaplaw impressed upon them the value and
potential of Marnaplaw.

Nevertheless, Marnaplaw has not given way nor bowed down
to militarism.  It stood courageously and valiantly against the
brutal militarists and their lackeys to the last.  Nobody, at any
time, can obliterate this history.

The fall of Marnaplaw has given much food for thought, query
and question - has the SLORC gained the ultimate victory with
the fall of Marnaplaw?  Is this the curtain for the struggle of
democratic and armed ethnic minorities in Burma ? Is this the
means by which lasting and absolute internal peace, according
to the SLORC, can reign in the country?

Natural Geography and Political Stand

Those who are interested in, attached to and respectful of
Marnaplaw are not so only because of its natural geographical
beauty.  Marnaplaw is a symbol for those who dare to oppose
militarism, stand up for righteousness, for democracy and
human rights, struggle for country and nation in place of self-centred interes
t, and have a clear political stand.  This is why,
Marnaplaw earns their interest, infinity and respect.  This
political stand on Marnaplaw is invaluable and incomparable
to its natural geographical outlook.  Strategic vitality,
geographical outlook and beauty are hollow and vain under a
canopy of a treacherous political stand.  In essence, it is the
political stand that is more primary than the geographical
outlook.  It is essential to cultivate a strong, developed and
genuine political stand.


At any rate, it is essential to study the causes of Marnaplaw's
debacle.  Different views, stands, and angles furnish many
conclusions on why Marnaplaw fell.  It is vital, to pre-empt a
recurrence and establish the likes of other Marnaplaws to
develop systematically, and to find out and review the most
basic causes of the fall of Marnaplaw.  Failure to imbue
political understanding and awareness among the grass root
level stands out as most paramount amongst many primary
causes of the debacle as reviewed.


Claiming rights to practise religious rites in the KNU territory
became a basis for discontent and dissent among some people,
that threatens the stability of Marnaplaw itself.  SLORC's abil-
ity to use it in the dissident ranks of the KNU and the regional
inhabitants played a vital role in the debacle of Marnaplaw.  A
problem of this proportion cannot arise out of religious beliefs
if a genuine internal peace reigns in Burma. Clarifications on
difficulties of religious rites professing, especially in times of
prevailing civil war, are a significant point in that problem
mentioned.  Failure to educate people in this process creates

Clamouring for peace under the banner of a religion is not
practical, in a country where people of many religions live. 
The grass root level have failed to grasp the basic understand-
ing that natural and eternal peace can only stem from a
political solution to achieve genuine internal peace where
peoples of all religions can co-exist.  In other words, SLORC's
tactic of using a religious pretext on another, among the
regional inhabitants, who are not well versed with politics,
paid off and culminated in the
downfall of Marnaplaw.  SLORC is in no position to exploit
the situation if the people are systematically fortified with the
intricacies of politics and there are no weaknesses in handling
religious matters.

There are numerous testimonies to back the claims that
military dictators of  Burma have created and used religious
belief and ethnic strife in their bid for stability during their
long rule.  Indeed, it is essential to pre-empt these exploitations
by way of arming the grass roots level with political know-
how in order to establish a new republic where eternal peace


National solidarity is indispensable in establishing a new
democratic republic where peace, stability, individual and
nationalities rights prevail and in aiming to develop an
economically sound Burma. National solidarity was in tatters
in the wake of the coup by the military in 1962.  National
Solidarity took an irreversible turn for the worst among
political parties, armed groups, organizations, not to mention
between the ruling body and the people.  National solidarity
disintegration could be cited as Burma's paramount ill among
all others.  A new republic where an individual's peace and
stability are guaranteed, will not be on the horizon, as long as
national solidarity is lacking.  This gives rise to the question of
how national solidarity can be established.

Today's SLORC is harping non-disintegration of the union and
national solidarity with an aim of establishing the country's
seemingly unity.  Since 1988, in the wake of  its coup,
SLORC's endeavours can be summarised as military and
political.  Militarily, SLORC has made it a point to wage
genocidal assaults on the ethnic minorities who are struggling
for their self-determination, in the KNU territory.  Marnaplaw,
amongst many KNU strongholds may have fallen victim to
SLORC's overwhelming armed might.  But it is impossible to
annihilate all the KNU rank and file.  Oppression by armed
might may be able to control revolt for a certain period of time. 
Nevertheless, in the long run, there will come a time for a great
explosion.  As a result, it is impossible, at any given time, to
establish genuine national solidarity via armed might.

A point of significance to note, since the coup, is the SLORC
sponsored National Convention.  SLORC has taken much time
to systematically hold this National Convention.  The
delegates to the convention are screened and chosen country-wide.  It has depl
oyed various means and ploys to approach
and affect ceasefires with the armed ethnic groups and dis-
patched to the convention as delegates and thus, strengthened
its stand on the National Convention.

Therefore, it is essential to review the SLORC sponsored
National Convention without bias, as whether it really is a
genuine convention with a practical view to establish genuine
national solidarity or just a sham show, a farce in fact, and a
systematic ploy, to establish SLORC dynastic rule and military
posterity, till eternity.


After convening the constitutional seminar on the constitution
of the union of Burma, in November, 1994, the Peace and
Democracy Front consisting of five ethnic affiliations led by
the United Wa State Party which went into cease-fire
agreement with the SLORC in 1989, came into existence. 
Moreover, December 1, 1994, the KIO stated the following
demand in its declaration.

"We believe that the major national causes, as set forth by the
SLORC and a lasting peace can only be achieved by bringing
together the three key groups: the SLORC government, Daw
Aung San Suu Kyi together with other political leaders who
obtained the majority support of the people, and the leaders of
the armed ethnic groups who represent the different ethnic
nationalities.  Only when these groups can meet together at an
appropriate time can a lasting solution be achieved."

In view of the above facts, as mentioned, despite the absence of
open declaration by those organizations, it becomes obvious
that they no longer believe in the impending results of the
National Convention by SLORC will establish the equal rights
of the ethnic minorities.  In another way, it is in evidence that
the National Convention by SLORC is unable to realize na-
tional unity, already in tatters.


As mentioned, the national solidarity cannot be established
militarily.  To establish national solidarity politically, the
organizations concerned are essential that they forfeit their self
centred-interests--acquiring and solidifying power individually
or affiliation wide--and they should show genuine attitude and
unvindictiveness as to accept righteousness in order to heal the
scars and injuries of the internal conflicts.  And, the justifiable
rights of individuals and ethnic minorities are to be
determined.  On these bases, the national solidarity should be
endeavoured for and established.

There are some weaknesses in some of the KNU leaders
attempting to solve the religious questions.  Nevertheless, the
tactics of the SLORC are brutal in undertaking to assault the
KNU under a pretext of religion in order to commit political
assassination on the KNU.  As a result, there exist an abyss in
the rank and file of the Karen kin brethren.  Militarily, SLORC
may be able to oppress the revolutionary Karen people.  But, it
can never conquer the heart and soul of the Karens.  Similarly,
the suspicious of other ethnic armed groups will mount with
the passing of days--a synonymous fate as the Karens might be
imminent.  SLORC, with such a devious, cunning attitude, will
never be able to establish genuine national solidarity.

Until and unless genuine national solidarity is established, the
uprising against the brutal oppression will be ever prevalent in
Burma.  Stemming from this, SLORC will continue commit-
ting human rights violations such as arbitrarily arrests, forced
labours, forced relocation, portering and ultimately killing


Despite the fall of Marnaplaw, as a geographical landmark,
into the hands of the military regime, genuine political stand
established in Marnaplaw will never lose its lustre.  Moreover,
no leading democratic figures have fallen victim to the
SLORC and they are all still active.  As a result, political
endeavours on the part of the democratic leaders basing on
genuine political stand will still prevail in future for certain.

With an aim to instil the political aspects of life in the grass
root level, establish national solidarity via genuine political
means and bare SLORC's antics; creating a seemingly legal
governing body for its dynastic rule and military posterity -- to
the global community, this book is published, herewith, based
on facts collected during the constitutional seminar at
Marnaplaw sponsored by the National Council of the Union of

The Burma Lawyers' Council

The ABSDF'S Analysis of the SLORC'S PLOY Not to
Transfer Power

(Extracts from the paper submitted by the All Burma Students'
Democratic Front)

SLORC Chairman's Speech on Transfer of Power

General Saw Mg. Chairman of the SLORC, made a speech to
the public on September 23, 1988, explaining the stance of the
armed forces.  It is as follows:

"Despite realizing forthcoming obstacles, the Armed Forces
unavoidably seized power.  On account of that, we felt much

We formed the government in order to meet the necessary
organs of a state, perform international relations and share the
duties among ourselves.  The fact that few responsible persons
have taken so many duties, shows that we have no intention of
holding on to power indefinitely.  All the armed forces
personnel, my colleagues and I would like to solemnly promise
not to hold on to power for a long time.  We will not break this
promise for any reason.  Moreover,. We additionally promise
that the armed forces, after transferring power to a
democratically elected civilian government which will emerge
from a free and fair election, shall only perform its principle
tasks of defense, security of the state and maintaining law and
order and etc."

Measures taken by the SLORC to avoid transfer of power.

a) SLORC's declaration, detention and repression

However, this statement was not adhered to, and on May 30,
1990, after the election, at the meeting of members of SLORC,
cabinet ministers and officials in Defense Ministry, the
following statement emerged.

"We have carried out significant, free and fair multi-party
election.  Nevertheless, we have not yet finished our task. 
What we have to realize is that until a legitimate government
has been formed, we have to take responsibility for peace and
maintaining law and order in the country".

The following statement, in reply to a reporter's question at the
93rd press conference held on June 1, 1990, apparently
uncovered the real intention of the SLORC concerning the
transfer of power.

"Multi-party election was successfully held on May 2 7. 
However, until a strong government has been formed
constitutionally, we have to take responsibility.  Subsequently,
we will continue to accomplish our three prime tasks.  The
new constitution must be drawn up by the representatives from
the wining political parties; and accordingly, the power will be
transferred to that legitimate government.  In spite of that, we
cannot say how long it will take to draw up the constitution."

Similarly, Brigadier General Khin Nyunt, Secretary (1) of the
SLORC, delivered the following speech at the 100th press
conference held on July 13, 1990.

"Currently, it is impossible to use the previous constitution as
it is outdated and unsuitable for the present situation.  To draw
up the new one without the backing of the majority would be
unsuitable.  Therefore, a substantive constitution must be
drawn up by all the ethnic nationalities, negotiating with each

Thus, SLORC blatantly adopted a ploy that would extend the
time to transfer power, after the elections.  

Preliminary Meeting of the National Convention

General Than Shwe, following the removal of Senior General
Saw Mg, on April 23, 1992, became the SLORC's chairman. 
The next day, the SLORC, according to its declaration NO
(11/90), announced that, "....of the political detainees, those
who are not harmful tot he security of the state would be
immediately released."  Then the National Convention would
be convened within six months.  On May 28, by Order No
(9/92), SLORC stated that the preliminary meeting of the
National Convention would be held on June 23.  Moreover, the
number of individual and elected representatives from legally
existing political parties, to attend the meeting, were specified
by the SLORC.

Of 93 political parties that participated in the elections most
were outlawed, for various reasons, by the SLORC.  Only 10
parties remained legal. Of the winning parties, 28 delegates
from 7 legally existing parties were allowed to attend the
preliminary meeting according to the proportion mention

a) National League for Democracy     15
b) Shan Nationalities' League for Democracy   6
c) National Unity Party 3
d) Union Pa-O National League 1
e) Myo Khami National United Organization 1
f) Shan State Kokant Democratic Party 1
g) Lahu National Development Party 1

Meetings were held on June 23, 30, and July 10.  The main
objective was that the lists of the representatives who should
attend the forthcoming National Convention were to be
submitted by the respective political parties.  Nevertheless, the
political parties, aiming to maintain their legality, unwillingly
fulfilled the SLORC's criteria.  Few parties, under the pressure
from the SLORC, submitted their sincere and frank agendas. 
They were as follows:

"If the present government, aiming for internal peace, national
reconciliation and solidarity, intends to invite the military and
political organizations, we cordially welcome this action." 
(Khun Tun Oo, SNLD)

"Out of the organizations which have taken up arms for
various reasons, ten delegates from each should be allowed to
attend the National Convention.  In comparison with the case-fire in Karen Sta
te, the government, without prejudice, should
declare a nationwide cease-fire; and offer amnesty to all
political prisoners."  (U Yan Kyin Maw, SSKDP)

"With an aim to national solidarity, the government should
negotiate with the KNU, KIO, and other organizations based in
the jungle.  Depending on the result of the negotiations, they
should be allowed to participate in the National Convention." 
(Dr. Mu Htan, Independent)

The National Convention

The SLORC issued declaration NO. 11/92 dated April 24,
1992, entitled "The Convening of a National Convention." 
Suddenly the phrase "National Convention" began to be
bandied about, and a working plan was drawn up.  Until 1992,
neither the peoples of Burma nor the international community
had heard of their intentions to hold a National Convention.

Following the coup and the declaration to hold multi-party
elections, the SLORC managed to form 235 political parties,
to create the impression of a multi-party situation.  However,
many of these parties were too small to be effective. 
Moreover, their activities were restricted by various oppressive
measures.  On the other hand, the SLORC encouraged the
National Unity Party (the former Burma Socialist Programme
Party), as much as possible.  The NUP was permitted to
manipulate all the BSPP offices and buildings throughout the
country.  They were even permitted to engage in a business
called "The 100 Lakes and 100 Plantations," a large scale
agricultural and fish-breeding project -- in Pegu Division.  This
earned the NUP 12 million Kyats for their party fund.  Former
member of the BSPP were encouraged to join the NUP and the
SLORC helped to recruit new members by supplying money
and the necessary authority.  To sum up, the SLORC
completely suppressed the democratic parties as much as they
could, whilst giving the NUP unlimited support, hoping it
would win.  If the NUP had won, the SLORC would have
transferred power without question, thereby adhering to its
original promise.

Had that been the case, the need for a National Convention
would never have arisen.  When the election result failed to
fulfill their expectations, the SLORC in order to avoid the
transfer of power, immediately issued declaration NO (1/90_,
Article (20) which states, "Therefore, the representatives
elected by the people have a duty to frame a constitution for
the future democratic state."  Then, Article (21) says, "In order
to seize the State power, framing the temporary constitution
and, accordingly, forming government, would be by no means
acceptable."  The essence of the declaration NO 1/90 was that
the power would not be transferred to the elected
representatives and their duty was merely to draw up the

Before the elections, the SLORC repeatedly promised to
transfer power.  When the election results were known, they
were supposed to allow the elected representatives to gather
and form People's Assembly to which the three branches of
power would subsequently be transferred.  However, when the
SLORC failed to get the desired result from the elections, they
blatantly broke their promise and ignored the election rules. 
Yet according to the SLORC's own declaration, No 1/90, the
duty of the duty of the elected representatives was to draw up
the constitution. If that really was the case, only they should
have been allowed to frame the constitution as a Constitutional
Convention, (Constituent Assembly).  There would have been
no reason to convene the National Convention.

At the preliminary meeting of the National Convention, despite
Khun Tun Oo's (SNLD) previous welcome to the political and
military organizations, no armed organization was invited to
attend.  In fact, out of 485 elected representatives, only 99
were permitted to attend.  The other members were made up of
603 SLORC representatives, thus totaling 702, and this is how
the sham National Convention came about.

The National Convention plays a significant role in the
SLORC's determination not to hand over power.  As we
understand the situation, the SLORC is striving to lay down
the fundamental principles to produce a new constitution,
which will guarantee military rule for the future.

Burma Lawyers' Council
P.O. Box 151
Khlong Chan P.O.
Bangkapi, 10240
Bangkok, Thailand