Day Three. Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Diplomatic means can transform the smallness of a state into an asset.
Does anyone know which EAOs (otherwise ANSAs meaning armed non-state actors, as Geneva Call calls them) have signed the deed of commitment (DoC) for child protection?
NMSP signing Deed of Commitment for Protection of Children (Photo:rehmonnya.org)
Not me, for one. But no worry here, Because the GC’s Ms Taylor Landis is letting us know this morning who they are:
Karenni National Progressive Party
Karen National Union
New Mon State Party
PaO National Liberation Organization
Palaung State Liberation Front
But why should we sign when, for instance, we’ve learned from the American history that thousands of young boys under 18 served in both the Revolution and the War between the States?
The answer is that the world’s attitude has changed since, and signing these DoCs is one way the ANSAs can outreach the world as (more or less) legitimate actors. Because they need all the support they can get to win their cause.
The Geneva Call meanwhile is holding several discussions and workshops with other EAOs/ANSAs, including the RCSS/SSA and DKBA.
The next item on the agenda is the update on the ongoing peace process since November 2016, when the 8th Liaison Officers Conference was held. From one of the three updators, I have learned the following:
Meanwhile, the government-military bloc is saying they’ve conceded more than necessary
It seems we are being trampled upon by both sides.
Well, if they look only at the Union Peace Conference 21st Century Panglong (CPU 21 CP), their argument may be correct. As representatives are from the following 7 categories: government, legislature, military, EAOs, political parties, other ethnicities, and relevant representatives. But, if they look deeper, they’ll find that the decisions are made at the Union Peace Dialogue Joint Committee (UPDJC), which is comprised of 16 representatives each from the government-legislature-military bloc, the EAO bloc and the political parties bloc. (Which begs another question: Does it mean the UPC 21CP is just a showpiece?)
Then come the reports on yesterday’s exercise on the challenges the liaison offices are facing and how they are dealing with them. The following are excerpts:
“The previous government had established one stop service (OSS) mechanism to help deal with our problems,” explains one. “But that mechanism has gone along with U Thein Sein’s administration. And the new institutions set up by the new government are not functioning quite as well.”
One idea that comes out of it (and approved on the next day) is to form two levels of self-management. According to it, the EBO from now on will be responsible only for the support side. The management part from now on will be handled entirely by 2 Liaison Offices Coordination Committees, one top level and the other lower level.
The first level will be made up of one chief liaison officer from each EAO (10-11) and the second of one liaison officer from each liaison office (33).
At dinner time, I sat with one of the young officers from the RCSS/SSA. She tells us it was her uncle who had introduced her to the group. “At first, I thought I would be working only for a few months. But now I’ve been there for over a year.”
“Because I like the work I’m doing for the people.”
I hope all the liaison officers at the conference are like her.
(To be continue)
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