May 17, 2013

Guatemala: A relevant case study for Burma - S.H.A.N.

May 17, '13

Guatemala, a Latin American country neighboring the better known Mexico, is in many ways similar to Burma, according to a Spanish academic from The Netherlands based International Institute of Social Studies.

  • 24 peoples speaking 24 languages
  • 6 armed movements fighting against the central government
  • 36 years of armed struggle which recorded 250,000 killed and 50,000 disappeared, prompting the UN to accuse the rulers of practicing genocide
  • 1 million    IDPs
    600,000    refugees
  • The peace process lasted 10 years (1987-1996) when 20 agreements were signed between the two sides

“The armed movements had formed an alliance, the Guatemalan National Unity, to negotiate with the government,” Alberto Alonso Fradejas told listeners from Burma who were meeting in Chiangmai. “And although the agreements were signed only by the government and the rebel alliance, lots of civil society organizations had participated from the outside to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion.”

The agreements signed include:

  • The creation of a National Reconciliation Commission (1987)
  • Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights (1994)
  • Resettlement of displaced population (1994)
  • Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (1995)
  • Definitive Ceasefire Agreement (1996)

While Burma’s peace process began with ceasefire agreements, Guatemala’s had ended with one. “The two sides fought while they talked,” he explained. “Each thought it would get a better deal by getting the better of the other in the battlefield.”

Burma’s peace process began on 19 September 2011 when the nominally civilian government of U Thein Sein invited the country’s armed groups, more than 20 of them, some of which have been fighting since 1948.

To date, 13 ceasefire agreements have been signed, but the Burma Army is still waging war against 3 major movements: Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) that has yet to sign a ceasefire and the Shan State Progress Party (SSPP) and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) both of which have signed ceasefires.

It is originally appeared on SHAN. 

No comments:

Post a Comment