တုိင္းရင္းသားအသံ တရားမွ်တမွဳအတြက္တုိက္ပြဲဝင္အသံမ်ား

က်ေနာ္တုိ.ဟာ ဌာေနတုိင္းရင္းသားမ်ားျဖစ္ျပီး လူနည္းစုလူမ်ဳိးမ်ားမဟုတ္၊

Chin leader: We are the indigenous, not ethnic minorities

By Kwarn Lake

“Burma is a multi racial country. Several ethnic indigenous groups have lived throughout history in Burma and the Burmans call us ethnic minority groups. We are not minorities, we are the indigenous”, said Dr. Sui Khar, one of leaders of ENC ( Ethnic Nationalities Council) and also a leading member of Chin National Front, while lecturing to the ethnic youth in the workshop organized on the Thai-Burma border on 17 December.

Dr. Sui Khar

According to the definition of the Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission, Jose Martinez Cobo, who formulated a ‘working definition’ of indigenous peoples, he said:
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Indigenous communities, peoples and nations are those which, having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories, consider themselves distinct from other sectors of the societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.”
“According to this statement, the ethnic groups in Burma have their own land since many centuries. We are the indigenous. By addressing the ethnic groups as minorities, they are limiting and restricting our rights. We, the indigenous, must not allow others to label us as minorities”, he added.
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The definition of minority, he said, is as follows: Every large society contains ethnic minorities. They may be migrant, landless nomadic communities. In some places, subordinate ethnic groups may constitute a numerical majority, such as Blacks in South Africa under apartheid.
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In Burma the Chinese and the Indians are minority groups. Under the UN Bill of Human Rights, the minority and the indigenous are completely different. In the articles for minority, it recognizes their rights to develop their own culture, language, religion, education but not including the land and territories and it is different from the rights of indigenous.
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The legal indigenous rights was declared just over a year ago. “In order to build a genuine federal union, the Federal Constitution Drafting and Coordinating Committee (FCDCC) must consider this United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous People in their work. We will also have to refer to this Declaration when we ask for our rights”, he said.
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“From the SPDC, we are not demanding our rights because we already have them, but we are abused and our rights have been taken away from us. So now we are asking them to give these rights back to us”, he concluded at the end of the lecture.
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