Monday, July 25, 2016

NCGUB--Our Vision Our Plan-- later called Plan for Democracy and Development--finished version I handed over on 3-17-2009. I am posting it now so it can be "checked against" changes or so-called changes 2011-2016--At the time it was posted on NCGUB website, so it is already in the public domain--

DraFt 3-17-09

1.  Burma faces three major ongoing crises:  A Political and/or a Constitutional Crisis, a Socio-Economic Crisis, and a Humanitarian Crisis.

Political developments inside Burma, including the handing down of harsh prison sentences to monks, democracy activists, and politicians as well as the continuing rejection of international demands for political reform, indicate that the Burmese generals will not be retreating from their scheme to legitimize military rule in Burma unless they face concerted action from the democracy forces at home and abroad as well as from the international community.
The Burmese generals' headstrong push to hold elections under a constitution unilaterally written without the participation of major democratic and ethnic political parties will entrench dictatorial rule by the incumbent corrupt military regime for generations.  This process needs to be stopped.
The NLD and the pro-democracy forces would like to see the return of Democracy to Burma as soon as possible.

2.  A Transitional Package for the Emergence of an Inclusive Political Process in Burma by 2010.

The leadership of the democracy movement inside the country believes that the NCGUB and the democracy movement outside the country should take a lead in creating more political space inside and strive to bring change to the country with the support of the international community.
Given this new responsibility, organizations in the democracy and ethnic movements in exile will work even more closely under common work programs and pursue common objectives. Their tasks in the next months especially before 2010 will be enormous, making preparations to improve the capacity of the movement in exile as well as inside the country, providing training programs to leaders and grassroots personnel, unifying visions of different components of the movement, projecting common objectives, and framing a working plan. 

3.  A Strategic Action Plan being prepared with the help of exile politicians, legal scholars, economists, a human geographer and a civil-military relations and other Burma experts and will include:
A.  A Constitutional Framework
B.  Electoral Law and System  
C.  A Transitional Economic Plan
D.  A Security Review
E.   National Reconciliation
F.   Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons in a New Administration, when
      Conditions are Normalized.

4.         In Burma, the polity and the economy are closely linked to form a political economy that is highly dysfunctional
            Between the first coup by the Revolutionary Council in 1962 and the beginning of the clampdown on the mass pro-democracy movement on September 18, 1988, when SLORC was formed, Burma had a socialist economic system with a one-party military government.  The Burma Socialist Program Party laid down much of the economic system that was in place in 1988 when SLORC initiated an "open economy."
Since 1988, a bizarre and even more distorted economy has appeared, with the state playing a major role and its expenditures financed by the highly destructive expedient of printing more money.  The inflation rate is currently 50% per annum, the highest in S.E.Asia.


A.      The Constitutional Framework -- Underlying Principles

& Basic Conditions

5.         Introduction
The issue of constitutional settlement lies at the heart of Burma’s national reconciliation.
Burma has amassed significant “constitution capital”, despite being without one for nearly 34 years since Independence and over sixty years of civil wars and conflict.  Despite this, constitutional advance eludes us.  This cannot be secured without addressing the fault lines through talks, and constitutional conversations or constitutional review.
The two fault lines our areas of contention where dialog is likely to fall apart is:
(i)         Federalism, endorsed by the NLD, the Ethnic Nationalities and large numbers of  pro-democracy parties and
(ii)       The role of the military in national politics.
In general, the pro-democracy groups including the Ethnic Nationalities want a decentralized federal union, civilian government and a parliamentary system with a  president, in some cases with particular reference to Ethnic and States Rights.

Key Stakeholders
The SPDC wants a unitary, centralized administrative state, a (military) president and a leading role for the military in parliament, the government at all levels and in the presidency and a parliament comprised of two houses at central level, but to sit jointly for a number of key state law making powers, similar to the People's Assembly of the Peoples Republic of China.
The SPDC drafted a national constitution that reflects the type of state they desire.  They plan to implement this constitution after the 2010 "elections" which they also plan to hold. 
Our task is to provide a scenario whereby constitutional advance might be made, given the tight constitutional constraints circumscribed by the SPDC's draft state constitution, its seven step road map to a disciplined democracy, its tight hold on the levers of state and economic power, the incarceration of key political leaders, and the draconian laws that curtail basic freedoms, and a modus operandi of command and control and political paranoia on a grand scale.

6.      The SPDC Constitution – unresolved issues.

·                 The SPDC’s constitutional framework, contained in its seven-step roadmap, adds to neither the capital nor the advance. 
·                 The SPDC’s constitutional framework does not seek to resolve competing ideas on nationhood, identity, language, political and economic systems and which moral values should be promoted or disavowed. 
·                 The SPDC’s constitutional framework does not seek to resolve the constitutional fault line running through the political heart of Burma, marked by secession, federalism, and the Tatmadaw’s constitutional role in national political life.
·                 Secession is now dead - a major constitutional advance on the part of all the Ethnic Nationalities, but federalism-desired by democratic groups and Ethnic Nationalities, seen as the best approach to a multi-ethnic-diverse nation, and detested by the Tatmadaw leaders seen as the disintegration of the nation, remains unresolved.
·                 The SPDC say that the National Conventions’s constitutional principles, that mandated Rangoon as the capital, cannot be changed, but did so without comment, when they changed the country’s capital from Rangoon to Naypyidaw. 
·                 The draft constitution  says that it will apply as soon as approved through a referendum and the SPDC agreed with NC delegates to postpone its implementation until after the 2010 election. 
·                 The SPDC’s constitutional framework, incorporating the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law (14/89), Declaration 1/1990, NC Orders, Working procedures, & Rules, Order 5/96, Seven-Step Roadmap to Disciplined Democracy, the 54 Member Technical Drafting Committee, 2008 referendum, and the planned 2010 elections fails the legitimacy tests of rightful architects, rightful process and rightful design.  This leaves the SPDC’s planned 2010 elections in “legitimacy limbo”.  Credibility however, can come through constitutional review.

7.         Calls for Constitutional Review

·                 The clarion call by all parties, except the SPDC, is and remains constitutional review.
·                 For a transition to take place that has some chance of sticking, constitutional review is essential.  It can be best approached by recalling the constitutional capital that has been amassed, scope out where the country wants to be now and in 10 to 50 years. For example, it would be good to be peaceful and prosperous and as General Than Shwe says, when referring to the constitutional referendum and the 2010 elections, for Myanmar to hold its head high in global society.
·                 In seeking constitutional review it is essential to promote just that to enable a transition.  It can include a constitutional implementing team, necessary to  implement the country’s constitution, to include sunset and sunrise clauses and the mechanisms of machinery of state, that will be needed in a new state structure. 
·                 This requires an electoral law system to be established that will include amendments to the political parties’ laws, or new ones.  (See also the section on Electoral Laws.
·                 All major groups directly involved continue to call for any transition process to be inclusive, i.e. to have talks and for constitutional review.  (See attached comments)
·                 All major groups denounce secession. (See their respective draft constitutions)
·                 All major groups, except the Tatmadaw, desire a constitutional framework that incorporates a form of Federalism. 
·                 It is important to understand and recognize the “legal” genesis of the SPDC’s National Convention (NC) found in Declaration 1/1990.  It is critical for three reasons: 

(i)        All parties agreed to work with it, albeit reluctantly, including the NLD.

(ii)        It repeats the Pyithu Hluttaw Election Law (14/89) at Chapter 2, Section 3 stating: “The Pyithu Hluttaw shall be formed with the Hluttaw representatives who have been elected according to this law from the constituencies.”

(iii)       Declaration 1/1990 further states at Section 20 that those elected in the 1990 elections have the mandate to prepare the country’s constitution, “Consequently under the present circumstances, the representatives elected by the people are those who have the responsibility to draw up the constitution of the future Democratic State.” (NC started with approximately 15 per cent of MPs, and finished with approximately 1 per cent of MPs) It further sets some limiting conditions, but these representative fundamentals remain unaltered
(iv)      NLD have said they want to convene the Parliament to have constitutional review.  Refer to Declaration 1/1990 and at least have regard to it, to launch talks re. constitutional review
8.         What the draft SPDC constitution does and does not do. 

            It does contain a few good points, the common law writs and such, but these are overwhelmed by its comprehensive fatal flaws.

It does --
·            These provide amnesty for any crimes committed for the current government/Tatmadaw leaders
·            gives the Tatmadaw a leading role in parliament, the executive and the presidency
·            mandates a presidential system of government
·            creates three parliamentary chambers at national level:  The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (national parliament), the Pyithu Hluttaw (people’s lower house) and the Amoytha Hluttaw (Ethnic Nationalities upper house) but it gives the Pyidaungsu  Hluttaw its own constitutional competence and legislative standing-similar to a Peoples Republic of China People’s Assembly, as well as competence to deal with deadlocked bills and so on, and it also sits as the electoral college to elect the President
·            provides for a maximum of one session per year for the parliament
·            establishes a constitutional tribunal that has the power to give opinions before the fact and review of parliamentary legislation, as of right.
·            shapes the state through the narrow prism of the SPDC’s state ideal as being led by the Tatmadaw
·            mandates a national culture
·            imports the three national causes into every area of life, including political parties
·            maintains sovereignty of the rulers
·            incorporates the Tatmadaw command and control modus operandi into the state structure
·            further entrenches the centralization of the executive to the capital (Rangoon) as well.
·            limits the functions and power of the Ethnic Nationalities in legislative bodies to a few Ethnic Nationalities specific areas
·            charts a transition from a Tatmadaw administration to a civilian administration. However there is a constitutional caveat on this, also implied in point seven of the seven-step roadmap
Most importantly, the SPDC Constitution does not --
·            include popular sovereignty
·            include the people’s aspirations, made clear in 1990 and in the National Convention and other fora
·            resolve the fundamental national political problem manifested in Federalism, and Ethnic Nationalities needs
·            allow political freedoms
·            seek to resolve the Ethnic Nationalities needs
·            seek to reconcile differences and or embrace diversity
·            recognize the state as being one of multi-ethnicity and political diversity
·            give amnesty for political actors other than the SPDC/Tatmadaw
·            provide for state and region constitutions
are, in the words of our constitutional expert, truly fatal flaws.

            A true Constitution must guarantee the following Bill of Rights

9.         Human Rights

Guarantee Human Rights

Strict guarantees of human rights and respect for human dignity. A Human Rights Committee should be established. It should be responsible to the highest legislative body to prevent government from abusing power and violating citizens’ rights. A democratic Burma with its Constitution must guarantee everyone’s personal freedom.
Release all prisoners of conscience and political prisoners. All of these individuals and their family members have been treated as criminals because of their thoughts, speeches, writings etc. The state should grant Reparations. A Truth Investigative Commission could have a mandate to find facts about injustices and atrocities and determine responsibility for them, uphold justice and seek social reconciliation.

            Freedom of Expression, Freedom to Assemble, Freedom to Form Groups and Freedom of Religion and Language and the Right to Own Property and Freedom from Arbitrary Confiscation, Land or Cultivators' Rights etc.. are crucial.

10.       Political/negotiation process:  Principle demands

During the build-up to the 2010 election there must be an inclusive political process.  Only then can the de facto become the de jure.  The SPDC can become truly legitimate, if it agrees to a Real Democracy.  Recently released long-time political prisoner, who was held for 19 years, U Win Tin, says the relevant slogan is -- "Suu, Hlut, Twé, Hpwè." 

          Suu or Aung San Suu Kyi and the political leadership; NLD, 1988 generation leaders etc. must be free.
            Hlut or Hluttaw (Parliament) must meet and be functional.  (In 1998, Aung San Suu Kyi formed the CRPP (Committee to Represent Peoples Parliament) due to the SPDC's exclusionary actions.
            Twé or Twé Sone Sway Nway Pwe (Political Dialogue)
Hpwè or Freedom to Organize.

11.       Basic Conditions which need to be satisfied:  Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners need to be freed and assured of their personal security and given space to carry out their political and party duties for all time.  Kangaroo courts need to stop and be under an independent judiciary system.

12.       Approach:  Openness – with media etc. and Re-structuring. Burma is now a strictly closed and oppressive system, with bloggers, citizen journalists etc. given long arbitray prison sentences in show trails.  This needs to stop and the executive and judiciary branches of government set apart from each other.  Political changes and economic changes need to proceed in tandem.

            The Constitutional Framework

13.       The Burmese Democracy Movement cannot accept the SPDC Constitution.

·       Basic Human Rights are not guaranteed.
·       Principles of equality and popular sovereignty are ignored.
·       Military supremacy will be exercised.
·       The rule of law, which is a major foundation for economic development, is ignored. 
·       Economics in the SPDC Constitution is "handled" in a very domineering way – that SPDC "owns all resources below and above the ground!"  This needs to be changed.
·       Existing unjust laws will remain in force and more unjust laws will emerge.
·       The Judiciary will be under the direct control of the Executive and Justice will be denied.
·       Self-rule and shared rule for the ethnic nationalities will not be a reality.
·       The Executive is the focal point of the Constitution, and the President, together with the Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces, will exercise rigid centralization.
·       Institutions that could balance the power of the Executive are absent.
·       There is no flexible amendment clause that can provide space for further constitutional evolution in accordance with the desire of all ethnic nationalities of Burma to rebuild the country as a Federal Democratic Union.

14.     Basic Principles of a Constitution:

            A federal system.  Limited government, checks and balances, a government of the people, by the people, for the people.  A level playing field.  No one is above the law.  An independent judiciary.  A free press.  Reduce central control and unduly centralized management and administration.  The central government must be checked by built-in institutional balances.  An Interim Constitution should reflect these basic conditions:

·       Legislative and executive bodies should be designed based on shared responsibilities.  As the role of the Tatmadaw (Burmese Army) will be acknowledged, so also the Tatmadaw must reciprocally acknowledge the role of elected representatives of the People in making decisions.
·       The interests of ethnic nationalities, in harmony with the interest of the whole country, must be accommodated.  Fundamental rights of ethnic nationalities must be constitutionally guaranteed, at minimum, rights for protection and promotion of literature and culture, as well as non-discrimination based on ethnicity must be assured. 
·       Fundamental freedoms and basic human rights of the People must be constitutionally guaranteed. 
·       There must be constitutional provisions, which protect an independent judiciary and equality of all before the law, and the guarantee that the rule of law will prevail.
·       The Constitution-making process should provide an opportunity to continue the national dialogue for Transition.  There must be flexible provisions for constitutional amendments to provide space for constitutional evolution in harmony with the times and political developments.

15.       Recommendations for the International Community

            The international community should encourage SPDC

            To ensure an inclusive, participatory and transparent constitution-making process
To initiate a constitutional review process which has already been drafted and published, with a view to finding common ground that reflects the People's Will. Release all political prisoners (including ethnic leaders), lift restrictions on political parties (including ethnically based parties) to allow them to re-open offices and operate.
Lift restrictions so people can express their opinions.
            End hostilities in minority areas and allow representatives to enter the process.
Amend the provisions which prevent Daw Aung San Suu Kyi from standing for election in 2010. Ensure international standards for a free and fair election.  Allow independent international observers.

            Points from the CRPP                      

            We need a new legal system that comes from the people and the Hluttaw (Parliament) now represented by the CRPP.  A Bill of Rights.  A Democratic Process of making Laws of the People, by the People, for the People.

16.       CRPP Recommendations

            With regard to Parliamentary Committees, the CRPP recommends. A Scrutiny Committee (to examine) "guarantees, promises and undertakings given by" the SPDC.  The SPDC has been notorious in its manipulation of the entire process by which it has been attempting to legitimize itself. 

            The States/Divisions Committee needs to work on development programs.
Parliamentary sessions must be held in Rangoon, which is the natural historical, economic and political capital of Burma.  In 2005 the capital was moved. Geography and an oppressive, perverted "city planning" has made Naypyidaw an isolated, centrally controlled place where political activism is impossible.
There needs to be public education in democratic due process.

17.       Recommendations in Agricultural Rights

·            Notification No. 4/78 should be abrogated immediately and entirely.
·            On paper, the 1963 Cultivators' Rights Protection Law prohibited issuing warrants, confiscating land and farm animals etc.  This law has been repeatedly and seriously violated.  Any new government should ensure laws such as these are abided by.
·            One law provides protection for money-lenders.  As the CRPP notes, "This is not the kind of law that protects farmers' rights."
·            What is essential is legislation that will protect farmers from laws and orders which deprive them of their rights and a law which will shield them from all forms of oppression.
·            Restoration of grazing lands.
·            Rights on alluvial lands (Myay-nu-kyun) which currently are only for one year need to be much more secure.
·            Although the state is the ultimate owner of all land, farmers need the right to cultivate, transport, mill, store and sell their products freely.
·            Enact legislation so cultivators have rights to land ownership and can transfer or pawn their land.
·            Legislation to prevent the return of big land owners.  Big landowners (oligarchs) are already coming into existence again in Burma.
·            Prices, banks and markets – see the Economics section of this Plan.
·            Organize, expand and modernize the Land Records and Settlement Department, originally formed in the colonial period.

18.    Labor Laws and Rights

·            Between 1948 and 1962, there were a total of 30 different labor laws. 
·            Outdated Agricultural Workers and Wages Act of 1948-49 needs to be reformed
         and modernized.
·            In trying to make the Union of Burma a parliamentary democracy, there needs to be
         conformity in every respect with the international community especially as an
         integral part of the United Nations.
·            We must not be at odds with the ILO where labor issues are concerned.

19.       Federalism, States' or Ethnic Rights

To create unity and solidarity it is essential to adopt and practice a democratic system and multi-nationalism in accordance with the spirit of the historic Panglong Agreement.  For instance the conditions under which the Shans joined was to join under a union/federal system, to have equal rights and status, Shan States must be given unfettered self-government, to be given the right to secede at any time if so desire.
These basic rights are likely to become explosive issues.  CRPP mentions "a sufficient population" and the SPDC "constitution" also talks about "size of population" without mentioning the exact size of the population (when a separate state will be allowed).  Leading democratic politicians have said that the Wa state, where the Wa have been given the right to bear arms and tacitly engage in opium and methamphetamine production, is likely to become a problem.
On Feb 24, 1962, ethnic nationalities representatives pointed out the shortcomings of the 1947 Constitution and proposed a change to Federalism.  The army seized power under the pretext that it would lead to the Union's disintegration and that the Shan States was arranging to secede.  The military erroneously looked on itself as the savior and natural ruler of the country and their propaganda emphasized this.  In fact, what they established was a political policy based on militarism.  From 1962 to 1988 they governed the country under the cloak of socialism with a single party dictatorship.

20.       General legal recommendations

·            Legislative transparency and awareness campaigns of new (democratic) land tenure arrangements. 
·            Subsequent legislation that is clear and transparently enforced through independent processes, including specialized courts. 
·            Complement land title with other reforms, efficient and independent judicial systems, reformed financial laws, install bankruptcy and foreclosure laws etc.
·            Ensure formal laws are consistent with local social and cultural values.
·            Property Laws need to honor original ownership before 1962.  There has been widespread talking over of private property both by the military government and other military connected individuals, in both rural and urban areas.

B.    Electoral Law and System

21.    Genuine elections are not just a technical exercise.  They are a fundamental human
         right linked to a broad array of institutions and the ability of citizens to exercise
         civil and political rights.
·            Elections are the periodic test of the strength of democratic institutions. 
·            Elections are a vehicle for citizens' participation in the political process.
·            Elections are part of making democracy deliver a better quality of life by linking voters' interests to the act of selecting a candidate, party or policy through public discourse.

22.       Contortions or distortions in electoral law and system to unfairly benefit certain political interests which can happen through show or sham elections, sham referendums, electoral fraud, gerrymandering (setting voting districts or borders to favor certain political parties or interests), ballot design, faulty vote counting, voter registration fraud etc.and should be eliminated.

23.       Burmese electoral laws under military regimes
First principles regarding electoral laws are that Citizens' Rights, not State or Corporate Rights should be protected. 
In Burmese electoral laws under successive military regimes we find that state's rights are constantly defined, demarcated and mapped out to protect the regime's own interests at the expense of individual and group rights.
For instance, the 1975 (election) law, is clearly titled, State Protection Law, Pyithu Hlutta Law No. 3, 1975, and talks of the regime's usual obsessions about "infringement of sovereignty and security of the Union of Burma .  .  . threat to peace of the people.  .  . threat of those desiring to cause subversive acts, etc."  These kinds of "laws" and biased and paranoid language have no place in a real democracy.
Article 3 even talks of "protecting in advance!" against "threats to security" by which one presumes it means "protective custody" a.k.a. arrest and imprisonment.  The 1975 law said it could "declare a state of emergency for any territory in the country"and "may, if necessary, restrict any citizen's fundamental rights in any territory on the Union of Burma."  In reality, rights are routinely abuses everywhere in Burma and it is chilling to read it in legal language.
Such language as "necessary restriction" is used in this law and Article 11 mentions restriction of activity in designated territories, "designation of place where person – is to reside" "denial of travel" and "denial of possession of specific materials."
The 1988 New Elections Commission Law established the figurehead commission for the 1990 elections, which turned out to be free and fair, in which the NLD won.
This was in spite of the SLORC Law No. 6/88 of Sept. 30, 1988 which attempted to restrict formation of organizations and parties and asserted control by the Ministry of Home and Religious Affairs. 
Years after the NLD victory and even after SLORC clearly did not transfer power, in 1996 it out put a retroactive law "safeguarding the state from the danger of subversive elements."
For its upcoming 2010 elections, the SPDC has not yet announced an electoral law, but it has already unilaterally held a referendum, days after Cyclone Nargis hit, and also "rigged" the Constitution so that Daw Suu is de-barred from standing for election.

24.  Recommended electoral law reforms

In addition to necessary constitution review and review of electoral procedures, we recommend electoral reform.  Some recommendations are:
·            Those that improve the expression of public desires in the voting process and reduce controls or restrictions biased towards reducing participation of true democratic forces and increase participation of pseudo-parties or regime-sympathetic "parties."  A number of these have already been formed.
·            Fool-proof vote counting procedures, preferably electronic, run by international agencies.  Appropriate ballot design and voting booths.  In 1990, there were reports of booths in which outsiders could observe how each individual voted because there was a gap in the curtain of about 6 inches from the floor, and the 2 ballot boxes were placed so far apart.
·            Safety of voters and election workers needs to be strongly assured.
·            Monitoring by United Nations Fair Elections Commission, International IDEA, National Democratic Institute and other volunteer international observers, entry visas for international media and right to travel all over Burma during the election.
·            Use of UN Standards for safety of citizens, coercion, scrutiny and eligibility to vote. 
·            Extend and expand electorate to include political prisoners, Burmese overseas, Burmese migrant workers all adult members of all ethnic groups including the rohingya and Burmese minority groups in exile. 
·            Review definitions of "refugee"  "citizen" "right of return" etc.
·            Open and transparent process throughout.
·            This time after going through another "SPDC charade" the SPDC has to honor the results if pro-democracy parties win. 
·            Before the elections it has to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners, assure their safety and guarantee freedom of organization, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression.
·            Before the elections, there has to be an open and inclusive constitutional review process.

C.      An Economic Plan:  Stabilization and Structural Change

25.       So far, only token “economic reforms” have taken place.  Major reforms are still needed. 
Burmese economists and political leaders support free trade and an open economy.  The NLD is not advocating removing sanctions.  Free trade and sanctions are not mutually exclusive.  Sanctions have already been focused into financial sanctions.
The main economic problems (in the agricultural sector, which is predominant) are: 
Monopoly of rice export by the government, non-ownership of land by farmers and annual permit required to farm, quotas demanded by government and local authorities at prices lower than market rates, lack of fertilizers and fuel and lack of a modern agricultural credit system.
The "open economy" SLORC declared in 1988 was an improvement over BSPP policies 1962-1988, but politics still conditions economics. 

26.       Economic goals:  Burma should promote a healthy rural sector,  a healthy macro-economic environment and promote manufactured exports.  However rich in natural resources, the only sustainable source of exports and growth are in manufacturing. 
Stabilization and structural change need to take place for true economic reforms.
Burma has a very distorted economy, with a control mentality, and many elements of the Burma Socialist Program Party policies, such as state-owned enterprises, fixed prices, planned crops, compulsory delivery quotas (until 2003), a fixed exchange rate and multiple exchange rates still in place.  State ownership in the form of military holding companies (UMEH) has been increasing, also due to arbitrary land confiscation.  This is related to asymmetrical power relations.

 27.     Stabilization

The severest distortions need to be corrected and then almost simultaneously, structural reforms need to take place.
·                 It is inadvisable to merely adopt International Monetary Fund/World Bank recommendations of "freeing prices" (price liberalization) without system change.
·                 In August 2007 fuel prices were raised.  These resulted in protests and the monks marching.  The clampdown on Sept 26, 2007, led to this current round of the severest repression yet suffered.  Clearly micro-economic "reforms" such as these applied in an ad hoc way without structural reforms do not work.  There needs to be reforms, but the reforms should be of a systemic nature (macro-economic) and not piece-meal token reforms (micro-economic or cosmetic). 
·                 Multiple exchange rates must be unified.  They cause corruption and constrain foreign investment.
·                 A floating (market) rate rather than a pegged one.
·                 Since 2002, income from mainly natural gas exports has changed chronic deficits in the current account of the balance of payments to consistent surpluses and comprises nearly 40% of Burma's exports by value in 2006/2007.  Gas earnings are nearly invisible in public accounts.

28.       Money and Banking 

          Money supply is too large, resulting in continuous hyperinflation.  An interim government or new power-sharing government needs to attend to reducing money supply (mainly the volume of paper currency, as credit is a negligible amount).  New currency notes will probably be needed.  A floating exchange rate will take care of needed devaluation and help Burma's foreign trade.
            SPDC does not seem to be aware of its role in causing inflation through its increase in money supply (printing banknotes and high budget expenditures) There are moneys it spends on the repressive mechanism, for "prestige projects" and for buying support to keep itself in power. Curiously, the SPDC "constitution" has a provision that the "union shall not demonetize the currency legally in circulation." 
            Liberalize (and unify) the exchange rate.  Let market forces (demand and supply) set the rate.  Then the multiple exchange rates will be automatically "unified" as at any given moment there will only be one prevailing market (floating) rate. All currency exchanges need to be legalized.  It should be legal for anyone to hold foreign exchange.  

            Structural Change  in the Agricultural Sector
29.       In the agricultural sector planned crops and other forms of interference have returned.  Farm indebtedness is high.  There are few formal credit institutions, and severe ecological problems in the Dry Zone and the Irrawaddy Delta (even before Cyclone Nargis).  Poor roads and other infrastructure with low capital in agro-processing hamper growth.  Since the 1970s there has been depletion of mangrove forests in the Delta. There is a high percentage of broken rice grains due to outdated milling machinery.  This has affected the quality of the polished rice and the export price.Arbitrary taxes are imposed at the local level.  This takes too much from the farmer's meager resources.   They cannot invest in improving the land or buy farm machinery.  Forced (corvee) labor is oppressive. 
30.       Macro-policies need to be changed.  Even higher levels of natural gas production would accomplish little without structural reforms.  In 2008 the Burmese real growth rate was zero per cent.  Income from natural gas exports seemed to mitigate this.
The Burmese economy is run as a centralized military administration with a high degree of central control. The issue of narcotics alone should make Burma a nation of concern.  Methamphetamines have joined opium, and the Wa region in eastern Burma has become the Wa Autonomous Region. 

 31.      Land reform
            Rural land is formally owned by the state.  Individuals have 30-year inheritable use rights (usufructs) determined by village level and regional land committees. 
·                 Farmers must have rights to own their land. 
·                 Introduce long-term leases. 
            Mass landlessness is taking place due to arbitrary "rules" which give the farmer cultivation rights only.  They don't actually own the land, nor can they sell it nor use it as collateral for loans.  They can lose the land at any time due to harassment by local authorities.  These wrongs need to be righted. Burma is still a predominantly agricultural country, has not yet achieved an industrial revolution.  There is sell off of natural resources.  The degree and scope of landlessness after Cyclone Nargis in Irrawaddy Delta in May 2008 matches that during the 1930s Depression when land was lost en masse to the chettiars.

            Agricultural sector reforms

·            Allow farmers to grow what they wish.  Remove planned crops, e.g. kyet su (jatropha).   Build up infrastructure.  Support with agricultural banking reforms.

32.       Banking Reforms

(i) Revitalize Commercial Banks

            The establishment of trust and the application of best-practice banking regulations is important. Burma signed the Basel Accords (the international ‘standard’), but in practice bank regulation is corrupt, ad-hoc and ineffectual. Implementation is key.
The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM), which has lost credibility, must be reformed. The reformed central bank must be independent of government. There are restrictions on private banks that do nothing for prudence or efficiency, whilst inhibiting financial development. E.g. limits on branch numbers, bank products, bank deposits and loans.  These restrictions should be removed.
            Burma’s financial sector should be open to internationally respected foreign banks. Applications to establish new private commercial banks should be called for. To forestall inappropriate applications to form ponzi-type schemes and to engage in money-laundering, there should be strict application of the Basel Principles.  "Fit and proper" persons should be selected to become bank owners.  Existing banks should be reviewed.

(ii) Revitalizing State-Owned Banks

            The state will need to play a role in the country’s financial sector. The state can provide capital to financial institutions, which can distribute credit according to commercial criteria. Before any state-owned banks can perform such a role, any new government will need to assess  existing institutions.  Non-performing loans need to be identified and recalled. State-owned banks should be reviewed and unnecessary ones merged, sold or closed.

(iii) Revitalizing Rural Credit

            Ninety per cent of Burma’s farmers are without formal credit, and are forced to borrow from village moneylenders etc. who charge high interest rates and are corrupt.  Over half of all rural households are heavily in debt. MADB (Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank) needs to be restructured, recapitalized and rolled into a new umbrella institution incorporating microfinance.
Micro-finance is not sufficient.  It does not provide enough capital for broad-based development.

 33.      Economic Reforms in the Natural Gas (Mining) Sectors

Income from natural gas exports has resulted in corruption, conspicuous consumption of individuals, as well as "collective consumption" at the public level and lumpiness in payment timing. 
Windfall gains have been managed in other gas and oil producing countries and regions with Revenue Distribution Funds which go directly from the projects to the people, by-passing the state.
For Burma, assuming a genuinely reform-minded government, gas revenues should be channeled into a core private sector, rather than forming special funds.  There should be caps on public spending, creation of an independent oversight committee, transparency and a free press.
In gem mining the government needs to give up its monopoly of mining and its abuse of mine workers and allow the traditional small-scale miners who protected the resource and respected it to return with their "Buddhist model."  (Mogok gem mining).
There is no need to remove the JADE/Tom Lantos act of USA (sanctions against gem and jade imports to USA) as gem merchants in Burma say it has not much effect anyway – it may be used as a "prestige" or "feel-good" bargaining chip in negotiation for change.

34.       Economic Recommendations

          Stabilization and structural change policies should be instituted immediately.
The population should be free to move wherever they wish and work at whatever they choose.  Labor needs to be paid a living wage or salaries and have labor unions and other protective mechanisms and legislation in place.  Farmers need to own their land, be supported by infrastructure and bank loans, proper legislation and process regarding return of confiscated land.  
            Free trade.  At the moment Burma has no option but export-led growth, in spite of the world economic recession.  Agricultural commodities would remain major exports while another attempt is made at an industrial revolution.  Rice acreage should be increased and self-sufficiency in edible oils encouraged.  To promote competitiveness, import duties should be reduced. 
            Set up a stock exchange.  Encourage domestic saving and foreign investment – not only foreign corporations investing in Burma, but also the small Burmese saver/investor allowed to invest overseas.
State (public) ownership should be minimized, especially small scale private enterprises should be encouraged and supported.

            State-owned enterprises
            The new style oligarchs:  UMEHL (Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited)  mainly owned by the military generals and their families, and rich private citizens, need to be regulated by anti-monopoly or anti-trust laws. Ordinary citizens should be allowed to do more.  These should be combined with anti-corruption and labor protection laws which are actually implemented.  A free press will help.
            The CRPP warns these oligarchs or "comrades", also called pariah capitalists, need to be carefully watched.   Those given contracts or import/export permits have become very wealthy.  Those with projects for 5000 acres or more will have permission to carry out the projects for 30 years, and will be allowed to export half their rice produce legally.  CRPP warns that people will forge statistics.  The "comrades" will also get other special privileges and loans.  Authorities plan to allocate large tracts of land and have already assigned tens of thousands of acres in some townships.
            Take legal action against the worst of predatory entrepreneurs or land grabbers. This is something a new interim government must do.  Work out deals with some in exchange for political and economic freedoms and guarantees.  The playing field should be level.

            Set up Special Economic Zones

            The global economy is in Recession (China included) and China is moving from export-led growth to domestic demand-led growth, what should Burma do? The answer is, Burma is not China and has no sizeable domestic market in terms of both purchasing power and population size.  It also is not yet an industrialized nation.  So it will still have to continue to rely on manufactured exports. Save what is left and rebuild natural resources, including forests, water resources and bio-diversity.  Some of this exploitation and environmental degradation may be irreversible.  It may take decades to revive the Irrawaddy Delta.  

D.      Security Review

35.       Burma has no external enemies and yet has had an on-going civil war since 1947, the longest in the world.  There are white areas, gray areas and black areas based on the security level.  There is major narco-trafficking.  There are ceasefire groups and non-ceasefire groups and paramilitaries.  The large number of internally displaced and the continuous outflow of refugees into all the neighboring countries since 1962 attests to the fact that the security situation is severely eroded.  Civilian control of the military is important and needs to be instituted immediately.

36.       The CRPP Policy Vision stresses civilian control of the military.  It states that (civilian appointed) chief of armed forces "needs consideration whether the position should be on a par with the senior-most personnel in other ministries or not."  It proposes time limits on the post of Supreme Commander.  "The State Defense and Security Council is to take over for the Directorate of Military Intelligence.  .  .  .  The Defense must be of a high standard, modern, honorable and ready to protect Democracy and be at one with the People."

            Since the end of World War II Burma has had no external enemies.  Despite that it has the largest army in S.E. Asia, and with money from drugs and natural gas exports, it has built up and is likely to equip it further.

37.       Size of army – reduce size of army.  The Burmese army is variously estimated as having 300 to 350,000 to 500,000 personnel (400,000 combat troops).  This is much larger than is required for Burma's external security, highlighting the obvious, that it is configured by the SPDC's need to stifle internal opposition and run a military-dominated state.  Slimming down the army will also improve the budget.   If there is significant political change, individuals may voluntarily move out of the army.
38.       The Army and its officers are above the law and have extensive economic holdings.  There is rank inflation and cronyism on a vast scale, combined with corruption due to absolute power.

39.       A positive approach will acknowledge the role of the military as an important institution of the state in nation building.  It must work in conjunction with an elected democratic government and itself acknowledge that other groups also have important roles to play.
          Democratization can be done phase by phase with the cooperation of the military without damaging the stability of the country and unity of all ethnic nationalities. The Burmese military needs to understand that it can do power-sharing or give up power and return to the barracks and have a good role in society as well as avoiding a violent sunset.  The economy would also grow faster and bigger.  In Brazil the army gave up power voluntarily and has since achieved successful transition under several civilian presidents and has had high economic growth, even though the civil-military relationship fluctuated over several presidencies.  The army will not give up power in one dramatic step.  Small steps are more feasible.
            Sharing of responsibilities among the elected politicians, technocrats experienced in governance and nation-building, and military leaders is the best option for national reconciliation.

40.       There needs to be a New Professional Army

          Modernization of the Tatmadaw will be one of the key agendas in nation-building. Military exchange programs with other military academies and further studies for officers on defense and security in universities of developed countries will be arranged
            Welfare of the disabled, retired military personnel and remaining family members of those who sacrificed their lives will be taken care of by the State. 
A special commission composed of democratic watch groups, citizens' groups, NLD etc. will examine eligibility for pensions.  There needs to be a totally transparent process; anyone can attend the hearings (open door.)
            Prepare to contribute forces for international peace and security, send forces to join UN Peace- Keeping Forces in accordance with the obligation Burma made at the UN.  This should be after the existing military has been re-structured and transformed into a professional army.  The curricula at the Defense Academy and Hmawbi Officers' Training should be re-tooled to reflect democratic values.  The corporate culture of the existing military has to be changed.  It would be disastrous if the present average soldiers who have been given the license to rape, loot and mistreat population were unleashed to "help in peace-keeping or disaster relief."
Upgrade skills for natural disaster relief and emergency humanitarian operations, domestically as well as internationally.
            Competent, properly trained, non-lethal and non-thuggish riot control which stresses doing the least harm, preventing death and leaving escape routes open.
True volunteer recruitment rather than the forced "recruitment" (kidnappings) taking place right now.
            No children in the army.  Existing or former child soldiers to be given counseling and job placement help.
            Reduce the military budget and as a percentage of total budget expenditures.  Insist that all expenditures are shown in the budget.  Go through budget headings and review line by line so that each expenditure item is placed under the correct heading.  Most probably many military related items are either not shown in the budget or are disguised under other budget headings or ministries.  Total transparency is necessary.

            Separation of the Police and the Army

            Police should be under the Civilian Minister of Home Affairs.
Military Businesses should be truly privatized or auctioned off. 
Judiciary System for Military Personnel – military courts with civilian legal oversight and open court hearings.  The importance of this cannot be overemphasized.
            The composition of the National Security Council.  It must include civilian experts on the military and retired army personnel with proven track records of belief in democracy.  The NLD's U Tin Oo would be the ideal chairperson for this.  We need to cultivate more people like U Tin Oo.
            The composition of the National Intelligence Agencies (Administrative Structure and role of Bureau of Military Security Affairs (MI), Special Branch (SB), should be reviewed by an independently appointed commission.
The appointment of military officers as bureaucrats in Government Ministries and State owned enterprises should be reviewed by an independently appointed commission.  Their numbers should be minimized as generally they know nothing about the businesses/departments they supposedly run. 
            Promotion and Appointments in the Army especially appointment of Chiefs of Staff, Regional Commanders and the rank of General and above should be set by the Union Government composed of elected civilian leaders and military professionals.

E.       National Reconciliation

41.     At present the military junta is a pariah among nations in the U.N. and the international community.  Relations may be described as ultra-nationalistic or xenophobic and paranoid on the part of the SPDC, and cautiously optimistic on the part of the international diplomatic and democratic community.  Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD have always said they are willing to engage in dialog, so long as it is meaningful. 
Within Burma the army is severely estranged from the rest of society, which it probably assumes to be its enemies, in the traditional Burmese way in which government is one of the main five enemies of the individual.  The people meanwhile are engaged in activism and confrontation (a small minority) and in avoidance and escape in a physical as well as a mental sense.  The Burmese diaspora consists of large numbers of Burmese overseas living as refugees, stateless persons, asylees and as legal migrants or workers.  

42.     Any new interim government based on power-sharing needs to
·            Make reconciliation internationally and domestically a priority.
·            Promote an atmosphere of trust and goodwill.
·            Come to some recognition of wrongs committed and some form of closure, perhaps through Truth and Reconciliation processes. 
·            Attempt to achieve closure through symbolic, ceremonial and religious events and monuments.

43.    The CRPP recommends

·            To protect the interests of those who lost their lives and their families, necessary laws must be enacted and suitable provisions made for guarantees. 
·            Directives, advice, speeches, views and declarations made by Bogyoke Aung San .  .  .  must be given special attention.
·            After careful consideration of the country's economic development, progress in science and technology and human resources, a defense force appropriate in size must be established.
·            It is important to stay within budget constraints.  Everything will not be accomplished at once, but will go step by step.  Parliament will be the arbiter of the methods to be applied and the tasks to be undertaken.
·            There must be only one defense force. 
·            Review officer recruitment to build up a youthful force with excellent quality, high standards – a modern and dignified officer corps.
·            Modern top quality weapons and other equipment.
·            Training.
·            Women in the armed forces.  Appropriate training, protection of women in the forces.

          Human Security
            Human security has many aspects such as internal security, domestic security, property security, intellectual security, food security etc.  In this Plan we focus on the main issues.

44.  Release of Political Prisoners, Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons and future security of those persons 

          Immediately release unconditionally all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience including Aung San Suu Kyi and U Tin Oo. Establish Rule of Law and an Independent Judiciary to guarantee Human Rights and the political participation of the People.  Rule of Law means respect for Human Rights, Separation of Powers based on an Independent Parliamentary System, Judiciary and Courts, bound by Law with recognition of separate legal systems.
            Establish and enforce norms, standards and procedures required for efficient and equitable functioning of the economy. Ensure transparency of these norms, standards, and procedures. Increase terms of service and security of tenure for Government staff.
            Create a professional civil service.
Provide public goods such as a good education and health care system, agricultural research pertinent to farmers. In the government budget, spend more social services, health and education, safe water supply, and sanitation. Create an environment conducive to the growth of civil society.
            Ensure Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights. Ensure free availability of all official, local and international documents, free and open Internet Access.
Set up an appropriate legal framework to assure the independence of the public media. There can be no policy as process without a public which is able, free, and well-supported by Law originating from the People  participate in social change.

45.       Human security in the agricultural sector:  Growing food is life and death
            The farmer is not a rice-eating robot.
            One third of rural households are landless.
            Citizens of Burma have no land rights.
            Ownership of land is vested in the state.
            Farmers are forced to grow certain crops.

F.       Return of Refugees and Displaced Persons in a New Administration, when Conditions are Normalized

46.       There are estimated to be over 703,000 refugees and displaced persons, of which about 203,000 are refugees living in mainly Thailand and Bangladesh with another 500,000 displaced persons mainly in eastern Burma.
Voluntary return and reintegration would be the best and most durable solution for this population, which has been in a state of protracted displacement. For this to happen conditions needs to be in place for a safe and dignified return and the displaced persons need assurances of their physical safety before eventually opting to return.

47.       Concept of "DDR" -- Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of the Military

A transition to democracy will involve a reduction in the nearly half a million strong Burmese army.  Both the dismissed troops as well as the country’s armed ethnic resistance groups add to the proliferation of weaponry.  Any plan for peace must include provisions for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of combatants.
Disarmament will be crucial to maintaining internal and regional stability. Arms that are not repossessed by government or destroyed may end up fueling conflicts in neighboring states,  entering the black market, increasing weapon proliferation, general instability and organized crime and the number of dacoits (brigands).
A DDR plan must provide a structured program of education and vocational training, to facilitate ex-combatants’ socio-economical re-integration into society.
Because demobilization and reintegration is extremely resource intensive, it will be important to secure long-term commitment by the international community, both financially and politically, to a process that often takes years.  Since the arms market straddles borders, a regional approach is necessary. A successful program needs to be integrated with broader development and peace-building.
·            De-mining for safety in the affected areas.
·            A framework of international principles and humanitarian conditions that would provide the basis for return and reintegration.
·   Formation of a national DDR commission which includes all relevant parties, UN, country donors, the new government etc..
·  Development of a comprehensive, efficient and safe arms management program
The disarmament of Burma’s armed groups must be proportional, fair and transparent.
·            Information campaign on repatriation on both sides of the border; “go and see” visits and “come and tell” visits in order to promote repatriation.
·            Creation of a system of transitional assistance for the demobilized
Demobilization sites must be safe and accessible. Ex-combatants will be informed of the demobilization process, given advice and information, and receive medical screening.
Reinsertion assistance must address ex-combatants’ immediate basic needs of food, clothing, medical treatment and transportation.
·            Technical and other material assistance for the repatriation process including reinforcement of human resources, necessary infrastructure, logistics and communication.
·            Development of educational, vocational, and reconciliation programs to assist in reintegration.  Programs should provide information, counseling and referral on education, health services, and job opportunities. Capacity building activities such as courses and workshops.
·            Assistance towards a successful reintegration.  Donor mobilization to support repatriation and reintegration.  Some co-ordination and umbrella organizations already exist.
·            Special groups, such as women, children, young adults, disabled or chronically ill individuals, should be given focused support.
·            Creation of institutions to deal with land distribution and property rights for ex-combatants.  Resolution of legal issues e.g. land disputes for people returning to their communities.
·            Restorative methods and activities.

48.    Recommendations for Human Security

·            Immediately cease violations of housing, land, and property, arbitrary confiscation of land, labor, and property and forcible eviction and displacement of individuals
·            Ensure legal framework to return farmers to their arbitrarily confiscated land.
·            Ensure housing, land, and property rights (customary law) are addressed consistently with international human rights law.  Protect equal rights of marginalized landless groups, ethnic minorities, women and children.
·            Ratify international human rights treaties. Embed these standards into national legislation and implement them.
·            Enshrine the United Nations Principles on Housing and Property Restitution (The Pinheiro Principles) in national legislation. Create legal and other mechanisms guaranteeing the rights of displaced persons to voluntarily return safely and with dignity.
·            Establish a national land research centre to develop a comprehensive land policy in consultation with farmers, ethnic communities and scholars, to address land tenure systems.  To adjudicate among the many conflicting claims on land, create a system of compensation or/and re-establishment on land.  Land policy needs to be transparent and based on clearly-defined principles and guidelines.
·            Legislate land and property ownership rights for security of tenure, assurance that a farmer's improvements on land will not be lost, cost of capital improvements can be recovered when land is sold, and land can be used to secure loans.
·            Create clear, precise legislation for land ownership, land use, land transfer, and enforcement of legal claims to land in dispute. Full community participation in the settlement of land issues is crucial.
·            Consider rights to water to prevent over-exploitation from small-scale borehole or river extraction.


49.       Land needs to be returned to the rightful owners.  As the rightful owners are now landless in cities, in neighboring countries or dead, with fragmented families, especially after Cyclone Nargis, how do we bring them back?  Who or which international organization will help in this?  In the past, the International Organization for Migration has been accused of Human Rights violations by Human Rights Watch.  In Thailand and India, UNHCR papers afford little protection and migrant laborers, though now "legalized" suffer severe and strenuous work conditions, have restricted freedom of movement and are often restricted to the industrial area (Maha Chai), fishery or agricultural areas.  Abuse at employers' hands is severe and widespread.  Many are overworked, not paid enough and not given enough private time (reportedly, only half a day per week.) 
In the advent they can't go home yet, or it would be unsafe to do so, or they don't want to, it is not right that they be forced to go back.  Refugees in border camps have been in limbo for over 20 years.  This needs to be combined with states' and ethnic rights in Burma.
There are also the internally displaced, some orphaned, estimated at 1 million in 2001, now likely to be more.  How can the fact of their displacement be addressed and they be given their own place back?

50.       Health and Education

Both the Burmese health and education sectors have been declining since 1962 and the beginning of military central control in Burma and combined with the central control mentality of the military are now in a deplorable state.  There is a virtual two track system in both sectors in which specialized and expensive, sometimes private health care or education, or the possibility of health care and education overseas is available for the power holders, while everyone else gets an equal amount of non-care or non-education.
·            There needs to be universal health care (as in China, barefoot doctors etc) and basic 5-10 years of education for everyone.
·            We do not have time or space in this report to spell out all the health and education sector reforms that are necessary for a functioning democracy in this Plan.
·            Even without system or regime change, health and education sector reforms can be carried out.  However it is unlikely they will be carried out so long as the power relationships are asymmetrical and there is no freedom of expression, accountability, Rights and transparency.
·            Burma's political culture needs a drastic change and this can be best carried out in the education sector.




51.       We in the Burmese Democracy Movement, including the National League for Democracy, have a truly Democratic Vision and Plan, have always had one, and if a power-sharing arrangement can be negotiated, we also know how to proceed at once.  Burma specialists, exiles and the NLD and others inside have been working on these ideas consistently since as early as 1993. 
The de facto territorial integrity of a poor, weak and divided nation should not be taken for granted.  Civil wars might reappear (they are re-merging).  Regional security and stability, the regional environment and well-being is being compromised.  Only guaranteed Human Rights, Ethnic Rights, Rule of Law and sustained economic growth can put an end to the zero or negative sum mentality that poisons possibilities of compromise and co-operation.  Such development includes political change and would require internal reforms as well as external support.
Any gain for the democracy forces does not necessarily mean a loss for the Burmese military.  All parties need to see that if the entire economy grows, even with (limited) power sharing, the net gain could be much more than it is now.  Both sides need to abandon the military model or paradigm of win-loss and move towards negotiation and power sharing which would be mutually beneficial.  This could be a win-win situation for both sides.
Power sharing is possible.  It is not a zero sum game but can be a growing economic pie.  Everyone is likely to do better in a developing political economy.
We hope this Strategic Action Plan will be of use in negotiations for the Freedom of Burma and the Burmese People asit moves to a democratic system and a market economy.

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