Majority of Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee Complaints are Territorial Disputes

By Nyein Nyein 6 July 2017

YANGON — The Union-level joint ceasefire monitoring committee (JMC) said almost 70 percent of the complaints it has received were territorial disputes that would soon be assessed by verification teams.

The JMC’s role includes monitoring the ceasefire implementation for signatories of the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA).

The JMC held its 11th regular meeting from July 3-5 in Yangon’s National Reconciliation and Peace Center office. The meeting focused on issues related to monitoring the ceasefire implementation, complaint verification, local participation in ceasefire monitoring, and the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Since its formation in late 2015 following the signing of the NCA in October of that year, the JMC established state- and regional-level joint ceasefire monitoring sub-committees in five locations in Karen, Mon and Shan states, and Bago and Tanintharyi (Tenasserim) divisions. It is still in the process of forming its state-level complaint verification teams.

Dr. Sui Khar, a secretary of the Union-level JMC, told reporters in Yangon at a press conference on Wednesday evening that a JMC verification team would assess two cases in Shan State’s Mongping Township in the coming months. One case concerns the death of a militia member and another concerns engagement between Tatmadaw and Restoration Council of Shan State troops in May.

A JMC spokesman said it would hold further workshops on territory demarcation, as some ethnic armed groups had clear statements regarding boundary lines in their bilateral ceasefire agreements with the government while others did not.

“The groups have different understandings of the territory demarcations. Their complaints center on this so it is important to consider how we handle this,” Dr. Sui Khar said.

The JMC will also develop a computerized complaints management system, as it receives more verbal complaints than written ones.

As for drafting standard operating procedures, Seng Pan, the deputy executive director of the technical secretariat center (TSC) said 12 of 40 SOPs needed for the JMC mechanism have been drafted and approved at this time.

But SOPs related to helping internally displaced persons have not yet been approved, as further assessments need to be done on the work of the social welfare ministry, she added.

The JMC recently accepted the appointment of U Aung Naing Oo, former Myanmar Peace Center employee, as the new executive director of the TSC, as the current director Dr. Min Zaw Oo will leave the position at the end of July.

JMC spokespersons said Dr. Min Zaw Oo had planned to leave the position since November 2016 but was waiting until a replacement was found.

Dr. Min Zaw Oo is also an adviser to the government’s Peace Commission and will remain in that post, according to Seng Pan.