Shans back Harn Yawnghwe
Shans back Harn Yawnghwe
Harn Yawnghwe at the Shan meeting, 25 August 2004
An ad hoc meeting of Shan activists was held on Wednesday (25 August) in Chiangmai to express their support for Harn Yawnghwe in his quest for national reconciliation in Burma.
Harn Yawnghwe (right) with brother, Chao Tzang Yawnghwe (left) and Hkun Okker (center)
"We are proud of having you leading the field not only on the intra-state and state levels but also on the inter-states level," a participant told Harn, 56, Director of the Brussels-based Euro Burma Office that has been working to promote democratic development and achieve national reconciliation through a tripartite dialogue, as called for by the United Nations. "We are all the way with you".
Harn Yawnghwe at a meeting organized by National Reconciliation Program, 24 August 2004
The more than 40-participants that included members from the Shan Democratic Union, Shan State Army "South", Shan Women's Action Network and other smaller groups also pestered the youngest son of Sao Shwe Thaike Yawnghwe, the first president of the Union of Burma, with questions on the current situation. "We need to know how things stand," said a young activist," so we can decide what to do."
Harn is in Thailand to attend a series of meetings organized by United Nationalities League for Democracy-Liberated Area, Ethnic Nationalities Council and the National Reconciliation Program. He also held a separate meeting the previous evening with Col Yawdserk of SSA "South", who was reported to have voiced his support for Harn's work. "It beats me how he won over our leader," a senior SSA officer told S.H.A.N.. "We know how hard Sao Sengsuk (acting President of the SDU) and Chao Tzang Yawnghwe (Harn's elder brother who died on 24 July) had tried to but both had failed so miserably."
The SSA "South" is a participant in ENC, a policy-making body set up by non-Burman groups in 2001 to bring about a three-way dialogue among the ruling military council, the Burmese opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the ethnic nationalities.
Harn a.k.a Sao Hso Harnfah, was born on 15 April 1948 in what was known as a political family. He came to Thailand in 1963, attended school in Chiangmai and later at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. His active participation in Burma's politics began in 1988, following nationwide protests that brought the present military regime into power.
One of his reported achievements was in assuring the non-Burman movements, many of whom were still priming for total separation from Burma, that reconciliation together with a federal union is a more pragmatic option for them.