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Peace Processes Compared: Myanmar and Mindanao

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Excerpts from the presentation by Dr. Ashley South and Dr. Christopher Joll at the Institute for Autonomy & Governance, May 20, 2014

Excerpts from the presentation by Dr. Ashley South and Dr. Christopher Joll at the Institute for Autonomy & Governance, May 20, 2014


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  • 1. PEACE  PROCESSES  COMPARED:   Myanmar  &  Mindanao     C.  Similari@es  and  contrasts  
  • 2. Similarity  #  1   •  IdenEty-­‐oriented  self-­‐determinaEon  struggles,  with   religious  orientaEon  (parEcularly  on  Mindanao),  vis-­‐ à-­‐vis  centralising  state,  ruled  from  far  away  and   idenEfied  with  culturally  alien  majority  ‘other’  (state   assimilaEonist  agendas).   •  Long-­‐standing  armed  conflicts  complicated  by   poliEcal  economies  (mixtures  of  ‘grievance’  and   ‘greed’  agendas  –  on  Mindanao?).  
  • 3. Similarity  #  2   •  Histories  of  previous,  largely  unsuccessful  ceasefires.   •  Self-­‐reliance  of  communiEes  and  armed  groups.   •  Elite-­‐driven  peace  process,  with  communiEes  and   civil  society  not  always  feeling  properly  consulted.     •  Recent  posiEve  developments  led  by  newly-­‐elected   naEonal  Presidents  (Benigno  Aquino  III  &  U  Thein   Sein).   •  Natural  resource  poliEcs;  land  issues.  
  • 4. Similarity  #  3   •  CommuniEes  experiencing  the  benefits  of  peace:   freedom  from  fear;  rehabilitaEon  of  communiEes;   freedom  of  travel;  expectaEons  of  the  peace  process.     •  What  hasn’t  changed:  conEnued  economic  problems,   percepEons  of  discriminaEon  on  the  part  of  minority   communiEes;  prevalence  of  drugs  and  lawlessness,   land  issues  -­‐  community  concerns.   •  Risks  associated  with  government,  naEonal  army,   majority  community  (Filipinos,  Burmans)  not  accepEng   and/or  not  implemenEng  peace  agreements.  
  • 5. Similarity  #  4   •  PosiEons  (idenEEes,  interests)  of  those  working   with  or  under  the  government  (c.f.  the  ‘other   Karen’).     •  Security  Sector  Reform/DDR  (‘normalisaEon’)  -­‐   what  are  the  roles  of  armed  elements   (parEcularly  young  men),  post-­‐ceasefire?   (Possible  scenario  from  other  ceasefires  in  the   Philippines:  armed  groups  become  local,  semi-­‐ criminal  guns-­‐for-­‐hire.)  
  • 6. Similarity  #  5   •  Challenges  of  Armed  Groups  transforming  into   viable  local  governments/administraEons  (and   poliEcal  parEes?).  Risks  of  poor  governance   and  corrupEon  miEgated  somewhat  on   Mindanao  by  disciplined  nature  of  MILF.    
  • 7. Contrast  #  1   •  Bangsamoro’  shared  idenEty  of  all  non-­‐Filipino   groups  on  Mindanao  (?);  Myanmar’s  diverse  and   heterogeneous  ethnic  communiEes.   •  Importance  of  GRP  recognising  the  Bangsamoro   in  principle,  as  a  legiEmate,  autonomous  poliEcal   enEty;  Myanmar  government  (and  Army)  has   been  reluctant  to  acknowledge  poliEcal   legiEmacy  of  ethnic  (parEcularly  armed)  actors,   or  to  grant  significant  autonomy.  
  • 8. Contrast  #  2   •  Historically  differing  poliEcal  cultures:  GRP  openness  to   internaEonal  engagement.  Myanmar  military   government  autarchy,  and  ‘xenophobia’  (including   towards  Muslims).   •  Geographically,  where  as  Mindanao  is  an  island,   Myanmar’s  InternaEonal  borders  have  implicaEons  for   refugees  and  regional  poliEcs.   •  The  two  countries  have  different  geo-­‐strategic  posiEons   and  interests  with  China,  USA,  ASEAN,  OIC  etc.   •  InternaEonal  mediaEon  in  Mindanao  peace  talks   (InternaEonal  Contact  Group  -­‐  novel  model,  including   states  and  INGOs).  
  • 9. Contrast  #  3   •  InternaEonal  monitoring  on  Mindanaon   (InternaEonal  Monitoring  Group,  and  Civilian   ProtecEon  Component).  Limited  nature  of   internaEonal  support  to  Myanmar  peace  process.   •  FormaEon  of  GRP-­‐MILF  Peace  Panel  and  TransiEonal   Arrangements  (Basic  Law,  plebiscite,  transiEon).   Limited  progress  in  Myanmar  peace  talks  -­‐  in  relaEon   to  autonomy  in  principle  (consEtuEonal  change?)  or   pracEce  (“transiEonal  arrangements”).   •  Annex  on  Revenue  GeneraEon  and  Wealth-­‐sharing.  
  • 10. Contrast  #  4   •  MILF  has  large  numbers  of  troops  staEoned  in  close   vicinity  to  the  areas  of  GRP  control,  and  Philippines   Army  bases;  LGUs  and  RP  military  posiEons  across   Bangsamoro,  interspersed  with  MILF  [?].  Myanmar   ‘liberated  zones’,  and  areas  of  ‘mixed  authority’.   •  Impacts  of  foreign  aid  …