Shan Democratic Uion


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Introducing SDU

The Shan Democratic Union had its origins in:

  • The aspirations of the Shan people for a just, peaceful, secure, dignified and constructive way of life;


  • The fact that the Shan States, a historically and legally distinct land, is once more a sovereign country under alien occupation since the 1947 Union constitution, the main bond between Burma and the Shan States, was declared null and void by the Burmese military in 1962;


  • The recognition by Shans who have been scattered from their homes to every part of the world, of the necessity of coming together to provide a political voice to advance the struggle of the Shan people against the excesses, injustices, and inhumanity of the Burmese military regime;


  • The commitment of the Shan people to the creation of a free Shan States where all the people are United and Equal. To enjoy Peace and Security, and the Right to Self-Determination in a Democratic Society under the Rule of Law. The Shan Democratic Union was formed on 16 November 1996 by expatriate Shans, with support of the Shan people.

The Shan Democratic Union has the following aims:

  • To provide peace and security for all, and to strengthen democracy, national solidarity and cohesion among our people;


  • To give the chance to exercise of their right to vote in a free and secure environment;


  • To eliminate hunger, to provide land and housing for all our people;


  • To eliminate illiteracy and to raise the quality of education and training for young and old alike;


  • To protect the natural environment in the Shan State.

Aim and Objectives

It is our aim to fulfill the needs and aspirations of the Shan people. We aim to provide peace and security for all, and to strengthen democracy, national solidarity and cohesion among our people.


The oppressive and dictatorial Burmese military regime having illegally seized power in 1962, has ruthlessly held on to it for four decades. In our homeland, as in other non-Burman ethnic national areas of the now defunct Union of Burma, the Burmese regime's actions have been genocidal, with their policy of forced relocations, and the attendant inhumanities and death. Their policy of cultural genocide such as their forbidding the teaching of the Shan language and literature, and their destruction of buildings of historical and cultural value to the Shan people --- such as the Kengtung Palace.


The Shan people, having known nothing but undemocratic authoritarian subjugation by the Burmese military regime need to be enlightened about democracy. We must show the people that the SDU's vision and objective is that the people's will is supreme and that the people shall govern. Democracy requires that all the people in Shan States, have access to power and the right to exercise this power through the exercise of their right to vote in a free and secure environment.


Poverty is one of the greatest problems facing our people, caused by the actions of the Burmese military regime. Our rice fields and orchards have gone to waste because the villagers have been forced to relocate; and dispossessed of their ancestral homesteads and farms. We aim to eliminate hunger, to provide land and housing for all our people, to eliminate illiteracy, to raise the quality of education and training for young and old alike. We shall also protect the natural environmet.



Principles of Operation

The Shan Democratic Union believes that the task of building a democratic, just, peaceful, secure and lasting civil society is a cooperative effort which requires us to:

  • Unite and cooperate with every organization, national and international, against all successive Burmese military dictatorships;


  • Cooperate with every national group for the achievement of the Right to Self-Determination;


  • Cooperate with international agencies and communities in bringing about a resolution of the Drug Problem in the Shan States.

The operating policies of the Shan Democratic Union are made by the Central Committee, which is a representative body elected by the Members at a General Meeting or Congress.

Our Basic Principles are:

  • The SDU firmly believes that sovereign power lies in the will of the people.


  • The SDU firmly holds that the Union of Burma was created by the Agreement signed at the Panglong Conference in 1947. That at the Panglong Conference, participants came together as equals seeking each other's help, agreement and cooperation.


  • The SDU upholds the five points of the Panglong Spirit set by the Shan Leaders and agreed to by General Aung San of the Burmese.


  • The SDU holds that the Panglong Agreement is legally binding to all signatory states of the Union of Burma; that the unilateral breach of that agreement by Burmese leaders in 1962 ended this legal contract and, therefore, the Union of Burma is now defunct.


  • The SDU abides by the principle of the supremacy of the people's will. Therefore the question of independence or a new federal union shall be decided by the Shan people.


  • The SDU, together with our friends and allies, shall explore all political solutions, including the creation of a new federal union based on mutual respect, equality and justice for all.  

Key Officials and Advisers

(1996 - 2000)


- HRH Sao Hsohom Mongpawn

Vice President(1) - Sai Htoon
Vice President(2) - Sai Wansai
General Secretary  - Khamzam Payakwong
Joint General Secretary - Sai Sangzai
Spokesperson - Sao Sengsuk

The leadership of SDU is advised and assisted by capable advisers such as Dr. Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe and Harn Yawnghwe.

Current Office Holders
Shan Democratic Union

(9-10 April 2000)

The Executive Committee

1. Sao Hsohom Mongpawn President
2. Sai Htoon Vice President-1
3. (Pending) Vice President-2
4. Sai Wansai General Secretary
5. Puenkham Payakwong Joint General Secretary
6. Sao Sengsuk  Spokesperson
7. Yanmoeng Hsenwi Member
8. Sai Saenporn Member
9. Sai Sangzai Payakwong Member
10. (Pending) Member
11. Khamzam Payakwong Member

The Central Committee

12. Sai Herng Member
13. Sai Saengtai Member
14. Sai Hudharn  Member
15. Dai Kaemkhurh Member
16. Sai Sainoi Member
17. Sai Aenkham  Member
18. Sai Orngkhong Member
19. Sai Sengya Member
20. Sai Sengmao Member
21. Sai Lao Lieng Member
22. Sai Kornkham Member
23. Sai Kheunli Member