Myanmar Breaks Pledge to Free Political Prisoners

Myanmar Breaks Pledge to Free Political PrisonersIn July of 2013, Myanmar‘s President Thein Sein stated that by the end of that year, two years after the election of a nominally civilian government pledged to democratic rule, there would be no prisoners of conscience left in the country’s jails. He was wrong. There are still opponents left in Myanmar’s jails and they…

Glimmer of Hope for Myanmar’s Ethnic Conflicts?

Glimmer of Hope for Myanmar’s Ethnic Conflicts?After more than six decades of internal armed conflict, the next four weeks could be decisive for the attempt to solve Myanmar’s bitter conflicts with its myriad armed ethnic groups, according to a new report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. The peace process was launched in August of 2011 when President Thein Sein made…

Myanmar Ousts Rising Political Star

Myanmar Ousts Rising Political StarThe sudden removal of one of Myanmar’s most powerful men sent has sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community in the old capital of Yangon, where foreign embassies are still located. It seemed more like a midnight coup than an ordinary leadership reshuffle – security forces in the new capital, Naypyidaw, entered the headquarters of the de…

The Rohingya: Where They Came From

The Rohingya: Where They Came FromThe crisis that has enveloped Myanmar’s luckless Rohingya has been years in the making. They are hardly interlopers, with some of them having settled in Arakan Province, also known as Rakhine, on Myanmar’s west coast since at least the 15th century. But as with so many modern-day conflicts, much of today’s tensions stem from colonial…

China Foments Trouble on Myanmar’s Border

China Foments Trouble on Myanmar’s BorderLast year it was the South China Sea and the contiguous waters of Vietnam and the Philippines which were the focus of Chinese hegemonist instincts. Those issues have quieted down for the time being as China has noted the damage done to some of its other interests, in particular through the strengthening of  Southeast Asian…

Burmese Reporter Dies in Army Hands

Burmese Reporter Dies in Army HandsConcern is growing about an increasing war on the press and human rights activists by Burmese authorities after Aung Kyaw Naing, a freelance journalist covering clashes between ethnic rebel and government forces in the country’s southeast was arrested by army officials and apparently murdered. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Naing had been…

Burma’s Failed Promise

Burma’s Failed PromiseBurma’s path to democracy, born in considerable hope when the generals’ junta agreed to political reforms in 2011 and released democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, is in depressing danger of failure.   While hundreds of political prisoners have been released over the intervening three years, the civilian government has returned to…

High Stakes in Myanmar’s Peace Process

High Stakes in Myanmar’s Peace ProcessThe Myanmar government has pursued more than a dozen rounds of cease-fire talks with the country’s major armed ethnic groups over the past three years but has missed the timetable for achieving a nationwide cease-fire agreement several times.  The government’s chief negotiator, Aung Min, recently said he hopes to conclude such an agreement in September…

Myanmar’s Military Goes Back to the Barracks

Myanmar’s Military Goes Back to the BarracksMyanmar’s feared military, the Tatmadaw, which dominated the country’s politics and economy for decades until democracy came in 2010, has been returning to the barracks much faster and more completely than anyone could have imagined, according to a new report by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. The civilian government has won praise from government leaders…

Myanmar Stop-Go on Free Press

Myanmar Stop-Go on Free PressLast week Myanmar hosted a travelling circus of academics in Yangon for a “Challenges of a Free Press” conference organized by the East-West Center in Hawaii. Established by the US Congress in 1960 for policy studies and to build networks into the Asia-Pacific region, the center has 57,000 alumni worldwide. It radiates American media soft-power.…
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