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…

Shwe Mann’s Fall from Power a Mixed Blessing for Myanmar

Shwe Mann’s Fall from Power a Mixed Blessing for MyanmarBurmese elite politics have been historically a realm of intrigue and abrupt changes, in which a high-ranking general could fall from power overnight and traces of his influence would be erased almost instantly. This happened again on August 13, when parliament speaker Shwe Mann – a former general – was removed from his post as…

Myanmar Charter Battle Catches US in Crossfire

Myanmar Charter Battle Catches US in CrossfireUnited States policymakers have been put in a delicate position by the votes by Myanmar’s union parliament on June 25 reject five of six major amendments to the 2008, military-drafted constitution. It is a decision that has critical implications for Myanmar’s political landscape. The existing constitution gives the military an outsize influence in the legislature.…

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…

Myanmar High Court Turns Down Journalists’ Appeal

Myanmar High Court Turns Down Journalists’ AppealMyanmar’s Supreme Court Wednesday rejected an appeal by four journalists and the CEO of the defunct Unity journal, who are serving a seven year sentence at hard labor for a July report alleging  that an Army facility was being used to manufacture chemical weapons. The publication was ordered closed after the report, which was deemed…

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…
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