Myanmar’s Rohingya: A Far Wider Tragedy

Myanmar’s Rohingya: A Far Wider TragedyThe crisis of the Rohingya minority of Myanmar is not simply a humanitarian one of huge dimension and one that has revealed the fragility of Aung San Suu Kyi’s status as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. It is a multi-layered issue which, unless handled with much greater care than seen to date, will long reverberate…

The World Must Stop Myanmar’s Savagery Against Rohingya

The World Must Stop Myanmar’s Savagery Against RohingyaIf the world has a conscience, it will do something about the unconscionable genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority community in Myanmar, which has abdicated its duty as a nation. The latest scrutiny of the Myanmar government was sparked by the recent flight of more than 123,000 Rohingya who crossed border into Bangladesh. The name…

Killings Spark Fear, Rumors in Bangladeshi Refugee Camps

Killings Spark Fear, Rumors in Bangladeshi Refugee CampsMohammad Selim disappeared the night in May that Cyclone Mora tore through the Rohingya refugee camps on Bangladesh’s west coast. But it wasn’t the storm that killed him – his was one of a handful of recent murders blamed on gangs vying for power over the camps. Selim was snatched while walking home from his father-in-law’s…

Gay and Undocumented, Burmese Refugees Struggle in Thailand

Gay and Undocumented, Burmese Refugees Struggle in Thailand“Queer migrants” or LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) refugees from Myanmar – called as such because they had to leave their countries and go somewhere else to be able to live safely as themselves – have looked at Thailand as the ideal destination, with its louche, gay-friendly lifestyle. But in too many…

Myanmar Struggles to Control Illegal Logging

Myanmar Struggles to Control Illegal LoggingPyar Aung remembers the first time he saw a chainsaw. It was a German-made number being used by one of the logging companies operating in the forest around his remote village in Myanmar’s northwest Sagaing region in 2013. “It was so powerful and fast!” recalled the 50 year-old Aung, who lives in the tiny village of…

UN warns Myanmar Against Rohingya Demolitions

UN warns Myanmar Against Rohingya DemolitionsThe UN has warned authorities that plans to demolish hundreds of homes belonging to ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims will “heighten tensions” in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the military is accused of abusing civilians during counterinsurgency operations. The warning came in a Dec. 28 letter obtained by IRIN and addressed to Rakhine State Chief Minister Nyi Pu.…

Violence Against Myanmar’s Rohingya Spreads to Aid Workers

Violence Against Myanmar’s Rohingya Spreads to Aid WorkersSoe Aung works for an international aid agency in his hometown of Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar’s Rakhine State. It’s a good job, but he isn’t eager to discuss it in a public setting or outside his close circle of friends and family. That’s because his agency helps Rohingya Muslims. “I stay low-profile here,” said…

Myanmar’s Illegal Wildlife Supermarket

Myanmar’s Illegal Wildlife SupermarketMong La, a boomtown on the border between Myanmar and China, is notorious for a number of reasons from rampant prostitution to a booming gambling industry. But the town's best-known trade is in illegally purchased wildlife, a business that has turned the former village into an international market for endangered animals.  Among the latter are…

China Contractors Wreck Myanmar Villagers’ Lives

China Contractors Wreck Myanmar Villagers’ LivesHkawn San is one of about 5,000 people who were resettled by Chinese contractors from the catchment area behind the projected Myitsone Dam, which Myanmar President Thein Sein abruptly and unexpectedly cancelled in 2011, shortly after he took office.  Like those in far too many other resettlement villages, Hkawn San is not happy. "The house…

Opium and the Disconnect Between Farmers and Users

Opium and the Disconnect Between Farmers and UsersAt the end of every year in Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle, red and white poppies burst into picturesque bloom, festooning with color the hills and mountain slopes of northern Myanmar, which ranks as the world’s second largest opium producer after Afghanistan. At the other end of the opium pipeline lie millions of wrecked lives from…