Burma has been under military rule since 1962. However, in 2011 a new political system was introduced and a new military-backed government inaugurated that has reached out to the democratic opposition and armed ethnic opposition groups seeking more autonomy. Both of these groups reject the new constitution, which seeks to entrench the army’s power.
Delegates of the 9th Asia European Heads of Government Meeting (ASEM9) may not have known that the luxury villas, in which they met, had displaced a thriving farming community. But the story of the land grab is all too familiar one and casts doubt on the commitment of Asian and European nations to work for food security and sustainable development.
After the last 2009 elections the parliamentary left has clearly suffered so serious a defeat that it would not be out of place to describe the current situation as one of crisis. How does this mainstream left seek to revive itself?
Northeast India's strategic location between India, China and southeast Asia has led to a recent boom in resource extraction and investment by multinational corporations, but the world continues to remain largely silent on the human rights abuses that continue to be perpetrated by the Indian military.
The Dawei region is a highly populated and prosperous region, significant because of its ecologically-diversity and strategic position along the Andaman coast. Thai interest in the region poses an environmental threat and risks massive expulsion of people.
Imagine a society where 80 percent of all grocery sales are monopolised by just five giant retailers like Walmart, Tesco and Carrefour, locally grown fresh food is largely replaced by processed, low-nutrition plastic-packaged items, and heterogeneity of attire based on traditional and ethnic fabrics is gradually destroyed.
Ceasefires have been agreed; the NLD has elected representatives in the national legislatures; Western sanctions are being lifted; and the World Bank and other international agencies are returning to set up office in the country. Such developments are likely to have a defining impact on ethnic politics, which remains one of the central challenges facing the country today.