Burma Project

  • Ethnicity without Meaning, Data without Context

    The 2014 Population and Housing Census is the most significant ethnic and political boundary-making exercise since 1931, however its colonial-era designations and simplifications are likely to raise ethnic tensions at a critical time in the peace process.
  • From Aspirations to Solutions

    Hopes remain that, through political negotiation, democratic reforms will be achieved which lead to just and inclusive solutions. But as the countdown to the 2015 general election begins, concerns are growing that essential reforms will not be delivered.
  • Burma’s Ethnic Challenge: From Aspirations to Solutions

    “Important steps have been made in national reconciliation during the past two years. But promises and ceremonies will never be enough. The long-standing aspirations of Burma’s peoples for peace and justice must find solutions during the present time of national transition.”
  • Access Denied: Land Rights and Ethnic Conflict in Burma

    The new land and investment laws benefit large corporate investors and not small- holder farmers, especially in ethnic minority regions, and do not take into account land rights of ethnic communities.
  • Drugs and Conflict in Burma

    Burma/Myanmar is undergoing yet another humanitarian crisis while entering a new critical political stage. In the Kokang region, an opium ban was enforced in 2003, and since mid-2005 no more poppy growing has been allowed in the Wa region. Banning opium in these Shan State regions where most of the Burmese opiates were produced, adds another chapter to the long and dramatic history of drugs, conflict and human suffering.

Burma has been exposed to some of the longest running armed conflicts in the world. Ethnic nationality peoples have felt marginalised and discriminated against. TNI has developed a unique expertise on Burma's ethnic regions. TNI's work on drugs and conflict in Burma brings together its long-term work on international drugs policies, and its in-depth research on the regional drug market in Burma and neighbouring countries. TNI proposes alternative policy responses. Read more: Ethnic Conflict in Burma and Drugs & Conflict in Burma

Articles

A political anatomy of land grabs

The phrase “land grab” has become common in Myanmar, often making front page news. This reflects the more open political space available to talk about injustices, as well as the escalating severity and degree of land dispossession under the new government.

Project on climate change, land grabbing and resource conflict

TNI's Agrarian Justice Work Area and TNI's Burma Project are starting a major research on climate change mitigation policies, land grabbing and conflict in Burma and Cambodia, 2014-2017.
See video

Is the West's embrace of Burma about liberation or exploitation?

In the last year, Burma has changed from being seen as a 'rogue terrorist state' to being a Western darling. Kevin Woods talks about what this change means for people on the ground in Burma.  

Publications

Political Reform in Burma/Myanmar and Consequences for Ethnic Conflict

TNI & Burma Centrum Netherlands
While there have been undeniably positive trends in Burma over the past year, these have not yet been translated into ethnic peace and justice. 

The Kachin Crisis: Peace Must Prevail

TNI & Burma Centrum Netherlands
As 2012 progressed, perceptions of the real nature of change under the Thein Sein government were challenged by a series of disturbing events in which serious violence and mass displacement of civilians occurred in several parts of the country.

Developing Disparity

John Buchanan; With contributions from Pietje Vervest, Jennifer Franco & Joseph Purugganan
Unless foreign direct investment in Burma's war-torn borderlands is refocused towards people-centered development, it is likely to deepen disparity between the region’s most neglected peoples and Burma's new military, business and political elite and exacerbate a decades-long civil war. 

Events

January 2014

Myanmar’s Ethnic Conflicts and the U.S. and China

Tom Kramer, a researcher based in Myanmar will discuss the development of the peace process, the obstacles to the national reconciliation and how the success/failure will affect the reform and the 2015 elections. Yun Sun, Fellow at Stimson Center, will focus on the Kachin conflict and the interest groups that undermine the prospect of peace.  In particular, she will present findings on the U.S.-China competition in the Kachin issue from her recent trips to the Kachin state.

News

Census was ‘doomed’ from the start – and UN knew it

7 April 2014
Criticism of Myanmar’s census hit fever pitch last week when residents of Rakhine State were not allowed to self-identify according to their wishes, with even the United Nations appearing to turn on the government for its apparent back-flip.

Burma mobs put census in doubt as western aid workers flee violence

2 April 2014
Angry Buddhist protesters rampage through streets as country's first census for 30 years opens up ethnic tensions

Hopes Were High for Burma But Is the Honeymoon Over?

10 March 2014
Three years ago, a quasi-civilian government took office in Burma, shedding the country’s pariah image and introducing democratic reforms that have won widespread praise. Yet events last week have raised doubts about the government’s reformist credentials and its commitment to a genuine democratic transition.