About Ethnic Conflict in Burma

Burma has been afflicted by ethnic conflict and civil war since independence in 1948, exposing it to some of the longest running armed conflicts in the world. Ethnic nationality peoples have long felt marginalised and discriminated against. TNI has developed a unique expertise on Burma's ethnic regions, which have too often been ignored or marginalised by international civil society. TNI believes that unless we resolve these internal conflicts, the prospects for peace, democracy and development in Burma are limited.


Ethnic minority groups make up XXXX The situation worsened for ethnic minority groups after the military coup in 1962, when their rights were further curtailed. The military government has as yet refused to take political demands from ethnic nationality groups into account, for the most part treating ethnic issues as a military and security issue.

The main grievances of ethnic nationality groups in Burma are the lack of influence in the political decision-making processes; the absence of economic and social development in their areas; and what they see as the military government's Burmanisation policy, which translates into repression of their cultural rights and religious freedom.

The elections in 2010 marked a significant step forward towards democratisation by the military-led government in Burma, but there is still a long way before those reforms are transformed into real changes for ordinary people. The challenges facing Burma’s different ethnic groups and parties are complex. The escalation of conflict in Kachin state between the Burmese army and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), an armed ethnic opposition group shows that Burma is still some way from securing a long-term peaceful and democratic future.