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  1. Anti-war protest by residents, Myitkyina / Photo credit Kachinland News

    Myanmar: The Dilemma of Ceasefires but No Peace

    Lahpai Seng Raw
    19 October 2016
    Article

    "Do not put your trust in man. Rather, trust the constitution that we will be drafting." These were the very words that Bogyoke Aung San used to address the deep mistrust expressed by Shan, Kachin and Chin representatives about certain ethnic Bamar leaders when he persuaded them to sign the historic Panglong Agreement in February 1947.

  2. Can we avoid more bloodshed? A reflection on the ethnic crisis in Myanmar

    15 June 2021
    Article

    After decades of conflict, it is often said that that political struggle in Myanmar has three groupings: military, pro-democracy and ethnic. But, as Cheery Zahau argues in this commentary, the ethnic nationality cause is frequently marginalised and misunderstood. Paradigm shifts in political behaviour and perspectives are required on all sides if the failures of the past are not to be repeated.

  3. Opium Farmers in Myanmar: The Lives of Producers of Prohibited Plants

    Sai Lone
    17 December 2018
    Article

    The problem of opium should not be perceived only as a simple, black-and-white, law enforcement problem. To address problems related to opium cultivation, substantial socio-economic development is required to provide meaningful alternatives for farmers, and to ensure that a humanitarian crisis will not occur as the consequence of repressive drug control policies.

  4. While Myanmar’s cities become military occupations, conflict persists in the ethnic borderlands

    Naw Hsa Moo, Dominique Dillabough-Lefebvre
    12 March 2021
    Article

    Following the February coup, the violence used by the security forces against civilian protestors in Myanmar’s towns and cities has shocked public opinion around the world. But, as Naw Hsa Moo and Dominique Dillabough-Lefebvre explain in this commentary, such tactics have long been used by the Myanmar armed forces in military operations in the country’s ethnic states and regions. Awareness is now building and, as they argue, the military coup has brought new understanding and sympathy between pro-democracy and ethnic nationality movements.

  5. Aung San Suu Kyi’s Visit to Beijing: Recalibrating Myanmar’s China Policy

    Yun Sun
    16 August 2016
    Article

    Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD government faced a tough situation with China at the time of their inauguration in March. But, as she visits Beijing this week, hopes are high again in China that a redirection of Myanmar's foreign policy could be underway and the pendulum of Myanmar's balancing diplomacy is swinging back to the east. But many challenges lie ahead. These include resolution of the Myitsone dam impasse, repositioning political relations between the two countries, and peaceful settlement of ethnic conflicts in the Myanmar borderlands. The stakes are very high. The outcome of Aung San Suu Kyi's meetings could well come to define Myanmar-China relations for many years to come.

  6. Demonstrations in Yangon on Union Day, 12 February 2021

    History repeated: Another roadblock to political change in Myanmar

    12 February 2021
    Article

    Today is Union Day in Myanmar, which marks the historic Panglong Agreement in February 1947 when the principles of equality and unity were drawn up for the future union. In 2021, however, it is not a day of celebration but one of protest as peoples across the country take to the street to demonstrate against the assumption of power by the military State Administrative Council. In this commentary, TNI analyses why the present crisis is so profound and why the patterns of military rule, state failure and ethnic conflict are in grave danger of being repeated. Peace and national reconciliation are required today, not at some indeterminate time in the future.

  7. Resolving ethnic conflict - Civic nationalism: a theoretical tool for the ending of civil war?

    Sai Wansai
    11 February 2020
    Article

    As the peoples of Myanmar commemorate Union Day this week, Sai Wansai argues that “civic nationalism” can help address the crisis in "ethnic nationalism" that underpins state failure and the enduring cycles of conflict in the country. Seventy-three years after the historic Panglong Agreement brought the new Union into being, Myanmar is a land that is yet to achieve ethnic peace and political inclusion.

  8. A day in the life of a woman opium poppy farmer in Myanmar

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    15 July 2020
    Article

    There is genuine hope that by sharing her story as a woman who grows opium, Nang Kham could help encourage other women farmers to speak out, and encourage the wider community to realise the collective benefits of gender equality.

  9. Fieldfarming in Amarapura

    Hitting where it hurts: Impacts of COVID-19 measures on Myanmar poor

    Nwet Kay Khine
    06 July 2020
    Article

    In a country that was ruled by dictatorship for several decades, the local administration units are also no stranger to emergency-like authoritarian measures. Many thought there is no option but detention to deal with the situation. It is easier for the authorities even at the village and ward levels to ensure authoritarian submission if the country is in panic.

  10. Displaced civilians and migrant workers in Tanai conflict zone, Kachin State, 29 January

    Multiculturalism and Social Justice in the Modern Nation-State

    Lahpai Seng Raw
    05 February 2018
    Article

    An ethnocratic state produces a form of fascism in which the state supports the rights and welfare of the dominant ethnic group, but not others. By contrast, a tolerant multicultural state or plural society permits all people, regardless of ethnicity, to be recognised as equal members and thus achieves social justice. This comparison suggests that narrow nationalism is a chief source of the failure of Myanmar to become a modern and successful nation-state.

  11. “The cycles of conflict and displacement must be brought to an end”: The IDP crisis in northeast Myanmar

    Lahpai Seng Raw
    30 March 2020
    Article

    Concerns are deepening in the Kachin and Shan States as the government seeks to close internal displacement camps while conflict continues and the coronavirus is still spreading. War-shattered communities face a highly uncertain future. This commentary reports on a new initiative by civil society organisations to ensure that the human rights and security of IDPs are protected. But without peace and political reform, there are many worries that the crisis will only continue.

  12. Save the Irrawaddy by Offering Compensation

    Lahpai Seng Raw
    09 May 2019
    Article

    Controversy continues over a suspended mega-dam project, backed by China, on the Irrawaddy River in Kachin State. The social and environmental consequences of the proposed project cast a shadow not only over the local Kachin population but over all the nationalities of Myanmar. Public awareness is growing why protecting the Irrawaddy is of national importance.

  13. Women and drugs in Myanmar: Beyond harm reduction

    Dania Putri
    08 March 2018
    Article

    In Myanmar’s Kachin State, a women’s drop-in centre has transformed into more than just a harm reduction facility. Leading up to International Women’s Day, we spoke with Thinzar Tun (AHRN Myanmar) about what makes this centre special.

  14. How to Improve Myanmar’s Covid-19 Emergency Relief Program

    Walden Bello, Jennifer Franco, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer
    09 June 2020
    Article

    The Covid-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) that the government rolled out in the last week of April is a welcome initiative for a country that is suffering from both the assault of the novel coronavirus and the massive economic impact of the nationwide lockdown that the government has imposed to stop its spread.

  15. China's Belt & Road Initiative: A Cautionary Tale for the Kachins

    Lahpai Seng Raw
    10 January 2019
    Article

    A Memorandum of Understanding to establish the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) was signed by the governments of Myanmar and China in September 2018. The CMEC forms part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a 21st century reimagining of the ancient Silk Road, the network of land and sea trade routes that once linked Imperial China with markets in the west.

  16. Bridging conceptual differences vital to end ethnic conflict

    Sai Wansai
    04 April 2016
    Article

    While the first move of Aung San Suu Kyi has been to form a national reconciliation government, followed by restructuring, streamlining and planning so that her administration can function, the handling of the country’s faltering peace process has now risen to become one of the most urgent and essential challenges on the NLD's must-do list.

  17. The Generation to Enjoy Peace?

    Lahpai Seng Raw
    17 March 2016
    Article

    We are at a critical juncture in our history, more promising than at any time in recent memory. The country will have a civilian-majority government that came to office through the votes of a multitude of smaller nationality groups for a pan-national party promising political change. If this political transition is to succeed, poverty must be alleviated, corruption curtailed, drug abuse radically reduced, and a host of other social crises addressed that have long blighted our country.

  18. The Arakan Army, Myanmar Military Coup and Politics of Arakan

    Kyaw Lynn
    10 June 2021
    Article

    In the aftermath of the November general election the intense fighting between the national armed forces (Tatmadaw) and the Arakan Army came to an unexpected halt. Since the February coup of the State Administration Council, the situation has remained delicately poised. Political sentiment is very high. But Rakhine nationalism is presently on a different cycle to political movements in other parts of the country. In this commentary Kyaw Lynn outlines why the coming months will remain a time of high tension and uncertainty in Arakan politics.

  19. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi attends the 70th Union Day commemoration in 2017 / Photo credit The Irrawaddy

    The National League for Democracy: A Party for Democracy or Federalism?

    Kyaw Lynn
    02 October 2020
    Article

    As Myanmar prepares to go to the polls in November, it is a time of rising political tension. Covid-19 is spreading, while conflict continues in several ethnic states. As Kyaw Lynn argues, a key reform question remains to be answered. Will the country have federal reform and, if so, what kind?

  20. Investment protection treaties endanger democratic reform and peace initiatives in Myanmar

    Pietje Vervest
    10 January 2017
    Article

    In the volatile and fragile context of Myanmar's nascent democratic reform, investment protection treaties must not be allowed to negatively affect processes that would make Myanmar more peaceful and democratic.

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