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.
For many citizens a countdown begins to a crucial general election later this year, with warnings of a halt in reform momentum and a more troubling reality behind many of the socio-political changes in the country.
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.
Burma is in the midst of its most important period of political transition in over two decades. TNI and BCN hosted a conference to look at the challenges and opportunities in five key areas: politics, ethnic relations, the economy, social and humanitarian affairs, and the international landscape.
At a time of critical political transition in Myanmar, failure to address the root causes of armed conflict and to create an inclusive political process to solve nationality grievances is only likely to have a very detrimental impact on the prospects for peace, democracy and development
In August the Burma army occupied the Kokang region after several days of fighting, ending two decades of cease-fire with the ethnic minority group. The resumption of fighting in northern Burma raises speculation about the other cease-fires. Tensions are rising and the cease-fire groups have put their armed forces on high alert.
Local organisations have adopted different strategies towards the authoritarian government in Burma. Focussing on the dynamics of civil society Tom Kramer looks into the possibilities and risks of growing international interest in engagement with these groups.
The palaces of President Zuma and the massacre of miners at Marikana symbolise how the gulf between rich and poor has grown in the 18 years since the African National Congress came to power in South Africa. Hilary Wainwright reports on how formerly loyal ANC activists are turning against their government
Ensuring that investment in agriculture is done responsibly is vital for indigenous peoples, whose identities and cultural survival are inextricably linked to their lands and natural resources. Respecting this link is a fundamental principle in international law and jurisprudence, the recognition of which indigenous peoples have fought for and won and which reaffirms their right to determine the outcome of decision-making that affects them, rather than merely being involved in the process.
In 2009, the song Changes, by Tupac Amaru Shakur, was put on the Pope’s playlist. What is Tupac’s significance, in light of his making the Pope’s playlist and the realities facing African-Americans today in the context of the USA's overpacked prison system, the largest in world history?
One of the few institutions which people respect and trust has injured the faith of large numbers of citizens. How should the Supreme Court deal with the appeals that are certain to be filed before it against the Allahabad High Court judgment on the Babri Masjid issue?
There were plenty of important statements from Pope Francis during his recent three-day trip to Palestine and Israel—including a plea for “justice,” a traditional call for peace and a reference to the “State of Palestine”—but at the end of the day it was all about the photo-ops.
With all the discussion and debate these days about intersectionality and the need for progressives to link our movements against racism and against war, the name of Muhammad Ali belongs right up in our pantheon with Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Howard Zinn, and so many other women and men who fought and continue to fight those linked battles together.
Positive political changes in Burma – including the release of 1,500 political prisoners – have unfolded rapidly since a flawed election saw ex-general Thein Sein come into power in 2011. But reform is “still at a tentative and early stage”.