The breakdown in the ceasefire of the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) with the central government represents a major failure in national politics and threatens to escalate to serious humanitarian crisis if not immediately addressed.
The people of Burma are at a critical juncture in their struggle for democracy and ethnic reform. Decisions taken by leading parties and protagonists in the months ahead could well define the direction of national politics for many years to come.
"Opposition parties participating in the process view boycotting the elections as a strategic mistake. The only way forward for them is to play a better game of chess, making the best strategic use of the limited space available."
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.
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.
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.
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.
This monograph argues that although the United Wa State Party (UWSP) has been branded by the international community as a "narco-trafficking army;' the organization has an ethnic nationalist agenda whose aim is to build a Wa state within Burma.
China's fast growing capital expansion within South East Asia is raising concerns about landgrabs and exploitative practices, especially as it is often aligned with support for authoritarian regimes such as Burma.
The Nation - The renewed violence in the Kokang region of the northern Shan state in February has had serious repercussions for efforts to solve ethnic conflict in Myanmar and end the decades-old civil war.
Shan Herald - The briefing paper, which is 22 pages plus 6 more pages of endnotes, released by Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute (TNI) last month, has given us a convincing explanation of how the fight in Kokang which began on 9 February and is still ongoing started.
Foreign Policy Group - If you’ve been following the news from Burma over the past two months, you’ll have probably heard encouraging talk of a looming end to the country’s decades-old civil war. According to the headlines, negotiators from the government and ethnic rebel groups have been closing in on the holy grail of a Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA), which aims to halt 60 years of ethnic conflict. Lately, though, it’s become painfully apparent that there’s a bit less to the whole story than meets the eye.