As conflict and military rule continue, Mumyit Sinli Pukdun argues that a major rethink in international aid is essential with a focus on civil society which is at the heart of community resilience and support for national change. Lessons need to be learned from the failed donor policies of the past three decades. Not only has the nature of political challenges been misunderstood but many international agencies have also followed aid policies that have undermined local capacity and organisations. In Myanmar’s latest cycle of state breakdown, support to civil society is vital to address emergency needs and socio-political transformation in the long term.
Tensions are rising in Arakan (Rakhine State) where a ceasefire exists between the Myanmar military government and Arakan Army. On the surface, the relative stability contrasts with the chaos that has enveloped many other parts of the country following last year’s coup. In this commentary, Kyaw Lynn analyses the changing landscape highlighting that, while confrontations are occurring, neither side appears yet ready to return to open warfare. “Retaliatory” actions, though, are increasing.
Across the world, the state of environmental stress is unprecedented. As scholarship and activism on ‘environmental justice’ point out, poorer and marginalised communities face particular exposure to environmental harms.
This holds especially true for populations in the Global South, including Myanmar. The role of opium cultivation in relation to these environmental stresses is an underexplored terrain. Yet, as this new TNI report argues, drugs, as well as the policy responses to them, are an environmental crisis in Myanmar as well as other countries where opium poppy, coca bush and cannabis plants are cultivated.
While the struggle against military rule continues, Lahkyen Roi analyses in this commentary how natural resource exploitation, land-grabbing and the marginalisation of local peoples underpin poverty, suffering and conflict in Kachin State. A once pristine land of biodiverse forestry, mineral and water potential, Kachin State is today one of Myanmar’s poorest territories. While the natural environment is degraded, the resources of local communities are plundered by outside actors, over-extraction, business cronies and military elites. The establishment of political reform and peace in a new system of federal democracy is essential if the local peoples are to live decent and dignified lives.
As conflict and crisis continue in the aftermath of the SAC coup, political instability and uncertainty have swept many parts of the country. In this commentary, Khun Say Lone examines a dramatic succession of events in Shan State that have seen the RCSS, an NCA-signatory, forced to retreat by other ethnic armed organisations in the territory. Amidst allegations of “divide and rule”, he argues that unity is needed if the people are to end the cycles of conflict and build a better future.
What’s the role and position of women in opium cultivation areas in Myanmar? What is life like for women who use drugs in Myanmar? This primer maps out the gendered dynamics of drug policy in Myanmar, drawing from on-the-ground conversations with women involved in the drugs market.
This week, the International Court of Justice in The Hague is investigating allegations of genocide, conducted by the Myanmar armed forces against the Rohingya population in Rakhine State. Meanwhile an uneasy peace exists in the territory where the United League of Arakan-Arakan Army continues to expand its administrative outreach following an informal ceasefire in November 2020. In this commentary, Kyaw Lynn examines the political and security rivalries taking place between the military State Administration Council and ULA-AA, with the ULA-AA offering a new vision for a modern Arakan national identity that will include all nationality peoples.
The peoples of Myanmar are presently struggling with three grave challenges: a coup, conflict and Covid-19. This new TNI briefing analyses how these three crises have unfolded, leading to health system collapse, a new cycle of humanitarian emergency and deepening political divisions within the country. Taking a narrative approach, the report focuses on the consequences of state failure, the impact of Covid-19 and the actions taken by different military, political and civil society actors during a time of national breakdown.
In the 2020 general election, the Mon Unity Party made a strong showing, encouraging hopes of a political breakthrough. These were abruptly ended by the February coup of the State Administration Council. Since this time, Mon politics have become divided. Amidst countrywide breakdown, some leaders have accepted cooperation with the SAC, others declare support for the opposition National Unity Government, while others urge caution for the Mon people. Kun Wood analyses the dilemmas facing the Mon movement, explaining why lessons from history need to be learned.
In the 2020 general election, the Mon Unity Party made a strong showing, encouraging hopes of a political breakthrough. These were abruptly ended by the February coup of the State Administration Council. Since this time, Mon politics have become divided. Amidst countrywide breakdown, some leaders have accepted cooperation with the SAC, others declare support for the opposition National Unity Government, while others urge caution for the Mon people. Min Naing Soon analyses the dilemmas facing the Mon movement, explaining why lessons from history need to be learned.
Commonly found in Southeast Asia including in Myanmar, leaves from the kratom tree have long been used as a traditional medicine to treat various health conditions, including diabetes, diarrhoea, fever and pain. Kratom is currently banned in Myanmar, and the WHO's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) is discussing this week whether it should be placed under international drug control. Instead of criminalisation, however, this commentary argues that legal regulation of kratom could contribute to building safer communities, promoting development and supporting peace efforts in Myanmar and beyond.
Since the February coup by the State Administration Council, conflict has spread in many parts of the country. In this commentary Khun Bedu explains why Karenni (Kayah) State is a critical example of political developments underway. Popular resistance is continuing. And, with the UN General Assembly soon to meet, a key moment is approaching to decide which is the legitimate government that represents the people.