Burma’s parliamentary election Nov. 8 should have been a moment to anticipate with joy: another step in the nation’s emergence from military rule. But democracy is not strictly about the ballot box. It is also about the process — the nature of the competition for power, and whether that political struggle is free, fair and inclusive of all. By this measure, Burma is falling short.
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Framed photographs of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate, cover the walls of his small living room, but U Myo Khin, a longtime democracy activist, has harsh words for the woman he idolized for years as a crusader against dictatorship.
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The frequent assertion that women in Myanmar enjoy relatively equal status to men was clearly exposed as nonsense this week when the Asian Barometer Survey (ABS) reported that 60 percent of respondents said they would prefer to have a boy child rather than a girl – a level of gender bias around double that reported in neighbouring ASEAN countries.
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As Myanmar holds its first post-junta general elections in November, it is seeing a growing stream of foreign direct investment and seeking its first credit rating. The country’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, recently told international media that the military would respect the outcome of the elections even if the opposition won.
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The sudden removal of one of Myanmar’s most powerful men sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community in the old capital of Yangon, where foreign embassies are still located. It seemed more like a midnight coup than an ordinary leadership reshuffle—security forces in the new capital, Naypyidaw, entered the headquarters of the de facto ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP, late August 12.
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On August 22, police in Yangon’s Hmawbi township arrested 10 Muslim internally displaced people from Rakhine State camps, including nine children. They are being detained for entering Yangon illegally.
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Fourteen-year-old Ma Ei Mon’s tidy hair and thanaka-daubed face belie her troubled past and confused reality: Barely a teenager, she could be studying at school, but she is already working and living far from home.
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The leader of Burma’s main opposition party, Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Thursday she wished to see a “meaningful” nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) concluded as soon as possible, appearing to clarify comments attributed to her the previous day.
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The Chin State government has requested a grant of more than 20 billion kyats (US$15.5 million) from the Union government for rehabilitation projects in the flood-battered northwestern state.
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Recent monsoonal floods and landslides have taken a dreadful human toll, leaving at least 117 dead and 1.6 million people displaced, in twelve states and regions across Burma.
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Waving their floral offerings in the air, devotees danced through a temple Thursday to celebrate Myanmar’s biggest spirit festival which has also become a rare host for the country’s marginalised gay community.
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For those who had any doubt, the recent dismissal of the head of Myanmar’s ruling party has made it clear that the military remains firmly in control of the country, even after four years on the path to democracy.
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The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has approved an optional international protocal which aims to keep children out of armed conflict.
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Union Parliament Speaker Shwe Mann announced on Thursday that the legislature’s Lower House would adjourn until after Burma’s Nov. 8 general election.
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With the Union Election Commission slated to wind up its scrutiny of candidates today, Muslim political parties fear their nominees – like some of their voters – will be struck from electoral rolls.
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A new party for the Intha ethnic group has emerged to compete against the Inn National Development Party, which won several seats in the 2010 election.
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At least 41 members of Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), have been expelled over the last month, officials confirmed, revealing discord among the party’s leadership closing in on a landmark election.
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Myanmar rebel group the Arakan Army (AA) swooped on a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) patrol in Boro Modak area of Thanchi in Bandarban, Bangladesh, yesterday morning, leading to a gun battle that left one BGB soldier injured The Daily Star reported on 27 August.
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The Burmese consul general of the newly established Burmese consulate in Chiang Mai, U Kaung San Lwin, said Naypyitaw would only consider opening new border checkpoints after the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) has been signed.
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Citing strong figures through the first four months of the fiscal year, Burma’s investment commission says it is confident that foreign investment will not be negatively impacted by the political uncertainty that surrounds a general election due Nov. 8.
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