September 2015


More than 200 ethnic Rohingya stormed out of an Indonesian encampment on Tuesday as tensions erupted following alleged rapes and beatings by locals at the site where members of Myanmar’s long-persecuted minority have been held since arriving four months ago by boat.
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The EU said Tuesday it will for the first time deploy observers in Myanmar’s upcoming elections when the opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi is expected to make significant gains against the military-dominated government.
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A group of Democratic lawmakers called on Monday for the US State Department’s internal watchdog to investigate the removal of Malaysia from a list of worst offenders in human trafficking following concerns that politics may have played a role in the decision.
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With a little more than a month to go before Burma’s national elections, military aligned militia units are casting a dark shadow over the polls. These proxies, known as Pyithu Sit (People’s Militias) and Neh San Tat (Border Guard Forces) are intimidating voters in Burma’s ethnic-minority borderlands and are stopping candidates from campaigning. This exacerbates the problems in some regions, where ongoing fighting between government forces and ethnic armed groups will prevent voting from taking place.
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Last week, Myanmar officials wore big smiles at the official launch of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

They were jubilant that, at last, the nation has its first international-standard SEZ, equipped with all the infrastructure a major business needs – electricity, water supply and port facilities. The project is a joint endeavour, and much of the credit must go to the three Japanese business groups involved – Sumitomo, Marubeni and Mitsubishi.
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Not an ounce of expression as Ja Nan retells the story of how her father first became involved in Kachin State ceasefire negotiations a quarter century ago. He was living abroad in 1989, she said, when Maran Brang Seng, then-chairman of the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), called him to ask for help. She remembers her father’s account of that phone call, the chairman pleading, “You are over in Canada having a good life, but here we are dying.”
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Politicians and activists in Myanmar have criticized an influential Buddhist nationalist group for holding large public gatherings across the country to celebrate the passage of a set of four controversial laws RFA reported on 25 September.
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Muslims around Rangoon celebrated a low-key Eid festival on Friday amid simmering religious tensions in predominantly Buddhist Burma, just weeks before a general election.
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Over 100 villagers in Kachin State’s Mansi Township were forced to flee their homes on Sunday after clashes continued between government troops and the Kachin Independence Army in the state’s southernmost township.
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Fighting in early July 2015 between soldiers from the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army and government troops along the Asia Highway, not only forced villagers from their homes, but caused them to lose most of their household belongings and food supplies when fleeing the conflict.
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Government officials have stopped a Karen community group from holding a conference to discuss the impact of development projects on local communities.
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Civil society organisations (CSOs) must cooperate so that true peace can be achieved according to a statement issued by the Burma Southeast Region Civil Society Organizations (BSERCSOs) conference.
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Ancient inscribed stones that could further the study of Arakan literature and culture were found during excavations to build a jetty in Kyauktaw Town, Arakan (Rakhine) State, said Thu Mrat (Maha Aung Myae) an Arakanese  history researcher.
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Local authorities in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina have rejected a request by the National League for Democracy (NLD) to hold a campaign rally featuring popular party chairwoman Aung San Suu Kyi at the town’s well-known Manaw festival grounds.
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The results are in for local tech hub Phandeeyar’s #MaePaySoh hack challenge, an elections app competition that saw more than 100 of Burma’s best and brightest software developers battle it out for big prizes.
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Faced with the emblems of five political parties, all of which featured a gold-colored peacock against a red backdrop, Myint Yi, a teashop owner in downtown Rangoon, was stumped when asked which of the parties they represented.
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Located 300 kilometers south of mainland Myanmar in the Indian Ocean, the Coco Islands are about as remote as it gets – and now the small islands are at the center of the latest election complaint.
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As the third week of election campaigning kicks off, an international monitoring group is already raising alarm over the credibility of the elections.
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Only a handful of political parties have applied for permission to canvass in Mandalay, even though permit requirements have been relaxed and election day looms less than six weeks away.
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With general elections in Myanmar less than a fortnight away, the nation’s leading Catholic Church prelate is urging his countrymen to choose candidates and parties that promote a culture of democracy, human rights and reconciliation Vatican Radio reported on 27 September.
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