Tuesday, June 28th, 2016


State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and representatives of eight ethnic armed groups that signed last year’s Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) decided at a meeting today to start new, more comprehensive peace talks — dubbed the “21st Century Panglong Conference” — no later than the last week of August.

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A decision by the Rangoon Division government to ban the release of a report on torture in ethnic conflict areas shows the limits of what rights advocates can expect under Burma’s new civilian government, civil society organisations (CSOs) said on Tuesday.

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Union level Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee (JCMC) members have discussed forming state-level committees in Kayin and Mon States, state media reported on 28 June.

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A Karen National Union controlled checkpoint is fuelling tension between the Burma Army in southern Burma.

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The State Counselor’s Office has been behind some of the government’s most important initiatives—from prisoner releases to peace in Arakan State, according to an interview on Monday with Minister Kyaw Tint Swe.

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The Burma Army settled a libel lawsuit that it brought against local media outlet 7 Day Daily for publishing a story that it claimed could “destroy the unity of the military.”

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Refugees at Mae La, the largest Burmese refugee camp in Thailand, have urged the Thai and Burmese governments not to forcibly send refugees on the Thai side of the Thai-Burma border to Burma.

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Of the long list of challenges inherited by the new government when it took office in April, among the most expensive and ambitious are the special economic zones planned for Yangon and on each side of the country, on the Indian Ocean.

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A recent World Bank report says that trade growth in Burma could reduce poverty and boost prosperity, but local observers say in order for that to happen the government must implement economic policies that increase export markets.

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Burma’s government will not allow jade miners to renew their licenses when they expire in an effort to reduce raw production and promote more profitable high-end jade products, said Win Htein, director general of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

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The production and trafficking of narcotic drugs can be controlled nationwide only after peace, stability and the rule of law have been restored in Burma’s ethnic minority borderlands, said Police Col Zaw Lin Tun, head of planning at the Burma Police’s anti-drug squad.

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The visit by Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi last week was useful, instructive and certainly a success. Clearly, she considers Thailand a key to her own country’s future. She took positive steps and proposed clear advice and policy regarding migrant workers and refugees. At the same time, she was extremely forthright in dealing with the military regime under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Suu Kyi, for the three days she was in Thailand, was business-like and repeatedly got to the point.

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The United States has decided to place Myanmar on its global list of worst offenders in human trafficking, officials said, a move aimed at prodding the country’s new democratically elected government and its still-powerful military to do more to curb the use of child soldiers and forced labour.

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United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Burma Yanghee Lee on Monday visited prisons in Rangoon to inspect standards.

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