Tuesday, July 5th, 2016


A day after thousands of Buddhist nationalists staged protests across Rakhine State, the regional government issued a statement saying it would call the state’s Buddhist majority “Rakhine ethnics”, as controversy over terminology continues to simmer.

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The government is planning to meet with the three armed ethnic groups from the Kokang region that had been excluded from last year’s so-called nationwide ceasefire agreement, according to government peace negotiator U Hla Maung Shwe.

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A move to unite all ethnic Kayin political parties, launched after last November’s election, could take another year, one of the organisers says. Mahn Aung Pyi Soe, vice chair of the Phlone-Sqaw Democratic Party (PSDP), said on July 2 that the process of unification was about 65 percent complete.

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Khun Htun Oo, the chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), said that national reconciliation can only be possible with significant changes being made to Burma’s 2008 Constitution. Khun Htun Oo, who is also the Chairman of the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA), a grouping of ethnic political parties, made the comments at a meeting of the UNA and the Ethnic Nationalities Affairs Center (ENAC), held in Rangoon on 30 June.

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The Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) has sent President U Htin Kyaw and other senior government officials a letter calling for the release of civilians who have been detained by the Burma Army for their association with the group. The SSPP/SSA has also requested that a number of their troops, who were also detained by the army over the past few months, be released as well.

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A Chin political party released a statement on Tuesday demanding that both the Burma Army and the Arakan Army stop conscripting forced labor, burning houses and torturing locals in rural areas of Paletwa Township in southern Chin State.

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Myanmar police have detained five villagers for burning down a mosque in Hpakant Township last week, an officer said Tuesday, as authorities look to contain religious violence in the Buddhist-majority nation.

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An official in Myanmar has been charged with defamation for referring to Aung San Suu Kyi with a slur parroted by the former junta she spent decades campaigning against, police said Tuesday.

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State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi has instructed government bodies to include ethnic armed groups that did not sign last year’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) in the upcoming Union Peace Conference.

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The Burma Army’s deputy regional commander visited Mong Yaw village in Lashio Township on Sunday, giving “donations” to victims’ families after seven people in and around the village were killed on June 28, with locals blaming the Burma Army.

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Three NGO groups have spoken up in a UN forum on issues of discrimination and rights of women in Myanmar. The following is the oral statement by Amnesty International, the Women Peace Network-Arakan and The Arakan Project in light of the review of Myanmar’s fourth and fifth combined report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women:

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