Wednesday, August 31st, 2016


Fresh clashes have been reported on a stretch of the Asian Highway running through southern Karen State on Tuesday, following the death of the leader of a splinter group of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA).

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Human rights advocates have called on Myanmar to investigate the death of a young woman from the country’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, who died this month after being found naked and unconscious near a military base.

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Khun Htun Oo, chairperson for Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), has cancelled plans to attend the Union Peace Conference (also called 21st Century Panglong Conference) because he said it wasn’t inclusive enough.

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In the grandest gesture yet of her young administration, Myanmar’s leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, opened a peace conference on Wednesday to bring together hundreds of the country’s ethnic armed groups in hopes of ending decades of conflict.

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The much-heralded Union Peace Conference is finally here and delegates from across Myanmar and the world are gathering in Nay Pyi Taw for an event that recalls the negotiations of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s beloved father with ethnic minority leaders almost seven decades ago.

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A House of Representatives MP from Rakhine State introduced an urgent motion on August 30 requesting that non-Myanmar experts on the Arakan State Advisory Commission be replaced by local academics. The commission currently includes three foreigners including former UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Anan.

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Zipporah Sein: vice chairperson of Karen National Union. Since it is the first conference, we have high hopes that peace and a federal Union can be built. We have yet to deepen trust with the government mainly because there are still clashes. Much needs to be done before trust can be forged.

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The new National League for Democracy government is struggling to fix the government’s administrative branches, according to U Shwe Mann, chairman of Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission.

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Burma’s Ministry of Immigration and Population will allow tourists from 100 countries holding electronic visas to enter Burma through three cities on the Thai border, starting on Sept. 1.

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Addressing a major peace conference in Myanmar, the United Nations chief today highlighted that the country’s path to reconciliation is a promising one, but that after decades of conflict it will not be easy and will require compromise for all involved.

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The 21st Century Panglong Conference kicked off today— a forum that aims to help bring peace and reconciliation to Burma, and end decades of armed conflict between ethnic armed groups and the Burmese military.

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There are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of Burma. Elections in November 2015 brought the first democratic government in decades. Last year, dozens of political prisoners were granted amnesty and released. Laws restricting core political freedoms such as speech, association and assembly have been relaxed.

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China and Myanmar have shared a geopolitically strategic 2185-kilometre (1358-mile) border since the end of World War II. During the great power politics of the post-war era, the leaderships of the two nations fine-tuned postures of neutrality and non-alignment throughout the Cold War. U Nu and Zhou Enlai, the premiers of the two nations, stood together at the forefront of the non-aligned movement.

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Aye Thada Hla is a communications coordinator of the Gender Equality Network comprising more than 100 local and international civil society organisations, all of which are committed to improving women’s rights and addressing gender inequality in Myanmar.

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