August 2016


The Arakan National Party (ANP) on Tuesday tabled an emergency proposal in the lower house of parliament requesting the government reconsider the appointment of three foreigners to the newly formed Arakan Commission.

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The competition for secondhand and counterfeit mobile phones is intense in a market that’s been flooded with the products since the telecoms sector was liberalised in 2013.

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Anxiety is mounting within the retail industry with businesses large and small in the dark about how rules governing taxation will affect their future trade.

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Burmese business leaders have welcomed the “21st Century Panglong” peace conference, expecting that a successful peace settlement would increase foreign investment in Burma, open up border areas and tempt back migrant workers from abroad.

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Burma and India have inked four memorandums of understanding (MoU) to promote bilateral cooperation in the areas of traditional medicine, renewable energy and infrastructural connectivity.

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More than 260 Myanmar migrants, including 104 undocumented labourers who were forced to work in Thailand, have been rescued by responsible organizations of Thailand and Myanmar, state media reported on 29 August.

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on Myanmar to improve living conditions for its Rohingya Muslim minority on Tuesday, ahead of peace talks between leader Aung San Suu Kyi and many of the country’s ethnic armed rebel groups.

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The following is the full text of a statement by the European Union High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini ahead of the 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference in Myanmar that was issued on 30 August.

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Without the three hold-out groups, the conference will fall short of Suu Kyi’s promises of an all-inclusive summit. If the military, operating independently of civilian oversight, continues to clash with the three groups, there is a further danger that the peace process could stall, particularly if the UNFC — in solidarity with the three groups — decides to withdraw or reduce its involvement in the talks. Given the fragile nature of the peace negotiations, it would be advisable for the government to include the three outcast groups on similar, more lenient terms extended to other ethnic groups, even if a commitment to disarm is not reached.

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Newly democratic Myanmar is all set to launch its 21st-century Panglong Conference on August 31. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has stressed that her government is keen to make it as inclusive as possible.

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This month the newly elected Myanmar government released its economic policy and announced that it will seek to attract even more foreign investment than under previous administrations. But the new policy did not outline how it will ensure that foreign investment will contribute to the protection of human rights and sustainable development.

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I am pleased to be here with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her capacity as State Counsellor and new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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Speaking ahead of a major peace conference in Myanmar, a United Nations independent expert has urged its participants to prioritise human rights issues in their discussions over the coming days, and to do more to ensure the process is fully inclusive.

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Visiting UK Minister Rory Stewart has expressed his optimism over Myanmar’s future and called for patience as the Myanmar government attempts to deal with a raft of challenges.

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Members of the United Nationalities Federal Council have committed to attending the 21st-century Panglong Conference scheduled to convene on August 31, according to a statement released by the ethnic bloc at the conclusion of a two-day “emergency meeting” in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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With less than one week to go until ethnic armed groups from around the country descend on the capital for the 21st-century Panglong Conference, Nay Pyi Taw police say they intend to request that attendees not bring weapons with them.

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AS PLANS continue for the 21st Century Panglong Conference to begin on August 31, debate has erupted over a proposal by ethnic armed groups for Myanmar to have eight states representing the country’s main ethnic groups.

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The Arakan National Party (ANP) has demanded that the government cancel the new Arakan State Advisory Commission formed on Wednesday, of which former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will serve as the chairman.

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A major highway project that will serve as a trade link between Burma and Thailand has been displacing local communities who live along the route in Karen State, southeastern Burma, say human rights organizations.

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A Myanmar court denied bail to human rights activist Khaing Myo Htun on 25 August. Earth Rights International (ERI) said in a statement that it condemns the decision and calls for all charges against him to be dropped.

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