Ethnic Issues


The Arakan National Party (ANP) has condemned the Burmese government’s suggestion that the ethnic Rohingya be referred to as the “Muslim community in Arakan State”.

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The Mon National Party (MNP) has urged the Mon State Chief Minister to withdraw the proposed issuing of household documents to migrant workers in an open letter, yesterday [June 20]. The migrant specific proposal is part of Mon State’s 100-day project.

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The Mon State Government will replace the ‘Bop Htaw’ statue at the roundabout near the Thanlwin [Salween] Bridge, the entrance to Mon State’s capital, Moulmien.

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After Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took over power of Myanmar a nationality verification process was initiated in the Rakhine State dominated by the Muslim minority community.

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The United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on human rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, and Arakan State Chief Minister Nyi Pu struck a conciliatory tone on a meeting in the state capital Sittwe on Wednesday, in which the contentious terms “Rohingya” and “Bengali” were avoided.

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The European Union said on Wednesday Myanmar needed “space” to deal with human rights abuses in its restive northwest, adding it would respect the call by country leader Aung San Suu Kyi to avoid the term “Rohingya” to describe persecuted Muslims there.

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Troops from the Kachin Independence Army’s (KIA) Regiment 6 attacked a Burma Army camp in Bang Lum Bum Mountain, between Mongyar and Mongkoe in northern Shan State, at 7 pm on 19 June.

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A Burmese government peace delegation led by Dr. Tin Myo Win has told three ethnic armed groups of the Arakan, Palaung and Kokang ethnicities not to attack the Burma Army and to disarm so that they will be invited to join the upcoming peace conference, sources say.

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Members of both Arakanese Buddhist and Rohingya Muslim communities have objected to referring to Rohingya as “the Muslim community in Arakan State,” as used by Burma’s representative at the 32nd regular session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

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The Pa-O National Liberation Organisation (PNLO), an ethnic armed group that has signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA), issued a statement on Saturday saying it would continue to work together with all national brethren, including Pa-O people, for the preparation of the 21st Century Panglong Conference and for the success of Myanmar’s peace process.

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The UN and the international community should support ongoing reforms inside Burma instead of focusing on human rights abuses perpetrated by the former government, said President’s Office Spokesman Zaw Htay, in response to a fresh criticism from the UN over Burma’s treatment of religious and ethnic minorities—in particular the Muslim Rohingya.

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Myanmar has banned its officials from referring to the oppressed Muslim minority as Rohingya, instead insisting they are called “people who believe in Islam”.

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Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha will not raise the Rohingya issue during Aung San Suu Kyi’s three-days official visit here beginning Thursday saying that it was Myanmar’s internal affairs.

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Most Rohingyas living in Bangladesh say they want to return to their homeland but fear for their lives if they return. Myanmar stripped them of citizenship 1982 and, calling them Bangalis.

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Foreign observers of Myanmar’s changing social and cultural landscape have watched with great concern the flood tide of religious nationalism as conservative and radical Buddhist groups have expressed fears of a Muslim spiritual and social invasion that they have perceived to threaten their religious views. Coming from religious organizations such as Ma Ba Tha and the Myanmar Patriotic Monks Union, they seem to have had wide popular support, or at least popular acquiescence, for who can publicly disagree with the pronouncements of eminent members of the sangha? The legislature has passed laws intended to prevent this perceived disease from spreading. To those addicted to democratic traditions and open societies, this is illustrative of very disquieting development, even as right-wing nationalistic groups gain prominence in many Western societies.

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The United Wa State Army (UWSA) and the National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) have accepted an invitation to join the so-called 21st Century Panglong Conference” envisioned by the Aung San Suu Kyi-led government.

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Ko Ko Gyi, one of the leaders of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society has said that the public and youths can play an important role in solving political issues.

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The Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA) says a group of villagers arrested last month by the Burma Army in eastern Shan State were not troops forcibly recruited by the group.

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The Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) strongly opposes plans by Burma’s new government to expand household list registration to migrant workers and their families who have come from other parts of the country.

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The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) will discuss with Burma’s government how all ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) can be included in the nationwide ceasefire and peace process, a senior KNPP official told Shan Herald.

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