Ethnic Issues


Thai authorities have rescued nearly 30 Myanmar victims from alleged human traffickers’ hands in Phuket province.
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Myanmar migrants were among the 39 people who drowned in the Mediterranean on January 30, according to Turkish state media.
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The faces of Myanmar’s new Parliament, when it convenes in Napyitaw on February 1, will be almost unrecognisable when compared to the previous assembly.
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An Arakanese politician victorious in November polls for the state’s parliament has been sentenced to six months in prison. The verdict strips him of his right to serve in the legislature, however he reserves the right to appeal.
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The number of severely malnourished children has spiked in northern Rakhine state in Myanmar, a European Union agency said, after floods six months ago dealt a new blow to an area home to a persecuted population with little access to basic services.
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In a rare bright spot for ethnic political parties, Arakanese politicians from two camps managed to patch up their differences ahead of Burma’s 2015 election and merge into one political entity, the Arakan National Party (ANP), which proved to be the country’s best-performing ethnic electoral force in the Nov. 8 poll. Less than three months on, however, that Arakanese unity appears strained as jockeying continues over precisely what form Burma’s new political order will take.
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Arakan State Chief Minister U Mra Aung has said that Arakanese nationals who were displaced by fighting between the Burma Army and the Arakan Army, will not be shifted without their consent.
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The bodies of five jade scavengers killed in the latest landslide in the mines of Kachin State’s Hpakant were recovered on Thursday, according to the town’s hospital.
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The Kayin State government has given a little-known company permission to build a major low-cost housing project near Hpa-an, after more than a year of due diligence.
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Among the many challenges facing the incoming National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government will be addressing the political aspirations of Burma’s ethnic nationalities. Federalism was high on the agenda at the recent Union Peace Conference, with some ethnic leaders proposing a system of eight ethnic states to replace the current configuration of seven states and seven divisions. The Irrawaddy’s Htet Naing Zaw recently spoke with Khun Htun Oo, chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD), about the role of ethnic peoples in building a federal Union.
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The Chinese firm Wanbao’s Burma subsidiary has reportedly told locals in the Letpadaung mine area that it has no plan to compensate them further, after hundreds of would-be farmers sought payment for crops forgone last year due to the project.
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Burma’s transition is an example of top-down reform and differs from Switzerland’s bottom-up federalism, said a senior member of a Shan delegation that recently returned from an exposure trip to Switzerland.
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What is women’s role in conflict, peacebuilding and democratization? What are the consequences of women’s inclusion and exclusion from the peace process? These are some of the questions explored in Women in Conflict and Peace, International IDEA’s publication was launched on 26 January in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State the organisation said in a press release.
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A village administrator from Minbya in Arakan State serving three years in prison for alleged links to the Arakan Army was released on 22 January as part of President Thein Sein’s political prisoner amnesty.
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Fighting flared again on Tuesday in Kawkareik Township, Karen State, where Karen rebels accuse a joint force comprising the Burma Army and Karen Border Guard Force (BGF) of burning down at least 10 houses in the village of Pyar Pin a day earlier.
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In December, some 40 ethnic Karenni organizations, including armed factions and political parties, penned a letter to National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi calling for Karenni voices to be adequately represented in the state’s new government.
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Two Arakanese men, Hsan Win Tun and Kyaw Soe Moe, aka Arno, were arrested by Burma Army personnel in Sittwe Central Market on 22 January and taken to an unknown location, according to their families.
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Four youths have been arrested in Arakan State on suspicion of being involved in insurgent activities.
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Three newly elected Mon State Hluttaw (parliament) members met civil society organisation (CSOs) representatives on 21 January to improve collaboration between the Mon State government and CSOs.
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Following recent calls for their own state the Red Shan of northern Burma announced that they have formed an armed group called the Shanni Nationalities Army (SNA) on social media last week.
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