Ethnic Issues


In 2012, U Khin Htwe Maung was building a house in downtown Sittwe, paid for with the pension he received for decades of military service.

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Rangoon-based Arakanese civil society groups have chastised the Arakan National Party (ANP) for ignoring them after the support they gave the party during the November general election, and for failing to preserve “unity” in the Arakanese nationalist movement.

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Participants at the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) Summit scheduled to be held in Mai Ja Yang, Kachin State, have agreed to focus primarily on a four-point agenda namely building a federal union, politics, the military and the interpretation of Panglong.

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Karen State based political parties and civil society groups said that they are not invited to take part at the state level Joint Monitoring Committee-State Level (JMC-S).

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All of Myanmar’s ethnic armed groups must be able to attend the upcoming 21st Century Panglong Conference (Union Peace Conference), said Khu Oo Reh, from the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN). The concerns were expressed when the UNFC met with State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi recently during an informal meeting Rangoon.

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The Union Peace Conference or 21st Century Panglong Conference Preparatory Committee and Delegation for Political Negotiation (DPN) are meeting today, 20 July, in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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The Burma Army has said it will take action against troops accused of killing civilians in a rural area of northern Shan State’s Lashio Township in late June.

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The Shan State parliament has approved an urgent proposal imploring government intervention to bring an end to simmering conflict between the national army and ethnic armed groups in the state’s north, which has displaced thousands of civilians.

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Delegates from ethnic political parties and women groups are to be invited to the plenary ethnic armed groups’ summit scheduled to be held from July 26 to 29 at Mai Ja Yang, Kachin State.

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The 21st-century Panglong Conference will likely prove only partially inclusive, sources from the ethnic armed groups said yesterday.

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The eight armed groups that are signatories to the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) are holding a meeting in Chiang Mai on 18-20 July in preparation for a landmark summit in Kachin State’s Mai Ja Yang at the end of the month.

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More than a thousand local residents in northern Shan State’s Lashio Township on Saturday staged a protest demanding an end to the arbitrary killing of civilians in the area.

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Myanmar’s de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held landmark talks with senior rebel leaders on Sunday, as she strives to seal a ceasefire with a patchwork of ethnic minority militias that have battled the national army for decades.

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In the face of the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya ethnic minority in Myanmar, ASEAN cannot continue to look the other way, according to political analysts.

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The mainly stateless Muslim people who identify as Rohingya have been called the most persecuted people in the world – but in the IDP camps and surrounding villages in Rakhine State, where an estimated 140,000 are interred, members of another, often-overlooked Muslim minority are also suffering. The Kaman ethnic group, who say they are ignored by the international community, report facing abuse and discrimination at the hands of the Rohingya, and it seems even those who claim to represent the Kaman politically refuse to stand up for those in the camps.

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A survey to count the ethnic Taung Yoe population in Shan State was launched last month, with its organisers seeking to tally enough of their own to qualify the group for an ethnic affairs minister post in state government, according to Taung Yoe Literature and Culture Association patron U Kyaw Htwe from Pindaya township.

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After only its second meeting, the new committee formed to address issues in Rakhine State has identified 142 priority areas.

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Aung Kyi, an information minister under the previous Thein Sein government, has been appointed head of a new three-member “think tank” adjoined to the government’s re-branded peace secretariat, which includes various peace process veterans from the previous government.

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Several thousand protesters marched to the Burmese (Myanmar) embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Friday to denounce the treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority in the predominantly Buddhist country.

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Myanmar’s peace process has made some steps forward since reforms began under the U Thein Sein government in 2011. In October 2015, eight ethnic armed groups signed a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement with the government, despite some of the largest groups in the country – including the Kachin Independence Army and the United Wa State Army – refusing to join the agreement.

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