Ethnic Issues


Over 50 villagers who were trapped in clashes between government troops and the KIA in Mansi Township, Bhamo District, Kachin State arrived back Mai Khaung refugee camp.

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The Kachin Independence Organisation has vowed to boycott the cornerstone of the new government’s peace plan if fighting between the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed groups is not resolved first.

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Leaders of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) met with the chief minister and officials of the Mon State Government on Thursday [May 19] at state government office in Moulmein, the capital of Mon State.

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Local authorities and community leaders have completed a headcount of those living in the Muslim quarter of the Arakan State capital Sittwe, finding little to indicate, as was claimed, that the neighborhood’s population had swelled in recent years.

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As part of its policy development intended to contribute to the peace process political negotiations, the Ethnic National Affairs Center (ENAC) held a meeting with Karen political and civil organizations to discuss about the drafted ethnic affair policies.

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The Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Arakan Army (AA) issued a joint statement on May 21 urging the NLD government to end the conflicts between the Myanmar Defence Services and ethnic armed groups through political channels.

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Thai police shot dead a Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar on Monday during a dramatic mass escape of detainees from an immigration camp in southern Thailand, police said.

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A preparation committee for the so-called 21st-century Panglong conference has contacted ethnic armed groups that did not sign October’s nationwide ceasefire agreement, said Hla Maung Shwe, the committee secretary.

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During a press conference today in Nay Pyi Taw with visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi called on the country’s “well-wishers” for patience as the government tries to tackle the controversial problem of the Muslim “Rohingya” or “Bengali” community living in Rakhine State.

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A Rakhine MP created controversy when he submitted a proposal in the Amyotha Hluttaw last week that offended the Tatmadaw.

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Leaders of the eight ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) who signed the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) are holding a five-day political capacity building workshop at the Inya Lake Hotel in Rangoon from 18 to 22 May.

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The National League for Democracy’s push for peace with ethnic armed groups is expected to begin in late July, according to sources familiar with the matter.

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Fighting in northern Burma between government forces and ethnic armed groups has intensified in recent days, even as a European Union delegation visits the region to learn more about the multiple conflicts that continue to displace thousands of civilians.

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I belong to an ethnic group that, according to my government, does not exist. In the past few weeks, ultra-nationalist protestors have proudly proclaimed, “There are no Rohingya in our country.” And then the NLD government requested foreign embassies to refrain from using the term “Rohingya”, reportedly stating that “the controversial term does not support the national reconciliation process and solving problems”. Their statement was disappointing because it was a capitulation to the hardliners and because I, as a Rohingya, want nothing more than national reconciliation. I want to live in a Myanmar where all of Myanmar’s peoples can live together in equality and peace.

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Last week the Obama administration extended economic sanctions against Burma for another year saying the step is necessary despite the progress on democratic reforms.

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Burmese government troops fighting ethnic armed groups in northern Shan State have been accused of abducting and torturing local villagers suspected of being rebel fighters.

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Burma Army airstrikes were reported in Kachin and Shan states on Wednesday, forcing villagers to flee their homes as the government forces’ fighting with the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) heats up.

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Representatives from the two largest ethnic political parties in the Union Parliament—the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) and the Arakan National Party (ANP)—held an impromptu meeting during lunch in Naypyidaw on Wednesday, agreeing to form a united front when submitting proposals on ethnic affairs or amending important laws.

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Burmese government forces are reportedly conducting airstrikes on Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions in the latest series of military skirmishes against the rebel group in Kachin State’s Mansi Township in northern Burma.

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The Burma Army has reportedly suffered heavy loses in recent heavy fighting against troops from the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and the Shan State Progress Party/Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) in northern Shan State.

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