Ethnic Issues

Top-ranking Karen rebels are gearing up for an assembly in southeastern Burma this week, where a fractured leadership will discuss their future role in the nation’s main ethnic coalition and the possibility of uniting Karen rebels under a single military alliance.

The Burmese government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC)—the body in charge of negotiating with Burma’s armed ethnic groups—has suggested setting up a joint liaison body with the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N) to prevent further hostilities in Shan State in the wake of renewed clashes between the Shan armed group and government forces.

Karen News spoke exclusively with General General Baw Kyaw Heh, the Karen National Liberation Army’s Vice-Chief of Staff, explains about what the alliance between four Karen armed groups and what lies behind the recent outbreak of fighting.

Authorities sealed off villages in Myanmar’s only Muslim-majority region and in some cases beat and arrested people who refused to register with immigration officials, residents and activists say, in what may be the most aggressive effort yet to force Rohingya to indicate they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. (more…)

U Than Tun, a member of Rakhine State’s Emergency Co-ordination Committee told Mizzima on October 6 that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s does not understand the reality on the ground. (more…)

Human Rights Watch is calling on the World Bank to act to overcome Myanmar’s major human rights problems in its new strategy for the country. (more…)

The ‘Rakhine State Action Plan’ has been criticised by Human Rights Watch as a course of action that will only further segregate the community in Rakhine and further entrench discrimination against the group that self-identifies as Rohingya. (more…)

Burma’s national government has drafted a plan that will give around a million members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority a bleak choice: accept ethnic reclassification and the prospect of citizenship, or be detained. (more…)

A mob of about 100 people damaged a house, shop and mosque on Saturday in Myit Chay, a small town near the popular tourism destination of Bagan, after rumors spread that a Muslim man had beaten his Buddhist maid in the latest case of communal violence to hit Burma. (more…)

Burma gave citizenship on Monday to 209 Muslims displaced by sectarian violence, after the first phase of a project aimed at determining the status of about a million Rohingya whose claims to nationality have been rejected in the past. (more…)

A spirited discussion on ethical journalism and press accountability was among the highlights of a conference on media development in Myanmar which opened in Yangon on September 18. (more…)

As Burma’s government and ethnic armed groups prepare to meet for peace talks next week, on-and-off fighting between the Burmese Army and ethnic Karen rebels continues to plague eastern Burma. (more…)

Ethnic leaders have spoken to Mizzima on September 14 to reveal their concerns over the late release of census data relating to ethnicity and the impact it may have on the provision of political representation at state and regional level.  (more…)

The effort to implement a citizenship screening process in Rakhine State has been temporarily suspended because members of the Kaman ethnic minority in Sittwe district’s Myebon Township are refusing to participate in it, officials said. (more…)

As part of ensuring development of the country’s southeast, plans are under way to draft long-term projects for all-round development of states and to provide assistance to IDPs, according to Sein Kyaw Hlaing, an adviser from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project team for multi-sector development in Kayin and Mon states.  (more…)

A coalition of Shan community based organizations has said a moratorium on resource extraction is urgently needed until there is nationwide peace and a discussion on the control and management of the country’s natural resources, much of which are in ethnic areas.

More than 30 ethnic Karen community based organizations, including environmental watchdogs and civil society organizations, have criticized a blueprint for economic development in Southeast Burma published by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), an aid agency that operates under the Japanese government.

Leaders of two Shan and Pa-O rebel groups that recently clashed because of a territorial dispute, held discussions on Thursday in an effort to resolve the argument, a rebel officer said.

The leaders of Burma’s ethnic armed groups want President Thein Sein to get involved in peace talks, as negotiations toward a nationwide ceasefire deal continue.

A survey revealing that the average daily income in Rakhine State is K2,200 (about US$2.25) was an indication that much remains to be done there to reduce poverty, state parliament was told on September 9.

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