Ethnic Issues


Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) arrived in the town of Kunlong in northeastern Shan State on Wednesday to assist the 5,000 civilians displaced by the ongoing fighting in the Kokang region.
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When a bulldozer rolled onto her ancestral farmland stretching under the shadow of Letpadaung mountain on a December morning last year, Ma Win Mar was among dozens of farmers who tried to stop it.
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The Burmese government recently came under fire for back-pedaling on a pledge to grant the country’s beleaguered Rohingya minority the right to vote. On February 12, the government announced the imminent suspension of all temporary ID cards held by over half a million Rohingya Muslims in western Burma, dashing hopes that they might be allowed to vote in Burma’s first general election in over fifty years, scheduled for the end of this year.
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In this teeming camp for displaced Rohingya Muslims in western Burma, it’s easy to overlook the Internet huts. The raw emotion they generate is much harder to ignore.
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The ethnic Chinese leader of a group of Myanmar rebels which has been engaged in renewed fighting with the government has denied in an interview with a Chinese paper that he has been receiving any help from Chinese citizens or mercenaries.
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Heavy fighting between the Burma Army and ethnic rebels is continuing in northern Shan State and has spread beyond the Kokang Special Region in recent days, causing hundreds of civilians to flee, rebel officers and aid workers said on Wednesday.
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As clashes intensify in northern Shan State between Burmese government forces and ethnic rebels, aid workers say humanitarian supplies are fast drying up for the thousands of Kokang civilians who fled their homes to take refuge in shelters.
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Two freight trucks carrying fruit became the latest targets in a series of roadside attacks on vehicles in northeastern Shan State as hostilities continue in the region between Kokang rebels and Burmese government forces.
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Federalism will be the topic of a two-day meeting beginning February 26 in the Kayah State capital Loikaw.
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Fifteen people have been jailed for their role in an attack on Muslim buildings during last year’s religious conflict in Mandalay, but a lawyer says the organisers of the attack remain at large.
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Two civilians who were injured during an ambush on government forces in Lashio District were sent to Lashio Military Hospital.
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The United Nations human rights chief warned Wednesday that widespread abuses of minority rights in Myanmar threatened to undermine reforms in the country.
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The leader of the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), officially known as the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), has said that it will not be signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement as it already entered into a “deed of commitment” with the Burmese government on Union Day, 12 February.
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More than 50,000 refugees have fled Shan State due to armed clashes that have been raging for two weeks between government army forces and Kokang rebels, say sources from local rescue organizations.
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The Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) said it opposes efforts by Shan State police to interrogate two ethnic Kachin youths in Muse Township as it fears they could be wrongly accused of the murder of two female teachers last month.
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Over the last three weeks, fighting has broken out in Myanmar’s northeast between the military and several ethnic minority militias, including the ethnic Kokang Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and, allegedly, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The KIA is one of the most powerful insurgent groups in Myanmar. At least 30,000 civilians have fled across the border into China, and the fighting has killed at least 130 people. The Myanmar military has attacked rebel groups with air strikes, and the fighting shows no sign of letting up.
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Fighting between government forces and the army of Pheung Kya-shin – known as the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) – has resumed in the Kokang region of Shan State for the first time in more than five years.
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The President’s Office has rejected accusations that Burmese government troops have killed a number of civilians in Laogai during ongoing clashes with Kokang rebels since 9 February.
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Allies of the Kokang rebels have leapt to their defence in light of Burmese military allegations that Chinese mercenaries are fighting on the rebels’ side in the ongoing conflict in northeastern Shan State.
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Kokang ethnic rebels battling Myanmar forces in the country’s north denied several government accusations Sunday, including that they attacked a Red Cross-flagged truck that was carrying refugees fleeing fighting in the area.
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