Ethnic Issues


Military activity and tension at the site of the Hat Gyi dam in Karen State threatens a breakdown of Burma’s nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) as concerns grow over potential clashes between the Burma Army and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA).

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Mai Aung Kham, an ethnic Ta’ang—also known as Palaung—from northern Shan State, says he is on the run.

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Following two weeks of fighting between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Kachin State the Burma Army launched jet fighter and helicopter air strikes against KIA camps on 23 September.

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A five-day meeting involving members of signatories and non-signatories to the nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) kicked off yesterday in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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It looks, smells, and feels like a war zone. The highway is lined with military vehicles and 120mm artillery guns point up into the mountains where rebel troops from a Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) splinter group hide. Locals have fled their homes, which are now occupied by soldiers of the Border Guard Force (BGF), the Burma Army-backed militia.

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A new research center for Tai studies will launch on Monday in Shan State capital Taunggyi, according to an executive member.

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Due to the prevalence of landmines in the Maethawaw area, it is unsafe for displaced persons (IDPs) from the recent fighting to return to their homes, according to the local ethnic Karen Border Guard Force (BGF), which is operating under Burmese army command.

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Fifty-two villagers arrested by the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), an ethnic armed group, were set free on September 21, according to Shan State Police Brigadier General Aung Aung.

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Government forces in northern Burma are continuing to close in on Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions, according to sources from the ethnic armed group.

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The landmark 21st Century Panglong Union Peace Conference that concluded in Nay Pyi Taw on September 3 was hailed as a major step forward towards ending decades of civil conflict.

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The writing of draft Terms of Reference (ToR) for three different national-level political dialogues has begun as Myanmar’s peace process gets down to nuts and bolts after the largely symbolic 21st-century Panglong Conference concluded earlier this month.

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Pyithu Hluttaw Speaker U Win Myint has called on the minister for labour, immigration and population to ensure that ongoing verification of National Registration Cards (NRCs) is being conducted in accordance with the law.

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The Burma Army has increased its military activity in areas controlled by the Palaung State Liberation Front/Ta’ang National Liberation Army (PSLF/TNLA), according to the PSLF/TNLA.

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The Karen Unity and Peace Committee (KUPC) called for negotiations to be held to halt the fighting in the Mae Tha Wor area of Hlaingbwe Township, Karen State, in a 14 September statement.

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Clashes between the Tatmadaw and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army – Kyaw Htet (DKBA-KH) in Karen State have resulted in the displacement of about 4,000 people since early September, state media reported on 21 September.

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On the morning of August 31st, I had the honor of attending the opening session of the Union Peace Conference—21st Century Panglong Nay Pyi Taw. As the nation’s top leaders from government, Tatmadaw, parliament and ethnic armed organisations, as well as the UN Secretary-General, each took to the podium, there was an inescapable feeling of being part of an historic moment.

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The Burma Army continuously attacked Kachin Independence Army (KIA) outposts in Kachin State with heavy weapons from 13 to 18 September.

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State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said politics was behind a joint statement from 11 political parties opposing the Kofi Annan-led Arakan State Advisory Commission.

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Deadly clashes are continuing to flare in Hpapun township, Kayin State, three weeks after fighting first broke out. Negotiations between armed factions last week appear to have failed to staunch the fighting.

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Further buttressing complaints about the Rakhine State Advisory Commission, 11 political parties put out a joint statement calling for the disbanding of the “illegitimate” new body.

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