Ethnic Issues


Members of the United Nationalities Federal Council have committed to attending the 21st-century Panglong Conference scheduled to convene on August 31, according to a statement released by the ethnic bloc at the conclusion of a two-day “emergency meeting” in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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With less than one week to go until ethnic armed groups from around the country descend on the capital for the 21st-century Panglong Conference, Nay Pyi Taw police say they intend to request that attendees not bring weapons with them.

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AS PLANS continue for the 21st Century Panglong Conference to begin on August 31, debate has erupted over a proposal by ethnic armed groups for Myanmar to have eight states representing the country’s main ethnic groups.

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The Arakan National Party (ANP) has demanded that the government cancel the new Arakan State Advisory Commission formed on Wednesday, of which former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will serve as the chairman.

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A major highway project that will serve as a trade link between Burma and Thailand has been displacing local communities who live along the route in Karen State, southeastern Burma, say human rights organizations.

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One of the resolutions which came out of the three-day Mon National Conference has been to stand against the use of a coal power plant by a cement company in Mon State’s Kyaikmayaw Township.

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Next Wednesday Burma will hold the “21st Century Panglong Conference” — the latest step in the country’s long peace process. It will be a moment imbued with symbolism.

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After an emergency meeting in Thailand, the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC)—an ethnic armed alliance—has confirmed that they will attend Burma’s Union Peace Conference, scheduled to commence on Aug. 31.

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A mid-year report on the human rights situation in Burma by a national watchdog has noted a “stark increase” in violations by Burmese government forces and ethnic militias.

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Intense fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) continues with just one week before the start of the 21st-century Panglong Conference, to be held from August 31 to September 4 in Nay Pyi Taw with the hopes of fostering peace between the country’s armed ethnic groups.

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On August 31 Myanmar will hold its “21st Century Panglong Conference” – the latest step in the country’s long peace process. It will be a moment imbued with symbolism. General Aung San, Aung San Suu Kyi’s own father led the Bamar delegation at the first Panglong conference held in 1947, which reached a breakthrough agreement with three armed groups and is still etched in the popular memory of the country today.

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Myanmar’s government has set up an advisory panel led by former United Nations. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to find “lasting solutions” to the conflict in Rakhine state, where human-rights groups have documented widespread abuses against the minority Rohingya Muslims.

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will attend the opening ceremony of the 21st-century Panglong Conference on August 31, according to U Zaw Htay, deputy director general of the President’s Office.

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The Arakan Patriot Party (APP) announced this week that it won’t attend the upcoming Union Peace Conference (also called 21st Century Peace Conference) if all the ethnic armed groups can’t attend.

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Three ethnic armed organizations not recognized by the previous military backed government as part of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement have said they are prepared to attend upcoming political dialogue if they are invited.

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Shan community groups are calling for the suspension of a Chinese-backed dam on the Salween River that they say risks exacerbating conflict and environmental problems in northern Shan State.

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The Burma Army deployed two military helicopters yesterday against Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers in Nhkram Bum, located east of the road from Myitkyina to Bhamo, said Lt-Col Naw Bu, the information officer for the KIA’s political wing, the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO).

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Shortly after State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi arrived back from her official visit to China, delegates of the Chinese government met separately with the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and National Democratic Alliance Army–Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS)—also called Mongla Army—near the China border.

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Two hurdles bedevilled a final consensus at the second-day meeting to review the framework for political dialogue – a core instrument for upcoming peace negotiations – involving representatives from the government, ethnic armed organisations and political parties.

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United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon will attend a landmark peace conference in Myanmar this month, an official and armed group confirmed yesterday, bolstering the new government’s drive to end decades of fighting in Myanmar’s borderlands.

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