Ethnic Issues


Karenni leader Abel Tweed, who is chairing the last day of talks in Laiza among some 100 ethnic delegates of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), said on Monday that the ethnic alliance was “hoping for the best, but would also prepare for the worst”.
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Concluding a ten-day visit to Burma, the UN’s new special rapporteur on human rights, Yanghee Lee, painted a decidedly mixed picture of the country’s ongoing reform process at a press conference held at Rangoon airport on Saturday evening. She described the conditions in displacement camps across the state as “deplorable,” while noting that she had been advised during her visit to Arakan State to avoid using the word “Rohingya” when addressing the issue.
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Meeting in Laiza for pivotal talks aimed towards signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement, ethnic leaders of the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT) debated on Friday whether to include the words “revolution” and “revolutionaries” in a draft document when referring to themselves.
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Shan, a 53-year-old farmer, wears a blue-and-white button-down shirt over her patterned longyi, a traditional Burmese wrap. She sits quietly with her family, next to the few belongings they were able to carry when they were forced from their home in April.
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Ethnic members of parliament from constituencies in areas of conflict met with Myanmar Peace Centre (MPC) representatives in Naypyidaw on Monday.
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A top military official has laid blame for recent fighting in Shan State on the Shan State Army-North, saying the group trespassed onto land under government control in violation of a 2012 peace agreement.

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The Women’s League of Burma, an umbrella group representing 13 women’s organizations in Burma has said that a culture of “systemic impunity” to rape exists in the Burma Army.
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Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Speaker Thura U Shwe Mann has urged stakeholders in the peace process to protect civilians through their actions, rather than their own interests, following repeated clashes between the Tatmadaw and various armed groups.
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Students at Yadanabon University in Burma’s second-biggest city staged a protest against the national education bill on Monday, urging the government to amend it after consulting with teachers and students.
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Aung Min, the President’s Office Minister and lead peace negotiator, addressed the Upper House on Thursday to reconfirm the government’s commitment to achieving a nationwide ceasefire agreement, and he voiced his confidence that an accord could be reached soon.
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The Women’s League of Burma, an umbrella group representing 13 women’s organizations in Burma has said that a culture of “systemic impunity” to rape exists in the Burma Army.
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Salai Ngai San, a founder of the former Chin National Democratic party which won Myanmar’s 1990 elections, told Khonumthung News that a new party called the Chin League of Democracy (CLD) has been formed to contest the upcoming 2015 elections.
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A Sagaing Division court sentenced 18 farmers to prison terms varying from three months to three years on Thursday on charges of trespassing and causing damage, after the farmers had plowed land that is being claimed by a sugar cane company, local villagers said.
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Speaker of the Union Parliament Shwe Mann warned a lower house parliamentarian on Tuesday not to use the word “revolutionary” when referring to ethnic armed groups.
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Thailand’s 3rd Army commander will discuss preparations to repatriate refugees from nine camps along the Thai border during a summit on 1 to 3 August with Burmese officials.
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A Shan ethnic lawmaker in the Lower House asked the Burmese government on Tuesday to cease military operations in Kyaythee Township in northern Shan State, where several hundred villagers have been displaced after fighting between the Shan State Army-North (SSA-North) and the Burma Army has recently escalated.
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Farmers from eastern Shan State’s Tachileik Township have called for an immediate end to gold mining operations in the area, which they say are seriously polluting water sources and causing other environmental damage.
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Eight women’s rights activists were questioned yesterday in two Chin State courts for staging unauthorised public protests against sexual violence by the Burmese military.
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Armed groups in Kayin State will cooperate in the resettlement of refugees from camps in Thailand when they return home, a Border Guard Force officer told Mizzima on July 15.
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When three villagers from rural Myanmar visited Tokyo earlier this month they came equipped with an unusual itinerary. Rather than spend time exploring the city’s urban jungle, the first trip any of them made out of Southeast Asia was to hand-deliver a complaint letter to the obscure compliance department of Japan’s overseas aid coordinator, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
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