Human Rights


Burma’s parliamentary election Nov. 8 should have been a moment to anticipate with joy: another step in the nation’s emergence from military rule. But democracy is not strictly about the ballot box. It is also about the process — the nature of the competition for power, and whether that political struggle is free, fair and inclusive of all. By this measure, Burma is falling short.
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Framed photographs of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate, cover the walls of his small living room, but U Myo Khin, a longtime democracy activist, has harsh words for the woman he idolized for years as a crusader against dictatorship.
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As Myanmar holds its first post-junta general elections in November, it is seeing a growing stream of foreign direct investment and seeking its first credit rating. The country’s military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, recently told international media that the military would respect the outcome of the elections even if the opposition won.
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The sudden removal of one of Myanmar’s most powerful men sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community in the old capital of Yangon, where foreign embassies are still located. It seemed more like a midnight coup than an ordinary leadership reshuffle—security forces in the new capital, Naypyidaw, entered the headquarters of the de facto ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP, late August 12.
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On August 22, police in Yangon’s Hmawbi township arrested 10 Muslim internally displaced people from Rakhine State camps, including nine children. They are being detained for entering Yangon illegally.
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Fourteen-year-old Ma Ei Mon’s tidy hair and thanaka-daubed face belie her troubled past and confused reality: Barely a teenager, she could be studying at school, but she is already working and living far from home.
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The leader of Burma’s main opposition party, Aung San Suu Kyi, said on Thursday she wished to see a “meaningful” nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) concluded as soon as possible, appearing to clarify comments attributed to her the previous day.
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Waving their floral offerings in the air, devotees danced through a temple Thursday to celebrate Myanmar’s biggest spirit festival which has also become a rare host for the country’s marginalised gay community.
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For those who had any doubt, the recent dismissal of the head of Myanmar’s ruling party has made it clear that the military remains firmly in control of the country, even after four years on the path to democracy.
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The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw has approved an optional international protocal which aims to keep children out of armed conflict.
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With the Union Election Commission slated to wind up its scrutiny of candidates today, Muslim political parties fear their nominees – like some of their voters – will be struck from electoral rolls.
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At least 41 members of Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), have been expelled over the last month, officials confirmed, revealing discord among the party’s leadership closing in on a landmark election.
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Citing strong figures through the first four months of the fiscal year, Burma’s investment commission says it is confident that foreign investment will not be negatively impacted by the political uncertainty that surrounds a general election due Nov. 8.
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The government is moving to extend health and maternal care services countrywide, in a bid to reduce the incidence of risky illegal abortions and high rates of maternal fatalities.
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THE PUBLIC Health Ministry yesterday extolled its success in promoting health insurance for more than 1.7 million migrant workers from Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos and their accompanying family members.
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An Aug. 12 shake-up in the leadership of Myanmar’s governing Union Solidarity and Development Party has prompted speculation about whether Parliamentary Speaker Shwe Mann is a spent force and what that might mean for the country’s reform program after elections in November. The answer is that the “palace coup” will have little impact on the reform program, and may even have strengthened the hand of Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy.
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The sudden removal of one of Myanmar’s most powerful men sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community in the old capital of Yangon, where foreign embassies are still located. It seemed more like a midnight coup than an ordinary leadership reshuffle – security forces in the new capital, Naypyidaw, entered the headquarters of the de facto ruling party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, or USDP, late August 12. The following day, it was announced that Shwe Mann, the speaker of the Lower House of Myanmar’s bicameral parliament, a former general and anticipated by some foreign observers to be the country’s next president, had been ousted.
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Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has warned armed ethnic minority groups not to rush into signing a nationwide cease-fire, a top party colleague said Wednesday, a position that pits her against President Thein Sein, who has made reaching a deal before November elections his top priority.
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Hlaing Tharyar Township Court in Yangon has been overwhelmed with more than 1400 criminal cases so far this year, according to lawyers offering legal services in the township. Overworked judges are often able to spare only 10 minutes to hear testimony from both sides.
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Findings in a recent public survey show that a majority of the Burmese public has little to no confident in the country’s police, courts and Union Election Commission.
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