Inside Burma


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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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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A Myanmar court denied bail to human rights activist Khaing Myo Htun on 25 August. Earth Rights International (ERI) said in a statement that it condemns the decision and calls for all charges against him to be dropped.

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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 team from Unesco, the United Nations’ cultural agency, is traveling to Bagan to conduct a comprehensive review of damage to historical pagodas and temples after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit central Burma on Wednesday evening.

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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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A group of people living in a squatter community in Hlegu Township, on the outskirts of Burma’s commercial capital Rangoon, held a press conference on Wednesday to voice their opposition to plans to evict them from their homes.

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A controversial Chinese dam project in Shan State has been given the go-ahead, as local human rights organisations warned that the development could stoke ongoing conflict in the region.

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A workshop by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) about the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was held in Karen State capital Hpa-an.

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A powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Myanmar Wednesday (Aug 24), killing at least three people and damaging some 60 pagodas in the famous ancient city of Bagan, officials said.

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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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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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Labour representatives on a key employment disputes resolution body should be elected by workers themselves, Mandalay union representatives are insisting. They are protesting against a decision to reselect members of the local Arbitration Council who, they say, were not properly elected.

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