Inside Burma


The Burmese government has blamed troops from the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) for an escalation of hostilities that has displaced thousands of civilians this month in Kachin State, amid claims by rebel leaders that government forces have repeatedly been the first to attack.
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A group of activists walking from Rangoon to Myitsone, the site of a suspended hydropower dam project in Kachin State, have reached the halfway mark in their march to call for the complete shutdown of the Chinese-backed project.
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More than 2,000 people have already been interviewed as part of an ongoing project to record the experiences of political prisoners who were jailed in Burma over half a century of military rule, according to project leaders.
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Conditions are dire for thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Burma, who after fleeing armed conflict are now being pressured to return to their villages in Kachin State’s Mansi Township.
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Activists in the Pegu Division town of Nyaunglebin have been denied permission to hold a protest calling for amendments to the 2008 Constitution.
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Local farmers of Madaya, Mandalay division have been charged with crimes ranging from sedition to trespassing and staging unauthorised protest after they took up tools and farmed land they claim is rightfully theirs.
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A coalition of 12 ethnic groups, the United Nationalities Federal Council, has begun a two-day meeting to discuss negotiations between the government and armed ethnic rebel groups on a nationwide ceasefire.
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Recent fighting between Government forces and Kachin rebels in Myanmar, and the resulting displacement of thousands of people, has significantly increased the risks to young people, including possible recruitment, limited access to basic services and the threat of landmines, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned today.
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Opposition MPs will raise questions regarding corruption in the judicial system in the next parliamentary session.
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When the chairwoman of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy, Madame Aung San Suu Kyi entered a conference room in northern Yangon, more than 300 reporters from 30+ countries had been waiting for a long time. People, including the reporter from Global Times, stood up and watched her walking in for yet another social event. This is the opening ceremony of the “2014 International Media Conference”. Aung San Suu Kyi was the guest of honor invited by the host, the East-West Center from the U.S. At this March event, she talked about media freedom and responsibility, Myanmar’s changes and hopes. The speech did not have much emotion, but definitely a lot of strength, full of rhetoric and imitation of western-style democratic speeches. The whole room applauded her. At that very moment, she was the “democratic hero” of the world.
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Fighting between government troops and ethnic rebels in Myanmar’s northeastern state of Kachin has left at least 22 people dead this month, state-run media reported Sunday.
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International humanitarian organizations have begun returning to Arakan State after aid workers fled riots in the state capital of Sittwe last month, a police official and a United Nations representative told The Irrawaddy.
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A week of fighting between Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) forces and Burmese Army troops has left more than 5,000 people displaced in eastern Kachin and neighboring Shan states, according to an aid group involved in relief efforts there.
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A water convolvulus field on the corner of Wai Zayan Tar Road and Gandamar St, Mayangone Township, Yangon was the site of a press conference held on April 20 to represent 28 farmers and their 109 employees who had received an eviction notice with an April 22 deadline from the Tatmyo Development Affairs Committee. Farmers spokesperson, U Myint Oo said that they “will appeal to the development committee not to remove us”, from the land they farm.
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Some 900 Muslims from Meikhtila in central Burma who lost their homes in communal violence just over a year ago are now facing water shortages and sanitation-related diseases at the shelter where they reside.
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Recent Clashes, Long War
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A number of civil society organisations have vowed to conduct their own survey in response to a public opinion poll released by the International Republican Institute (IRI).
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Sule Pagoda Road in downtown Rangoon is famous for its role in Burma’s turbulent recent history. With its golden pagoda rising at one end, it has always served as a popular gathering point for street protests.
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Four houses were burnt in an attack against an interfaith couple in Nattalin Township, Pegu Division on 16 April, according to local authorities. No one was injured and authorities said that calm has been restored.
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DVB reporters and staff in Rangoon gathered for Burmese New Year’s Day to pray for the release of their colleague, Magwe correspondent Zaw Pe [Zaw Phay] who was recently sentenced to a one- year jail term for charges related to his journalistic work. (more…)

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