Interviews


U Sein Win Aung, former Myanmar ambassador to China

Relations between Myanmar and China have been strained by the fighting that erupted in the Kokang region on February 9 between government troops and forces loyal to Pyone Kyar Shin, who heads the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. It is the most serious fighting in the region since 2009, when the MNDAA was ousted from power in fighting that followed its refusal to form a border guard force under Tatmadaw command. Mizzima’s Kay Zue discussed the relationship between Nay Pyi Taw and Beijing in an interview with U Sein Win Aung, who was Myanmar’s ambassador to China from 2000 to 2003. (more…)

As chairman of the subcommission tasked with an important three-phase project compiling voter lists in Rangoon and other preparatory measures ahead of elections late this year, retired Col. Ko Ko is overseeing an undertaking that is crucial to ensuring credible polls.
(more…)

A core group of about 200 student demonstrators and their supporters were violently dispersed by police in Letpadan, Pegu Division, on Tuesday morning. Several were injured, many were arrested, and some fled into nearby homes and jungles to escape the vicious scene.
(more…)

In recent weeks, some 2,000 workers of the E-Land Myanmar, COSTEC and Ford Glory garment factories in Rangoon’s Shwepyithar Industrial Zone went on strike to demand a raise in monthly wages from 80,000 kyats [US$78], up from 50,000 kyats.
(more…)

With Burma gearing up for a crucial general election in November, a coalition of six countries and the European Union released a statement this week affirming their support for free and fair polls. Democracy proponents hope the vote will be the first credible nationwide election in decades, but with the country beset by challenges and governed under a highly contentious, military-drafted Constitution, the outcome appears hardly certain.
(more…)

On Union Day, Feb. 12, four ethnic groups signed a deed of commitment to Burma’s peace process and ending decades of civil war. The Karen National Union (KNU), the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army (RCSS/SSA), the KNU/KNLA-Peace Council (KNU/KNLA-PC) and the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) all signed the document, though other ethnic groups abstained as conflict raged in the country’s north.
(more…)

Dr. Thaung Htun is director of the Institute for Peace and Social Justice in Myanmar and a leading advocate for fair land use policies and farmers’ rights.
(more…)

A migrant worker captured by soldiers from an unknown armed in the Kokang region managed to escape after being held at gunpoint and tortured. After reaching the Mansu Shan monastery in Lashio, which is sheltering hundreds of people made homeless by the fighting, Ko Zin Min Aung received medical treatment at Lashio general hospital. From his hospital bed he told The Myanmar Times about his ordeal.
(more…)

In this week’s edition of Dateline Irrawaddy, first aired on DVB on Wednesday, The Irrawaddy English edition editor Kyaw Zwa Moe is joined by two photojournalists—JPaing of The Irrawaddy and Lynn Bo Bo from the European Pressphoto Agency — to discuss their experience of the Feb. 17 attack on a Red Cross convoy, amid the ongoing conflict in Laukkai.
(more…)

Narinjara has interviewed Major General Tun Myat Naing the chief of the Arakan Army (AA) about their involvement in the fighting against the Burma Army in the Kokang area.
(more…)

A sanctuary providing healthcare for displaced Burmese along the Thai-Burma border since 1989, Mae Tao Clinic will soon be relocating to a new site. DVB interviews founder and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Cynthia Muang.
(more…)

How can ongoing legal changes in Myanmar – still emerging from nearly five decades of isolation – lead to an atmosphere that promotes press freedom, rather than limiting it?

Mr David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and others will answer that question at the International Press Institute (IPI)’s 2015 World Congress and General Assembly from March 27 to 29 in Yangon.
(more…)

In this week Dateline Irrawaddy show—first aired on DVB on Feb 18— The Irrawaddy Magazine editor Aung Zaw is joined by Yan Pai and Kyaw Kha to discuss the history of conflict in the Kokang borderlands.
(more…)

Myanmar refugees in Thailand faced a turbulent year in 2014. Big funding cuts to humanitarian organisations reduced food and other necessities available to those living in camps. In late May, after the Thai military seized power in a coup, long-standing restrictions on movement outside the camps were enforced and a curfew was briefly introduced. Apprehension among refugees was exacerbated when Thai authorities conducted a head-count in some camps in July. Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, but has provided shelter and protection for more than 1.3 million refugees since 1975, including about 120,000 refugees in nine camps along the Thai-Myanmar border, most of whom are Karen. Iain Hall, senior coordinator for the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR, in the Thai border town of Mae Sot, spoke with Mizzima’s Portia Larlee in a wide-ranging interview on the future of the refugees.
(more…)

British Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone has been visiting Myanmar in her capacity as the UK’s champion for tackling violence against women and girls overseas. Mizzima Weekly’s Matt Roebuck spoke to Ms Featherstone about her visit.
(more…)

The Burmese government has officially confirmed that the goal of signing a nationwide ceasefire agreement with ethnic armed groups will not be achieved before Union Day on Thursday. Ethnic leaders stated last week that without agreement on several outstanding points of contention, it would not be possible to sign a peace accord.
(more…)

Burma’s Union Parliament recently passed a controversial law granting temporary identity card holders the right to vote in a referendum on constitutional amendments later this year. The move has prompted criticism and protests, given that these individuals, also known as “white card holders,” do not hold Burmese citizenship. The number of white card holders is unknown, with estimates ranging from 700,000 to 1.5 million, most of whom are Rohingya Muslims.

(more…)

The United States ended a decades-long era of isolation toward Burma when it restored full diplomatic relations about three years ago. Since that time, an ambassador was appointed for the first time since 1990, long-standing economic sanctions were eased and legislation has been amended to allow for more humanitarian aid and limited military engagement.
(more…)

The peace process launched by President U Thein Sein after the change of government in 2011 has made significant process towards a national ceasefire agreement to end more than 60 years of civil conflict. The national ceasefire talks, in which the Myanmar Peace Center has played a critical role, began after the government reached separate ceasefire agreements with most of the country’s armed ethnic groups. The director of ceasefire negotiations and implementation at the MPC, U Min Zaw Oo, credits the peace process for reducing clashes between the government and armed ethnic groups in 2014 to the lowest level since independence. Mizzima Weekly’s Tim McLaughlin spoke to U Min Zaw Oo about prospects for a Union Day ceasefire agreement and the outlook for the peace process in an election year.
(more…)

Archbishop of Yangon Charles Maung Bo was among 20 new cardinals whose appointments were announced by Pope Francis on January 4. The appointment of Myanmar’s first cardinal followed celebrations last November marking the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Catholicism in Myanmar. A special papal envoy who attended the celebrations praised the organisation of the anniversary, saying it was a “marvellous experience”. (more…)

Next Page »