Interviews


Shin Thant is an activist working with Colors Rainbow, an NGO advocating for the rights of Myanmar’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

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Earlier this month, the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) was roiled in controversy when it dismissed five executive members in Shan State, including the party’s state chairperson, Khin Moe Moe, in what some observers regarded as a heavy-handed manner. The move was carried out under orders from Win Htein, a senior NLD member close to party leader Aung San Suu Kyi who has often been faulted for his handling of sensitive matters. DVB spoke with him recently about this latest incident.

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The Irrawaddy speaks with veteran Burma scholar David Steinberg about burgeoning US-Burma relations, an anticipated easing of US sanctions, and the prospect of military-to-military engagement between the two countries.

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The Irrawaddy asks Swedish journalist, author and Burma expert Bertil Lintner about the changing US-Burma relationship, as Burma’s State Counselor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi visits the US this week.

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Five months after the transfer of power to the new government in April, former Minister of Information (2014-16) U Ye Htut became a senior visiting fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. While in Burma conducting research for a book to be published later this year, he spoke to The Irrawaddy about his past experiences in government and views on the current administration.

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As Burma’s Union Peace Conference began in Naypyidaw in late August, fighting resumed in Karen State’s Myaing Gyi Nyu and Mae Tha Waw between a splinter group of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the Burma Army-backed Border Guard Force (BGF). The DKBA splinter group, named after its late commander Maj Na Ma Kyar, claimed the Burma Army used the BGF to chase them because their leader, Maj Saw San Aung, is on the BGF wanted list. Irrawaddy reporter Saw Yan Naing spoke to Maj Saw San Aung about the fighting.

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New Telenor Myanmar CEO Lars Erik Tellmann speaks to Frontier about improving data speeds in urban areas, aggressive promotions and the factors that will drive future growth.

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More than a month after initial reports of a deadly outbreak of measles in the Naga Self-Administered Zone started reaching people outside of this remote region of northern Burma, people there continue to die from the disease, despite efforts to contain its spread. To find out about the response to the health crisis hitting one of the poorest parts of Burma, DVB spoke to Naw Aung Sann, the general secretary of the Council of Naga Affairs.

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Aye Thada Hla is a communications coordinator of the Gender Equality Network comprising more than 100 local and international civil society organisations, all of which are committed to improving women’s rights and addressing gender inequality in Myanmar.

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Visiting UK Minister Rory Stewart has expressed his optimism over Myanmar’s future and called for patience as the Myanmar government attempts to deal with a raft of challenges.

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Three ethnic armed groups—the Ta’ang Nationalities Liberation Army, Arakan Army and Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army—currently involved in active conflict with the Burma Army in northern Shan State issued a statement on Thursday announcing their readiness to join the Union Peace Conference, scheduled to begin on August 31 in Naypyidaw.

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UK-based author Joe Studwell made a list of recommended reads by Bill Gates with his influential book “How Asia Works,” an analysis of success and failure in Asian economies.

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It’s complicated: In an interview with The Irrawaddy, longtime Burma expert Bertil Lintner assesses the many interests at play during State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to China on Wednesday.

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A new sense of pragmatism on all sides bodes well for the visit of Aung San Suu Kyi—Burma’s state counselor and foreign affairs minister—to China later this week, says Bangkok-based expert on Asean affairs Kavi Chongkittavorn, in an interview with The Irrawaddy’s founding editor Aung Zaw.

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A longtime backer of Burma’s pro-democracy movement, Norway has been a high-profile donor to development and peacebuilding programs inside Burma since the launch of political and economic reforms in 2011.

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As Burma once again experiences serious flooding, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement has invited civil society organizations (CSOs) to join the ministry’s relief and rescue efforts. The ministry is set to meet CSOs in Mandalay on August 6 and has invited organizations from Kachin, Chin and Shan states, as well as Sagaing, Magwe and Mandalay divisions. Floods have affected more than 50,000 people so far, most of them in Arakan State and Mandalay and Magwe divisions. Win Myat Aye, minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, spoke to The Irrawaddy’s Htet Naing Zaw about his ministry’s plans to address the rising water levels.

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Economist Sean Turnell has been a researcher of Burma’s economy for over twenty years. He has been an advisor on Burma to the US State Department, to USAID and to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. he is also an informal advisor to the Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD) government. He spoke to DVB about Burma’s economic policy released last week.

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Khun Maung Thaung is the Chairman of Ethnic Affairs and Internal Peace Committee of the Lower House and vice-president of the Pa-O National Organisation (PNO).

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Aung Htoo is a human rights lawyer who has worked for many years on ideas and challenges concerning federalism in Burma, and on the creation of a draft federal constitution. He founded the Legal Aid Network in 2012, which established the Federal Law Academy in Mai Ja Yang in Kachin State in 2014, to provide legal and constitutional education to ethnic youth.

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Salai Lian Hmung Sakhong is the vice president of the Chin National Front, a rebel group from western Myanmar that signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Accord (NCA) with the government in September 2015, together with seven other ethnic armed groups.

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