Interviews


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…)

Luke Simpkins, a member of Australia’s incumbent Liberal-National Coalition government based in the Western Australian city of Perth, recently made an unauthorized crossing into Burma to attend Karen Resistance Day at the invitation of the Karen National Defense Organization. (more…)

In a statement issued on January 28, Mizzima Media Group editor-in-chief and managing director U Soe Myint announced the closure of Mizzima Dailynewspaper from the end of this month and its replacement by a digital edition. The newspaper was among 16 dailies launched after the government began issuing daily licences in April 2013, of which four have since closed in what is a challenging market. The launch of Mizzima Daily followed the return to Myanmar in 2012 of U Soe Myint and his team from New Delhi, where Mizzima began as an “exile media” organisation in 1998, with websites in Myanmar and English. U Soe Myint spoke to Mizzima Weekly’s Tim McLaughlin. (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…)

After the change of government in 2011, President U Thein Sein invited members of the Myanmar diaspora to return home. In August 2012, more than 2,000 people, including dissidents and foreign activists, were removed from a government blacklist. Many returnees hold foreign passports and have encountered difficulties caused mainly by unclear policy and visa application procedures. Among them is veteran activist Ma Khin Ohmar, a founder and coordinator of the human rights organisation, Burma Partnership. In a wide-ranging interview, Ma Khin Ohmar spoke with Mizzima’s Portia Larlee about seeking political asylum in the United States, activism on the Thai-Myanmar border and her struggle to acquire a visa in Myanmar. (more…)

Ye Htut was appointed Minister of Information last July, two years after the nominally-civilian government moved to end the junta-era pre-publication censorship regime and began to oversee the introduction of private daily newspaper licenses. He has also served as spokesman for President Thein Sein since 2013, emerging as a staunch and articulate defender of the government’s reform credentials and a frequent critic of journalists and opposition politicians on social media. (more…)

Daw Nang Lang Kham, director KBZ Group (more…)

Prominent Myanmar-watcher, journalist and author (“Outrage”, “Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Democracy”) Bertil Lintner was in Yangon for a weeklong journalism workshop. The formerly blacklisted writer was interviewed by Mizzima’s Tin Zar Aung about recent political developments and the year ahead. (more…)

Myanmar’s opening to the world and embrace of democracy after the change of government in 2011 was a boon for a tourist industry that had long languished in the doldrums.With its myriad attractions, Myanmar has fast become one of the world’s top emerging destinations. (more…)

(unofficial translation)

On November 19, the Tatmadaw bombed a Kachin military school, leading to the death of 23 cadets and severe injury another 16, all of whom were from multiple armed ethnic groups. Since then, the armed conflict in northern Myanmar bordering Yunnan has continued. On the afternoon of December 28, intense fighting broke out in Hpakant between the Kachin Independence Army and the Tatmadaw.  As of now, fighting continues between government military forces and ethnic armed groups at various levels of intensity. In the midst of this reignited confrontation, the Kokang National Democratic Alliance Army (NDAA) has miraculously reemerged after being defeated by government forces five years ago. They have engaged with Tatmadaw repeatedly, killing and injuring hundreds of Myanmar officers and soldiers and putting great pressure on the troops stationed in Kokang and even to the west of the Salween River. (more…)

The Yoma Strategic Holdings conglomerate has cultivated an enormous portfolio of real estate, agriculture, tourism, banking, automotive and retail businesses in Burma over the last two decades. As of December this year, the company’s market capitalization was US$692 million, and it ranks in the top five percent of Singapore Exchange-listed companies on the 2014 Governance and Transparency Index. Yoma recently secured a $100 million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for infrastructure development projects in Burma. (more…)

Next Page »