Opinion


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi must have greeted the New Year with some anticipation, and trepidation: 2015 is when her hopes to lead Myanmar will be put to the test. All the battles, campaigns and strategies have been leading towards a chance to get in the ring for a proper electoral showdown. (more…)

The transition to a “discipline flourishing” democracy initiated by the former military regime in 2003 when then Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt unveiled its roadmap to democracy – that he has reportedly said privately was based on plans drafted in 1993 – is on the surface slowly bearing fruit. (more…)

Wirathu is in the news again. But this time, even some of his followers feel that the nationalist Buddhist monk went too far when he called a visiting UN rights envoy a “whore” and a “bitch” in a recent public speech. (more…)

Winter weather has brought more misery for thousands of internally displaced people who have sought refuge in camps in Kachin and northern Shan states on the border with China to escape fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Kachin Independence Army. (more…)

“We are young so we want to do many things and get whatever we want; regulations control us not to do bad things.” a young student of Myanmar’s only Seventh Day Adventist college told me over juice in a faculty member’s home. She exuded the wisdom of a much older person, a parent even, as her peers nodded knowingly, a colourful portrait of Jesus on the wall behind them. (more…)

People are saying that it is difficult, these days, to stay optimistic about the immediate future. My friends who are Buddhists say nothing is permanent, and so they wait patiently for things to change. (more…)

The way that Myanmar’s first group of legislators was elected, in the jumbled process of the 2010 poll, means that a good proportion will be one-term wonders. (more…)

President U Thein Sein has recommended that the temporary citizens known as white card holders be allowed to vote in the constitutional referendum proposed for May, after an opposition MP moved to disenfranchise them from the process last year. (more…)

Projects funded by the Japanese government are pushing for development at the expense of human rights. (more…)

We have now entered 2015. The next 12 months promise a considerable number of challenges and problems. The question is, can they be overcome? (more…)

Achieving gender equality is among the many challenges Myanmar must face during its democratic transition, opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told an international women’s forum in Nay Pyi Taw on December 5.
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In a ground-breaking move toward community-led commercial forestry, forest user groups in Tanintharyi Region received training in forestry management, inventory and timber harvesting in November. (more…)

‘Pressure from other countries is the only way’   (more…)

High-profile talks are the favourite pastime of the Myanmar political elite of late, but they don’t always yield impressive results. (more…)

The recent talk that Myanmar’s reforms are lurching towards failure misses the point. After so many decades of military dictatorship we need a reality check about the comparisons that Myanmar deserves, especially at this delicate moment in an historic process of political change. (more…)

Gender equality advocates tackle sexist legislation, cultural norms (more…)

The draft National Land Use Policy has created widespread discontent in Myanmar. The policy is positive for those who may seek to acquire land for business purposes and have security in their investments. The policy views all the country’s land resources as a state-owned commodity. It relies mainly on high tech, top-down approaches for determining, (re)zoning and administering land and legal land rights. It is mainly oriented toward addressing the problem of how to facilitate large-scale transfers of rights from many existing (small) occupants and users to large-scale users through land concessions and leases. (more…)

No more contentious issue than the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation has occurred in the American media. On November 23, 2014, The New York Times public editor devoted a full page (“The Conflict and the Coverage”) to discussion of whether that problem was treated with appropriate objectivity, balance, and clarity in that newspaper. There had been many complaints on all sides of those issues. This was an unprecedented and important public discussion of the problems in reporting stories, inclusion of photographs and assignment of reporters and staff.

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Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at Sagaing in 2012, as she campaigns for NLD candidates. Photo: Mizzima
For more than two decades the people of Myanmar have been looking in one direction for the realisation of their democratic ideals: towards Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy, which won landslide victories in the election for a constituent assembly in 1990 and the by-elections of April 2012. (more…)

The draft National Land Use Policy has created widespread discontent in Myanmar. The policy is positive for those who may seek to acquire land for business purposes and have security in their investments. The policy views all the country’s land resources as a state-owned commodity. It relies mainly on high tech, top-down approaches for determining, (re)zoning and administering land and legal land rights. It is mainly oriented toward addressing the problem of how to facilitate large-scale transfers of rights from many existing (small) occupants and users to large-scale users through land concessions and leases. (more…)

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