Opinion


Beijing’s recent courting of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was deliberate and well-calculated. At a time when the political maneuvering in Myanmar is heating up ahead of elections later this year, “The Lady” flew to Beijing in June to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People.
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Ma Ba Tha is proving to be one of the most effective groups in Burma at extracting concessions from the quasi-civilian government.
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For 17 months, negotiations between the government and the ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) sought to reach a nationwide ceasefire agreement for Myanmar. Negotiations must continue until a way toward peace is found.
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A dozen young women sit on the curb outside a garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar township, holding brightly coloured umbrellas as shelter from the midday sun.
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Proposed amendments to the 2008 constitution are now up for debate in parliament. After voting on the first six proposed changes on June 25, parliament has continued to discuss a broader range of amendments contained in a second bill. The debate concluded yesterday, after 63 MPs discussed the bill.
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Conversely, a morning newspaper can have the reverse effect, as it did this week when I read an article in the July 7 Bangkok Post by Songkran Grachangnetara about the detention of 14 students in Thailand.
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Political parties representing Burma’s ethnic minorities could pick up a sizeable number of seats in a general election later this year, presenting a stumbling block for the ambitions of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her party.
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In every country, there are always tensions between medical practitioners charged with keeping those incarcerated in good health, and prison officials. As medical ethics and jail policy are often at odds with each other, this is a never-ending dispute.
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Prior to the heinous murders of British tourists Hannah Witheridge and David Miller in Thailand last September, migrant workers’ presence and everyday lives on Koh Tao Island were not publicly discussed. This situation abruptly changed once migrants were identified by case investigators as key suspects behind the killings.
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Many wondered whether Daw Aung San Suu Kyi would comment on sensitive human rights issues under the noses of her Communist hosts. The long-term imprisonment of Liu Xiaobo, a fellow Nobel laureate, had some speculating that Myanmar’s icon of democracy would wade into China’s difficult domestic politics.
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The school’s red-brick walls are pockmarked by bullets, and holes have been blasted by rocket-propelled grenades. The classroom is littered with the detritus of war – empty ammunition boxes, spent shell casings, garbage, worn-out army boots and backpacks.
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Can Myanmar have true democracy without genuine peace? Widespread armed conflict, including intensified civil wars in the northern Kachin and eastern Shan States, will challenge the state appointed election commission to organize polls across vast areas of the country if and when constitutionally mandated elections are held in November. An incomplete and fraying peace process will jeopardize electoral security, maximum voter participation and the democratic legitimacy of the results.
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Aung San Suu Kyi’s path to the presidency of Myanmar remains blocked, after parliament nixed crucial constitutional amendments. Inside the country and abroad, many are wondering what is next for the Nobel peace laureate and her opposition party, the National League for Democracy.
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Whatever fleeting, slender hopes Aung San Suu Kyi had of maneuvering her way into the presidency next year are now dashed.
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The Myanmar government’s chief peace negotiator explains why now is the time to sign a ceasefire agreement to end the country’s long-running civil war.
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Since the opening up of Myanmar Reform Saga in 2011, the security landscape has changed dramatically in our country. We used to live under the umbrella of traditional state security concept where protecting sovereignty and territory is utmost importance. Under the new democratic government, Myanmar follows the principle of human security in line with current international practice. Human Security concept adopted by UNDP in 1994 includes two areas of freedom from fear and freedom from want.
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It is not uncommon for religious authority to make a moral intervention in secular affairs. This month’s encyclical on climate change by Pope Francis and the mobilization of Buddhist monks during Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution are two recent examples where spiritual leaders considered it necessary to participate in addressing universal problems for the sake of the common good.
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The historic conflict between the Muslims and Rakhines in the Rakhine State of Myanmar has complicated the religious landscape and aggravated tensions, where the Rohingya Muslim faces ethnic and religious discrimination. Added to this, in the new political scene, the rise of Buddhist nationalism has become a significant socio-political force in Myanmar.
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The submission to parliament of two draft bills to amend the 2008 constitution on June 10, two years after the amendment process was launched, has attracted much interest. However, what has been less discussed is the National League for Democracy’s role, and how it was duped into supporting the bill.
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Several laws currently under consideration are threatening to bring about the end of free civil society in Cambodia. Several others have recently been passed, radically reforming the judiciary and rules governing electoral campaigning in a manner that centralises power in the executive branch and erodes the checks and balances that a healthy democracy requires.
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