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The United States last week blacklisted Aung Thaung, a man regarded as one of Burma’s most controversial lawmakers. A former industry minister under the previous military regime, Aung Thaung today serves as a lawmaker in Parliament’s Lower House. His blacklisting comes less than two weeks ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to Burma, where the US president will attend the Asean and East Asia summits. (more…)

Recently, The Irrawaddy disclosed information that the government wanted to keep hidden from the public, and as a result we are now on the “blacklist” of Rangoon Division’s chief minister.

That’s what one lower-level minister in the divisional government and a lawmaker in the divisional legislature voluntarily told The Irrawaddy, though they requested anonymity. (more…)

Allan Lokos and Susanna Weiss, two New Yorkers who run a meditation center on the Upper West Side, arrived in Myanmar in December 2012 eager to explore a nation just emerging from decades of military rule. As practitioners of Theravada Buddhism themselves, visiting this largely Buddhist land, with its golden pagodas and crimson-robed monks, was more than just a holiday.
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On a recent rain-soaked night, the ancient gold Shwedagon Pagoda, believed to contain relics of the Buddha, glowed through the mist in Rangoon.
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The road from Kalaymyo to Hakha is lined with grave markers. With little flat ground in the northern Chin Hills, cemeteries are exchanged for solitary memorials overlooking the knuckled mountain ranges. Some—usually those of the young—have photographs embedded into them; the elders are left faceless. All are etched with a name, an age, and a date of death. Yet in Chin State, as in the other six states of Myanmar, the lives of those who lived and passed away here are not recorded and remembered in the Myanmar language, but in an ethnic-minority language and literature.
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Mandalay, Burma Burma’s historical relics received a huge boost in June, when the nation hosted its first United Nations World Tourism Organization conference on tourism and heritage protection. Days later, Burma made an even more auspicious debut when a group of Pyu towns, with ruins dating from the first to ninth centuries, became the first site in the country to make it onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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According to its publishers, “Governing Refugees: Justice, Order and Legal Pluralism” is a book that “will appeal to anyone with relevant interests in law, anthropology, and criminology, as well as those working in the area of Refugee Studies.”
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In March, Ross Dunkley — the blustering, chain-smoking, Australian expat who heads the Myanmar Times — issued an internal memo, ordering his staff not to publish articles related to politically sensitive topics without his prior approval. At the top of that list: the ongoing oppression of the Rohingya ethnic group in the north, and rising tensions between Buddhists and Muslims throughout the country.
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I am writing to address misconceptions that your readers may have following an Irrawaddy article on 19 May 2014, where it is incorrectly implied that UNICEF has not been cautious or wise in its choice of office space in Yangon.
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GWEN IFILL: Now part two of Jeffrey Brown’s look at Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma.
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Magway Township Court has sentenced Democratic Voice of Burma reporter Thura Thet Tin, aka Zaw Pe, and a parent Win Myint Hlaing for one year in jail on April 7 for trespassing, obstructing officials on duty and conspiracy to do so, according to local sources.
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Nibbling on finger-food at a low breakfast table in northern Myanmar, members of the Katha Township Development Committee sat and discussed the novel Burmese Days, George Orwell’s caustic homage to the “dirty work of Empire”.
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Human rights groups are concerned that Myanmar’s first census in 30 years will inflame ethnic tensions, further marginalise ethnic groups and be used as a tool for repression – especially against stateless Rohingya Muslims who are already denied basic human rights.
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As Myanmar defends itself against allegations of state-sponsored persecution of its Rohingya Muslim minority, attention has turned to what neighboring countries are doing to protect Rohingya asylum seekers. International refugee rights organizations say a coordinated response is needed for what is a growing refugee crisis in the region.
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In the listless heat of Yangon, a tiny pink fan pushes stifling air around a cramped three-roomed shack.
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Whoever arrives back first after work, at the little wooden cottage they call home, makes dinner. Unless he is too tired, in which case they eat out. This is the normal daily routine for this couple.
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Myanmar is building its telecommunications infrastructure, involving international mobile companies and complex regulatory reform: an unprecedented process requiring corporate social responsibility that will support digital rights and may finally secure freedom of expression for the country.
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I was told, before setting off for Chin State, that it was one of the poorest and most isolated regions in Burma. I thought I was prepared. But as is often the case in life, facile descriptions failed to do justice to the reality on the ground.
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The lives of civilians affected by decades of armed conflict in Myanmar are undergoing profound transformations for the better, thanks to the ceasefires agreed between the government and more than a dozen ethnic armed groups. However, the emerging peace process is unlikely to be sustainable unless negotiations begin soon regarding the underlying political, social and economic causes of conflict.
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“We hope that China will play a role in the peace talks between the Myanmar government and armed ethnic groups. China and Myanmar share a long border. Border stability is in China’s interest.” This is the hope of Yawd Serk, the top leader of Myanmar’s Shan State Army-South and the chairman of Shan State Reinvigoration Committee.  In the past, the Myanmar government has condemned SSA-S as a “terrorist, drug-trafficking organization”. But for SSA-S, they are only fighting for the equality for the Shan people and the control of a peaceful region. In early December, reporters from the Global Times travelled 6 hours from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand to Loi Tai Leng, the headquarter of SSA-S located on the Thai-Myanmar border. The living conditions here are extremely poor, but Yawd Serk thinks they occupy an advantageous geographical location against the government military. The goal of SSA-S has shifted from independence to becoming a part of the Union. People in Shan state want peace, and the pace of the peace talks between the government and the armed ethnic groups could be faster. (more…)

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