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Sixteen-year-old Wut Yee, left to fend for herself and her younger brother, was relieved when her exhausted mother finally came home after a week’s disappearance, but the feeling was short-lived.
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Burma has been thrown into turmoil after the reform-minded former general Thura Shwe Mann, hotly tipped to become the next president, was ousted from the ruling party and confined to his home overnight.
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Much of Myanmar’s early history is recorded in multi-lingual inscriptions dating back more than 1000 years. These words – etched into stone slabs, bronze bells, burial pots, clay tables, even the walls of sacred caves – describe the deeds of kings and reveal details about ancient civilisations, cultures and customs.
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Amnesty International will hold a vote this week on a controversial draft policy that could see the organisation call for the decriminalisation of consensual sex work internationally.

The proposal has already proved hugely contentious, with a raft of celebrities publically speaking out against the move and provoking plenty of reactionary moral outrage among their fans.
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The Transnational Institute (TNI), an Amsterdam-based international research and advocacy institute, last month released a 22 page briefing paper explaining the origins of the recent, ongoing fighting in Kokang State which began on 9 February.
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In a small Burmese café south of Chiang Mai, glasses clink, cutlery is shuffled and tea is drunk. The early dinner crowd sit in small groups chattering loudly from table to table. Subjects aren’t particularly varied and everyone has a vocal opinion from sports to fast cars, but when questions are asked about the coming election the mood changes.
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The watchtowers and the high-security fence on the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh make this frontier look impregnable. Yet thousands of Rohingyas cross into Bangladesh each year. Rohingyas are a Muslim group whose persecution in their mainly Buddhist home state of Rakhine in Myanmar is long-standing but has recently escalated. The Myanmar government does not recognise Rohingyas, many of whose ancestors originally hailed from Bengal during British colonial days, as one of the country’s many official ethnic minorities. Denied nationality since 1982, they are in effect stateless. (more…)

It took Azima a month travelling to wed her childhood sweetheart. In that time, the 17-year-old witnessed men beaten to death, starvation, rape and an attempted suicide.
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Ebadullah can barely stand. Twenty-six years old and from Burma, he’s weak and weathered, but wants to talk. “If someone tried to move in the boat, they would beat us,” he said. “Those who didn’t move were beaten, too.”

Ebadullah is a survivor of human trafficking. He has been deceived, starved, and tortured by members of a transnational criminal syndicate operating in southeast Asia since at least 2012.
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For a decade Ko Naing Naing Oo did his best to keep his head down.

Forced into the military at the age of 16, he ran away in 2005, after almost five years of service. While it marked the end of his time in the military, his ordeal continued. He never knew who he could trust: anyone, even a relative, could be an informant, willing to tip off the military as to his whereabouts. What he knew was that if he was caught, he would spend at least a year or two in prison before being forced back into the army.
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While the EU continues to struggle with the Mediterranean refugee crisis, South East Asia has been facing a potential catastrophe as Burma’s Rohingya flee their homes in search of safety across the Andaman Sea. The scenes of thousands of people stranded on boats and the harrowing discovery of mass graves have recently commanded the world’s attention, but the Rohingya minority’s desperation is not new and they are no strangers to injustice.
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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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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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The controversy over the exodus of tens of thousands of stateless Rohingya from Myanmar and Bangladeshi migrants in rickety vessels has exposed chinks in the armor of regional maritime security forces.
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Htun Myat Oo keeps a photo of Aung San Suu Kyi on the dashboard of his San Francisco cab. Many of his passengers recognize the image. It’s the face of Myanmar’s struggle for democracy, made famous in the covers of Time, the front pages of Newsweek and the biopic by Luc Besson.
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Myanmar is pursuing a narrative that rests on dubious evidence.

The firebrand Buddhist monk, U Wirathu, frequently remarks that Islam poses an existential threat to Myanmar. A central tenet of this argument is the citation of one Muslim militant organization, the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO). The RSO is often accused of being responsible for coordinated attacks against the Myanmar Defense Services, as well having international links to terrorist organizations that seek to promote jihad in Myanmar. Indeed, these organizations have claimed they are supporting local resistance groups and exporting jihad to Myanmar’s shores. This policy brief questions the credibility of the narrative that the Rohingya pose an extremist Islamic threat, arguing that attention should be focused instead on resolving the plight of the Rohingya and attenuating their grievances.
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With tears in his eyes, Aung Myo Myint tells the story of his first love. As a young man, filled with a fierce passion for equality and democracy in his home country of Burma, he had taken up arms against the military government with other like-minded students. Deep in the Burmese jungle, Aung Myo Myint fell in love with another young man, a fellow student-cum-soldier who shared his ideals and fought alongside him. But while their comrades preached equal human rights for all, the two men knew they were not accepted by the rest of the group. Unable to cope with the stigma, the couple separated.
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While most Australians were happily tucking into bacon and eggs on Saturday morning, Jade Horrobin was finishing off the last of her week’s rations.
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An openly gay man who is the subject of a new documentary in Myanmar on Wednesday welcomed its inclusion in an ongoing film festival in the country, but warned that human rights violations still regularly occur in the former military dictatorship, despite its rapid transition to democracy in recent years according to RFA on 17 June.
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Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi began a five-day visit to China on Wednesday, the first time the National League for Democracy chairwoman has made an official trip to Burma’s northern neighbor.
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