Regional


When Myanmar in 2014 conducted its first comprehensive census in 30 years, the country was shocked to discover that some millions were missing from the count, which came in at around 51.5 million people. Last year, when I was conducting demographic research surveys in Mon state in southern Myanmar, near the Thai border, I saw another alarming trend: Almost every other household had sent at least one person to live and work in Thailand. This labor migration has significantly affected the Mon region. Agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, is shrinking; manufacturing and food processing factories are struggling for survival; and the social fabric is collapsing with many families torn apart as they seek work elsewhere.

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The Irrawaddy reporter Nyein Nyein talks to Htoo Chit, migrant rights advocate and director of the Foundation for Education Development (FED), outside Talay Thai Seafood Market in Mahachai, Thailand—where Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with migrant workers from Burma on Thursday afternoon—about the Thai government’s selection process for the meeting and why banned workers protested the decision.

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People living along the Salween River are calling for a review of plans to build mega-dams on the river ahead of an official visit to Thailand by Burma’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi this week.

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Aung San Suu Kyi will land in Bangkok for the first time since her triumphant 2015 election victory on June 23. Her Thai military hosts know something about elections: They tend not to respect their outcomes.

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After Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took over power of Myanmar a nationality verification process was initiated in the Rakhine State dominated by the Muslim minority community.

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After Aung San Suu Kyi lands in Bangkok on June 23 for a three-day visit, her first destination will not be Government House, but Mahachai, a district best known for seafood, 16km south of Bangkok. This coastal town has come to symbolize the Thailand-Myanmar relationship for decades. It has been the backdrop to media stories about human trafficking and slave labor as well as human rights abuses. During her first visit there in November 2012, Suu Kyi pledged to help the workers and urged them to fight for their rights.

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Burma’s Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi and the Labour Ministry plan to solve the issue of illegal Burmese migrant workers by slashing their mandatory “work break” period from three years to 30 days.

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Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha will not raise the Rohingya issue during Aung San Suu Kyi’s three-days official visit here beginning Thursday saying that it was Myanmar’s internal affairs.

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Most Rohingyas living in Bangladesh say they want to return to their homeland but fear for their lives if they return. Myanmar stripped them of citizenship 1982 and, calling them Bangalis.

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Since its suspension five years ago, the $3.6 billion Myitsone hydropower project has come to symbolize the bad old days in Myanmar.

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The legendary Ledo Road that linked India, Myanmar and China during World War II should be restored to boost trade among the three countries, a commentary in a China newspaper urged last week.

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The Thai government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have repeatedly insisted that the return of more than 120,000 Burmese refugees from Thailand should be voluntary.

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Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand (CLMVT) should work together to further integrate the financial market the five countries more attractive to foreign investment, the president of Bangkok Bank told a forum yesterday.

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Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Daw Aung San Suu Kyi held talks with Indian National Security Adviser Mr. Ajit Doval at her office in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, state media reported.

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will more than double it loans to Burma next year, the bank’s President Takehiko Nakao announced following meetings with Burmese leaders in Naypyidaw on Tuesday.

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Myanmar and Mongolia vowed on Wednesday to enhance bilateral cooperation, according to the President’s Office.

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Recently, the Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) scoped out new suppliers to bolster their imports from Myanmar. A total of 38 South Korean delegates, each representing a company, participated in the Korea-Myanmar Business Forum and Seminar, held last week at the Shangri-La Hotel.

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China’s refusal to deliver on pledged aid for the construction of a tunnel across Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River has left the Irrawaddy Division’s irrigation department millions of dollars in debt and hundreds of thousands of people at risk of flooding in what could be yet another case of Beijing’s troubling record on infrastructure in Southeast Asia, an official told The Irrawaddy.

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Another civil society group has joined the mounting campaign against dams planned along the Thanlwin River, also known as the Salween, ahead of an upcoming energy meeting between Thailand and Myanmar.

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The China-Myanmar Paukphaw Friendship Foundation was established on 8 June in Yangon, Xinhua reported yesterday.

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