Burma: Despair Behind Closed Doors

Rohingya Activist Held in Myanmar after Facebook Post

An activist has been arrested in Myanmar after posting photos on Facebook from violent clashes between displaced Muslims and security forces in the country’s restive state of Rakhine, police and an activist have said.

Women ‘Invisible’ in Myanmar

While Aung San Suu Kyi enjoys iconic status in Myanmar (also known as Burma), women remain invisible in this country steeped in Buddhist tradition and emerging from decades of military rule.

Over-investment Fears Loom in Myanmar

As governments around the world continue to discuss how to ease sanctions in Myanmar, fears are increasing that a sudden massive influx of foreign investment could be detrimental to the delicate ongoing transition.

Malaria Adds to Myanmar’s Woes

Political reforms unfolding in Myanmar (or Burma) are giving health workers a chance to address a resurgence of drug-resistant falciparum malaria in the war-torn ethnic minority enclaves along the country’s eastern borders.

Suu Kyi’s Party “Boycotts” Assembly Over Oath

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's pro-democracy leader, and newly elected MPs from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party have refused to attend the opening session of parliament over a dispute regarding the wording of the parliamentary oath.

Multilaterals Warned Not to Go Too Far, Too Fast in Myanmar

As multilateral lending agencies prepare to seriously re- engage with Myanmar for the first time in decades, observers at the spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are warning that a poor understanding of ground conditions in the country could jeopardise many of the early opportunities created by government-initiated reforms.

Myanmar Turns ASEAN’s Democracy Beacon

Long Southeast Asia’s black sheep, Myanmar is enjoying an image change following its landmark Apr. 1 by-elections. Tongues are now wagging about the region’s new beacon of hope for democratic change.

Despite Tsunami, Japan Resumes Aid to Myanmar

Japan’s plan to resume official development assistance (ODA) to Myanmar, announced this week, is problematic for a country faced with a dauntingly large disaster recovery budget for areas hit by the earthquake and tsunami last year.

Clinton Announces “Targeted Easing” of Sanctions on Myanmar

Two days after hailing Sunday's parliamentary by-elections in Myanmar, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Washington would begin a process of "targeted easing" of longstanding economic sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation.

U.S. Praises Myanmar Poll

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama Monday hailed Sunday's parliamentary by-election in Myanmar, also known as Burma, which the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi won in a landslide.

Suu Kyi as Lawmaker

Following her historic victory in Sunday’s by-elections Aung San Suu Kyi takes on a new role as opposition lawmaker, after a 22-year existence as Myanmar’s most famous political prisoner.

Crowds of supporters in front of the NLD headquarters, as preliminary results are announced. Credit: Preethi Nallu/IPS.

Landslide Victory Brings Limited Reach

The celebrations started even before the polls opened on Apr. 1. The mood has been festive in Yangon and surrounding districts for the past few days, with jubilant revellers, sporting National League for Democracy (NLD) logos parading on open trucks, motorbikes, rickshaws, chanting party slogans and blasting patriotic songs made especially for the occasion.

Myanmar ‘Reforms’ Elude Kachin Refugees

For thousands of ethnic Kachins who fled fighting between government troops and rebels and survived a bitter winter in the refugee camps that dot northern Myanmar (or Burma), another test of survival looms – gale force winds.

Myanmar Ethnic Groups Resist Forced Labour

In a move expected to deepen political reform, the quasi-civilian government in Myanmar (also known as Burma) is permitting the distribution of leaflets that will help thousands of people in the country’s ethnic enclaves learn to resist forced labour.

Aung Zaw, editor, 'The Irrawaddy' Credit: 'The Irrawaddy'

Q&A: ‘Returning to Burma is OK, Not for Journalism’

When he returned home after over two decades as a political exile, Aung Zaw, a prominent figure among Burma’s exiled media community, was served a slice of truth by the country’s notorious censorship board.

Burma’s Armed Ethnic Minorities Present Agenda for Successful Ceasefire

"Our past experiences have demonstrated that a mere ceasefire agreement will not result in the durable peace that we have long sought. Political peace is the only way forward."

Burma in the Throes of Change – Part II

As 'positive' news flows out of Burma - release of political prisoners, ceasefire talks in ethnic areas, increased freedom, formation of labour unions – people inside the country and exiles have been in heated discussion. What does 'reform' entail and are the changes going to be fully implemented?

Burma in the Throes of Change – Part 1

Moves by the Burmese government to settle ethnic conflicts in the country, notably with the Karen in the mountainous eastern part of the country, have caught most observers by surprise.

BURMA: Dismantling a Dictatorship – Peacefully

As he dismantles a 50-year military dictatorship without a shot being fired, Burmese President Thein Sein is resorting to the political art of compromise.

BURMA: Political Prisoners Freed – Conditionally

The release of 651 prisoners, a process which started this month, is being seen as a victory for activists and families who have had to contend with Burma’s notorious prison system.

U.S.: Burma Release, Ceasefire Hailed by Obama, Rights Groups

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama Friday hailed the release by the Burmese government of hundreds of political prisoners, suggesting that it went far toward satisfying Washington's conditions for fully normalising ties between the two countries.

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