Food is passed around a campfire, and a guitar strums as cool night air tumbles down mountain cliffs, relieving the jungle of its heat.
A dozen or so young Myanmar activists – some having just travelled long distances evading military checkpoints, others already living in exile – have come together in a jungle camp for a training course with a difference. Instead of armed combat, their chosen role is enabling the overthrow of the military junta through non-violent means.
Nearly 18 million people – about one-third of Myanmar’s population – need humanitarian aid this year because of civil war and the post-coup economic crisis, according to the latest United Nations estimates.
The third wave of Covid-19 is sweeping through Myanmar, from the high narrow buildings of the commercial capital Yangon to bamboo houses in rural areas.
Two human rights groups have called on the military in Myanmar to release journalists arbitrarily jailed and allow them to work without harassment and prosecution.
Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) told IPS that they will double down on those demands until all journalists are released and the operating licenses of newsgroups are restored.
Myanmar activists have called on the international community for help as security forces loyal to the military continue their draconian sweep against the civil disobedience campaign that has brought the country to a standstill since the Feb. 1 coup. The pleas come as analysts, commentators and diplomats who know Myanmar fear that more bloodshed is almost inevitable.
Myanmar’s top generals have begun the process to prevent Aung San Suu Kyi – the country’s popular civilian leader – from ever holding political power. Both she and president Win Myint were arraigned in a closed-door court session via video link Tuesday, Feb. 16. This is the beginning of a trial that is expected to take about six months to conclude. If convicted, it will prevent Suu Kyi from standing in future elections.
Myanmar is in a deep political crisis. Over the past week -- reminiscent of the pro-democracy demonstrations of 1988 -- Myanmar’s citizens are openly and publicly challenging the country’s powerful military, whose coup earlier this month now threatens to stifle the country’s fledgling democracy.
Yangon resident Ni Ni Aye walked to her office yesterday morning. A couple of hours before, the army had staged a coup by seizing power and declaring a state of emergency in Myanmar. Ni Aye, an employee of one of Yangon’s largest technology firms, tried to call her colleagues and family, but phone services were down. So, she decided to walk to the office and see what was happening.
“There were no armoured vehicles or soldiers with heavy weapons, yet everything was extremely quiet. It was very confusing; nobody had a clue on what is really happening. Then we realised, the action is all happening in the capital,” Ni Aye told IPS.
Responding to reports this morning that Myanmar’s military has seized control of government in a coup on the eve of the country’s opening session of its new parliament, rights group Amnesty International said it “sends a chilling message that the military authorities will not tolerate any dissent amid today’s unfolding events”.
A legislation that aims to protect women against violence in Myanmar, while long overdue, is raising concern among human rights advocates about its inadequate definition of rape, vague definition for “consent”, and anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rhetoric.
In 2015, Worldview International Foundation began a mangrove restoration project, planting saplings of the trees on about 121 hectares of land in Myanmar’s Ayyerwady region.
Htay Aung is having a moment. The 63-year-old retired professor of Marine Science sits at the foot of a Buddha statue atop a hill on Shwe Thaung Yan sub township, in Myanmar's Ayyerwady region,
almost in meditation. Below him, a vast thicket of mangrove glistens in the gold of a setting sun. For Aung, this stretch of mangroves—known as the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park—is a symbol of joy, hope and all things good.
Policies that allow for impunity, genocide, and apartheid are “intolerable” and make repatriation of Rohingya refugees impossible, say United Nations investigators.
In the semi-lit makeshift tent covered with strips of cardboard, five women sit in a huddle. As their young children, covered in specks of mud and soot, move around noisily, the women try to hush them down. Hollow-eyed and visibly malnourished, all the women also appear afraid.
Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire, Shirin Ebadi and Tawakkol Karman met with more than 100 women refugees in camps in the coastal Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh this week, as well as travelling to the “no man’s land” where thousands of Rohingya have been stranded between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
More than half a million Rohingya refugees crammed into over 30 makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh face a critical situation as the cyclone and monsoon season begins in a few weeks’ time.
With discussions underway between Bangladesh and Myanmar about the repatriation of more than a half a million Rohingya refugees, many critical questions remain, including how many people would be allowed back, who would monitor their safety, and whether the refugees even want to return to violence-scorched Rakhine state.
The repatriation of Rohingya refugees driven from their villages through violence and terror appears uncertain, with critics saying the agreement legalising the process of their return is both controversial and impractical.
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugee women from Myanmar are currently living in the cramped camps along Bangladesh Myanmar border. Victims of sexual and physical violence in the Rakhine state, women have been disproportionately affected by this crisis and these women’s perils are far from over in the host country as they continue to face multifaceted challenges.
Ferdous Begum was cleaning her child after he had defecated in the open, using leaves she collected from a nearby tree at Bangladesh’s Teknaf Nature Park. The settlement is packed with Rohingya refugees who fled military persecution in Myanmar since August.