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Blog (446 found)

Victims’ Voices and Healing a Must for Genuine Reconciliation

WHMuch has been made of the series of meetings between Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and several key individuals after the elections, including the current Commander-in-Chief of the Burma Army, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. But none generated more headlines than the meeting on 4 December, 2015 with retired Senior General Than Shwe, leader of the former military junta and head of state until 2011, purportedly to discuss and ensure a smooth transition of power.

Such meetings, while raising eyebrows, are more than just symbolic and should be read in the context of Burma’s troubled past with elections and power transfer. The emphatic victory at the November 2015 polls was similar to the 1990 elections, which later saw the annulment of the results and extension of power by the military.

Seen in this light, these meetings reveal the complexity of the power transfer, the actors that still wield considerable political capital, and the different interests in directing the transition. It is also fair to infer that a relatively seamless power transfer to the incoming National League for Democracy (NLD) Government can be expected, given the apparent endorsement and pledge of support from senior figures from the previous military regime such as Than Shwe […]

December 17, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Rivers of Green Blood

Rescue workers look for bodies of miners killed by a landslide in Hpakant jade mine, at Kachin state, Myanmar  November 24, 2015. Picture taken November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Burma’s multi-billion dollar jade industry is coming under close scrutiny as two new reports demonstrate the corrupt, unaccountable, and dangerous industry that is driving conflict, a heroin epidemic, and hazardous working conditions […]

December 10, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Burma Bows its Head in Shame on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

WH photoLast week, the Women’s League of Burma marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by calling upon the incoming National League for Democracy Government to take a serious stance on the protection of women from sexual violence. According to their statement, “Women and girls in the Union of Burma are facing with different kinds of violence daily. Especially in ethnic areas, continuous impunity remains for the military personal who continued to commit sexual violence against women and girls.”

The International Day, observed each year on 25 November, was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 to recognize the widespread physical and sexual violence against women around the world. Considering that globally, one out of three women have experienced physical or sexual violence, it is crucial for the international community to address this pandemic and the gender inequality that fuels it. In Burma, sexual violence is widespread and perpetrators – particularly those within the Burma Army – share complete impunity from prosecution […]

The International Day, observed each year on 25 November, was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 to recognize the widespread physical and sexual violence against women around the world. Considering that globally, one out of three women have experienced physical or sexual violence, it is crucial for the international community to address this pandemic and the gender inequality that fuels it. In Burma, sexual violence is widespread and perpetrators – particularly those within the Burma Army – share complete impunity from prosecution.

December 2, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , ,  •  Read more ➤

MNHRC at the Crossroads; “Alibi” of the Government or Ally of the People?

Report-on-MNHRCLast week, a fact-finding mission comprised of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) and Burma Partnership released a statement on the impact and effectiveness of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC). The statement reflected the conclusions drawn from a mission conducted from 16-18 November, 2015. The statement noted serious concerns relating to issues of credibility, a lack of adherence to the Paris Principles, a failure to engage with repressive legislation in Burma, and an inability to effectively counter widespread human rights abuses such as land confiscation […]

November 24, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Sounds of War Taint the Cheers of Election Success

Shan State WarWith the National League for Democracy (NLD) cementing its place as the incoming government by achieving a supermajority in Parliament, the ongoing armed conflict in northern Burma, especially in Shan State, only highlights the pressing need for the new government to facilitate a genuine and inclusive peace process that works towards national reconciliation […]

November 17, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Overcoming all Obstacles, the NLD Surges to a Decisive Victory

Election in MyanmarIt is clear that the National League for Democracy (NLD) will be the next ruling party of Burma, as the Union Election Commission (UEC) continues to release periodic updates on the official results of the historic election. The most recent and official release of information has put the NLD as the victor in 291 of the declared seats in the Union Parliament, with the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) claiming only in 33 seats so far […]

November 12, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

The Failure of the Union Election Commission – 2015 Elections Edition

Elections 2015 irrawaddyOn 4 November, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a briefing on the fundamental flaws of Burma’s 2015 elections. Among numerous shortcomings, the statement highlighted the unapologetically biased nature of the Union Election Commission (UEC); an electoral body that should encourage the elections to be democratic – not influence them. Unfortunately, as HRW points out, the UEC is led be a Chairman with a clear affinity for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and whose commission members are appointed – or removed – directly by the authority of Burma’s President.

HRW’s statement also cites the lack of a formal complaint mechanism and a needlessly broad mandate as features that threaten the legitimacy of the UEC. A report from the Carter Center also documents how the UEC suffers from an inherent lack of transparency, in everything from the organization’s regular decision-making process to the handling of voting cancellations based on “security” concerns.

November 7, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags:  •  Read more ➤

Election Cancellations Create Further Doubt Over the Transparency and Credibility of Burma’s 2015 Elections

Shan state fightingOn 27 October 2015, the Union Election Commission (UEC) announced that elections would be cancelled in four townships in Shan State as a result of the newly intensified fighting between the Burma Army and the Shan State Army-North (SSA-N). According to the Shan State Progressive Party, the political wing of the SSA-N, the Burma Army was seen to ramp up attacks against the SSA-N after they deliberated that they would not be signing the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement […]

November 3, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

Voter Disenfranchisement Rife as Millions Unable to Vote

Myanmar nationals camp outside the Myanmar embassy as they wait for polling stations to open for advance voting in SingaporeThe process of advanced voting in Burma has begun amid much confusion and contradiction. According to The Myanmar Times, election commission officials have offered countering details regarding the timeline of the advanced voting and foreign observers have reported being unaware that the process had even begun […]

October 28, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤

For a “Free and Fair” Election, Freedom of Expression Must be Upheld

MDY-Students-SentencedOn 14 October 2015, plainclothes police arrested Patrick Khum Jaa Lee on the grounds that he had shared a photo on Facebook that was deemed to be insulting to the Burma Army Chief, Min Aung Hlaing. A similar incident occurred earlier last week, in which 25-year-old Chaw Sandi Htun was arrested and charged under Article 500 of the Criminal Procedure Code for defamation along with the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law for using Facebook to compare the new colour of the Burma Army uniforms to that of Aung San Suu Kyi’s htamein (A traditional sarong worn by women in Burma) […]

October 20, 2015  •  By Burma Partnership  •  Tags: , , , , , , , , ,  •  Read more ➤