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Myanmar

  |  1 Apr 2014

Risk Alert

Controversial UN/donor-backed census began 30 March amid fears of intercommunal violence in Rakhine state, as Rakhine nationalists threatened to boycott census over issue of people being allowed to self-identify ethnicity as Rohingya; called off boycott after govt 29 March decided to prevent people self-identifying as Rohingya. Protests in Rakhine state mid-month against census, escalated to attacks on offices and homes of international humanitarian workers 26-27 March; 1 bystander killed by police warning shot; some 100 humanitarian staff evacuated to Yangon. Commission established by President Thein Sein to investigate allegations of killings of Rohingya villagers in Du Chee Yar Tan village in Maungdaw submitted report to President 28 Feb, finding no evidence to support allegations; also recommended addressing status of Rohingya in Rakhine State, granting citizenship to those who meet criteria under restrictive 1982 law. President late Feb, responding to letter with over 1 million signatures received from monk-led campaign, requested legislature to consider enacting legislation that would restrict inter-faith marriage, conversion from one religion to another, polygamy and number of children, likely to be targeted at Muslim/Rohingya communities. President 7 March appointed commission charged with drafting 2 bills on conversion and balancing population by 30 June; requested legislature to take lead on drafting the other 2 bills, in consultation with Supreme Court. Moves prompted condemnation by rights groups. Govt peace negotiators and armed group representatives met in Yangon 9-10 March, reached agreement to work on consolidated ceasefire accord text, established joint drafting group comprising 9 members from ethnic armed groups and 9 from govt (3 each from executive, legislature and military). President met with Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw 9 March, 5th formal meeting.

Myanmar

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

UN 23 Jan stated it had credible information of killings of at least 48 Rohingya in N Rakhine State, in connection with apparent killing of police officer by villagers. Govt “strongly objected” to claims; 2 out of 3 national investigations arranged by govt failed to find evidence of Rohingya killings, 3rd yet to report. Govt reportedly suspended operations of Médecins Sans Frontières in Rakhine state, saying NGO was biased in favour of Rohingya minority. Rights NGO Fortify Rights issued report citing evidence of govt discrimination against Rohingya. 2 political leaders from Rakhine Buddhist community allegedly victims of assassination attempt 7 Feb while visiting Malaysia. 20-25 Jan conference of nearly all ethnic armed groups at Karen National Union HQ reached agreement on common position in negotiations with govt on nationwide ceasefire accord; formal negotiations between ethnic armed groups and govt currently scheduled mid-March. Clash broke out between army and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) 10 Feb near KIO’s Laiza HQ, most serious in several months. Constitutional Review Joint Committee submitted report to legislature 31 Jan; new 31-member “Implementation Committee for Amendment of the Constitution” established 3 Feb, tasked with making specific recommendations for constitutional change including draft bill with proposed new constitutional language. Speaker 18 Feb issued instructions to committee indicating it should complete tasks at least 6 months before 2015 elections. Authorities early Feb arrested several journalists and editor of local Unity journal, charged them under Official Secrets Act for publishing article about alleged military chemical weapons factory. Alliance of main ethnic political parties 2 Feb issued statement calling for review of how census planned for late-March will be conducted, particularly system of classifying ethnic identity.

Myanmar

  |  1 Feb 2014

Unchanged

Karen National Union armed group delegation met with President Thein Sein and commander-in-chief in Naypyitaw 5 Jan to discuss plans for meeting between govt and all armed groups in Karen State capital Hpa-an, now scheduled 20 Feb. Allegations emerged 15 Jan of massacre by authorities and local Rakhine Buddhist villagers of Rohingya villagers several days earlier in remote part of N Rakhine State; govt denied. Major meeting of thousands of Buddhist monks in Mandalay 15 Jan resolved to push for adoption of law restricting inter-faith marriage, ban on MPs not from recognized national race. President 2 Jan issued pardon reducing prison sentences for all detainees; 13,274 inmates released including some political prisoners; estimated 33 political prisoners remain. Following end-Dec deadline for public submissions, Constitutional Review Joint Committee announced it had received some 300,000 suggestions for amendment of 2008 constitution; due to report to legislative speaker end-Jan. President 2 Jan backed appropriate changes to section 59(f) which sets out requirements for presidential candidates, though unclear on specific language and whether this would allow Aung San Suu Kyi to be a presidential candidate. Myanmar formally took over as ASEAN Chair for 2014.

Myanmar

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Next round of govt-ethnic armed group dialogue, planned for late-Dec, postponed until Jan/Feb to give both sides time for further technical-level discussion of key issues. Authorities 26 Nov announced they had charged 93 people in connection with Oct anti-Muslim violence in Rakhine State town of Thandwe that left 7 dead, many homes destroyed. Opposition NLD 25 Nov proposed quadripartite talks (NLD, President, legislature, military) on amending constitution; rejected by President Thein Sein, who indicated he did not want to overstep legislature, and that outcome of its constitutional review committee, due to report end-Jan, should be awaited. NLD 28 Dec announced it would contest 2015 general election even if constitution is not amended to remove article disqualifying candidates whose spouse or children are citizens of a foreign country from becoming president/VP – which would bar NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi; ruling USDP 30 Dec submitted recommendations to constitutional review committee, reportedly including suggestion to amend article. Govt 10 Dec pardoned 41 political prisoners, leaving an estimated 44 in prison; President 31 Dec issued pardon releasing people charged under several old repressive laws. U.S. 17 Dec blacklisted Myanmar army officer and 2 military-linked companies it accused of continuing illegal arms trading relations with DPRK.

Myanmar

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

Unprecedented meeting between leaders of almost all ethnic armed groups hosted by Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) at their Laiza HQ 30 Oct-2 Nov followed by meeting in Kachin State capital Myitkyina between armed group leaders and govt 3-5 Nov. Discussed draft text for Nationwide Ceasefire Accord; no final agreement, but parties agreed to follow-up meeting in Karen State capital in Dec; govt still hopes to hold nationwide ceasefire signing ceremony early 2014. Senior KIO leader General Gun Maw visited Yangon mid-Nov for talks with Myanmar Peace Centre and Kachin community leaders, gave public speech, in govt-approved visit. Fighting flared in Mansi township, Kachin State in recent weeks, displacing several hundred civilians. Rakhine State authorities late Oct brought charges against 61 people (out of 78 initially arrested), majority Buddhists, for various offences including murder in relation to anti-Muslim violence in Thandwe town. Govt 15 Nov released 69 political prisoners; estimated 60 still in jail. EU began €10m program providing police training on riot control, community policing. OIC delegation visited Myanmar, including Rakhine State, to see situation of Muslims affected by communal violence. EU delegation led by foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also visited.

Myanmar

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Govt and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) armed group signed agreement following latest round of peace talks 8-11 Oct; representatives of most other ethnic armed groups attended as observers, also Chinese envoy and UNSG’s Special Adviser for Myanmar. KIO committed to strive to end armed clashes, and reached agreement with army on implementing ceasefire monitoring arrangements and other issues. KIO also expressed support for President’s idea for conference to sign Nationwide Ceasefire Accord with all armed group leaders, possibly in Nov/Dec. Would mean country in peace for first time in 65 years, enshrine govt commitment to next political steps, timeframe. KIO also convened meeting of ethnic armed group leaders at its HQ 30 Oct-1 Nov for discussions ahead of nationwide ceasefire meeting; leaders of Wa armed group, country’s largest, did not attend. Govt 8 Oct released 56 political prisoners, most charged with contacts with ethnic armed groups. Fresh anti-Muslim violence in Thandwe in Rakhine State early Oct, with attacks on Kaman Muslim minority villages; 7 killed, scores of houses burned down; 78 arrested for role in violence, which coincided with visit by President Thein Sein to area. Series of bomb blasts 11-14 Oct, killing policeman and one other person in Taungoo 11 Oct, and injuring several including in upscale Traders Hotel in Yangon. Several small IEDs also found in various locations. No claim of responsibility; several arrested including suspect in Traders Hotel bombing. Thein Sein 8-10 Oct attended ASEAN Summit, ahead of Myanmar’s chairmanship of grouping in 2014.

Myanmar

  |  1 Oct 2013

Unchanged

United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) ethnic umbrella group met with govt negotiators early-month, afterwards expressed doubts about govt’s proposed nationwide ceasefire signing next month, but unclear how much influence group will have over its members. Over 50 organisations attended “trust-building” conference with govt officials in Shan state capital Taunggyi 21-23 Sept; delegates called for improved ethnic rights, govt official pledged to move ahead with political negotiations early 2014. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) 17 Sept said constitutional changes needed to resolve ethnic grievances. Following Aug visit UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar acknowledged progress on several fronts but said critical challenges remained. UNSG’s Special Adviser on Myanmar also visited late-Aug, was granted permission to visit Kachin Independence Organisation’s HQ at Laiza for first time. President Thein Sein 9 Sept named representative of largest Shan political opposition party as Deputy Minister for Hotels and Tourism, 2nd opposition legislator to be appointed by president as a deputy minister. Armed police 29 Sept dispersed Buddhist mob in Thandwe town, Rakhine state; mob torched houses, no injuries reported. U.S. Sec Defence 28 Aug met Myanmar counterpart on sidelines of defence meeting in Brunei, first meeting between countries’ defence chiefs. ASSK completed 3-country European tour 17 Sept.

Myanmar

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) ethnic umbrella group 29 July held conference in Thailand to discuss political demands, 2 Aug issued statement calling for complete rewriting of 2008 constitution and fully federal system including with regard to armed forces, with Burman majority being given single state on par with seven main ethnic groups. Some ethnic leaders and govt-linked Myanmar Peace Centre called demands unrealistic. All Burma Students Democratic Front armed group, made up of mostly Burman students who fled cities for ethnic areas to take up arms against govt following failed 1988 uprising, signed ceasefire with govt 5 Aug, shortly before symbolic 25th anniversary of uprising, in which govt delegation participated for first time. Buddhist monks and lay people 6 Aug demonstrated against perceived “attacks on Buddhism” in Myanmar in the international media, bombing of Buddhist site in India and bombing in Indonesia. Buddhist mob attacked Muslim homes and shops in village in NW 25 Aug, no injuries reported, 12 arrested. Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission visited 22 July for meetings with president and commander-in-chief. U.S. President Obama 8 Aug renewed for another year U.S. ban on import of gemstones from Myanmar, retained when broader sanctions removed Nov 2012. President Thein Sein reshuffled cabinet 25 July, moving 4 ministers to new portfolios, along with several deputy ministers.

Myanmar

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Curfew imposed on Rakhine State’s Thandwe township 30 June after mob violence against Muslim shops and houses; no reported casualties. Over 20 Buddhists imprisoned late-June/early July for role in anti-Muslim violence in March in Meiktila that left dozens dead, mostly Muslims, and Muslim quarters of town destroyed. Some monks and civil society leaders circulating petition expressing support for law restricting interfaith marriage, has gained considerable public support. 5 people injured in explosion near sermon being given by radical monk Wirathu 21 July; Wirathu said bomb planted by Muslim extremists to “silence” him. President Thein Sein 12 July disbanded Nasaka paramilitary border force in northern Rakhine State, implicated in serious rights abuses against area’s Rohingya Muslim population. Govt 12 July signed confidence-building agreement with United Wa State Party ceasefire group aimed at defusing military tensions in southern part of Shan State. President mid-July visited UK and France; during UK visit pledged that committee reviewing cases of last political prisoners would complete work and all political prisoners be released by year-end. Another 73 political prisoners, including Shan rebels and Kachin prisoners of conscience, released 22 July. Govt announced it had signed revised contract increasing its share of profits from Chinese-backed copper mine. Export of Myanmar natural gas to China started late month. India 29 July announced increased military assistance to Myanmar.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Myanmar hosted World Economic Forum for East Asia in Naypyitaw 7-9 June; major multinational companies announced $1bn in investments in Myanmar on sidelines. Speaking to journalists at forum, Aung San Suu Kyi reiterated desire to be president at next elections in 2015; lower house speaker Shwe Mann also expressed presidential ambitions for first time. Head of Shan State Army-South travelled to Naypyitaw mid-June to meet President Thein Sein, only second armed group leader to meet president. Kachin Independence Army (KIA) 23 June reported 21 clashes with govt troops since 30 May agreement between KIA and govt, underlining fragility of truce. UNHCR voiced concern over tensions, violence in Rakhine region following reports that 2 people killed and 6 wounded 27 June when security forces intervened in dispute at camp for Muslims displaced by violence in Rakhine state in 2012. Followed killing of 3 Rohingya Muslim women earlier in month by security forces. In media interview minister of religious affairs defended Buddhist monk Wirathu, leading figure in 969 extremist anti-Muslim movement.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jun 2013

Resolution Opportunity

Govt and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) 30 May agreed 7-point peace pact at talks convened for first time in govt-controlled capital of Kachin state. Deal means that in principle hostilities with all major armed groups in country have stopped. Parties agreed to work on de-escalation, redeployment of troops on both sides, monitoring arrangements, and dialogue to address political issues. Serious clashes erupted in Shan State, with army overrunning Shan State Army-South ceasefire group base on Chinese border 10 May; both sides say they are committed to maintaining ceasefire, but these and previous clashes putting it under strain. Following release of investigation commission report into 2012 violence against Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State, President Thein Sein 6 May urged end to violence, greater tolerance of diversity, committed to implement commission recommendations. However, local Rakhine State govt announced reactivation of 2-child limit for families in Muslim-majority areas of state, prompting local and international condemnation. Buddhist-on-Muslim violence in northern town Lashio 28-29 May, one person reported killed. Govt granted amnesty to 59 political prisoners 23 April, further 23 on 17 May. U.S. extended some sanctions for further year, eased visa restrictions on members of govt. President Thein Sein 20 May visited U.S., met President Obama, in first visit by Myanmar leader since 1966.

Myanmar

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

Deadly intercommunal violence that broke out in March subsided; dozens of people arrested in wake of violence, trials of some have commenced. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter visited early April, met with govt and opposition, called for end to sanctions, expressed concern over violence. EU lifted most sanctions 22 April citing “remarkable process of reform”. Same day BBC aired video allegedly showing images of violence and security forces inability or failure to intervene in March intercommunal violence in Meiktila, and Human Rights Watch published report alleging security forces complicity in what it termed ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in 2012. Intercommunal violence broke out in Oakkan town near Rangoon 30 April, govt reported situation under control, no casualties. Official commission into 2012 Rakhine state clashes 29 April recommended improved humanitarian support for Rohingya IDPs, transparent addressing of their citizenship claims, increased security forces. President Thein Sein visited China 5 April for business summit, met with President Xi Jinping. Aung San Suu Kyi visited Japan, met PM Abe, Myanmar community.

Myanmar

  |  1 Apr 2013

Deteriorated

New outbreak of intercommunal violence in Meiktila town in central Myanmar 20-22 March; at least 40 people killed, hundreds of mainly Muslim buildings destroyed, mainly in attacks by Buddhist mobs; over 12,000 displaced, mostly Muslims. Some speculation that violence pre-planned by extremists. President Thein Sein 22 March imposed state of emergency in Meiktila, deployed military to restore calm. Violence then spread to other towns and villages in following days, no reported fatalities. At latest round of peace talks between govt and Kachin Independence Organization in Chinese border town Ruili 11 March, both sides committed to working towards ceasefire agreement; to resume discussions early April. Situation remains tense, but signs of de-escalating. Legislature 15 March unexpectedly announced formation of constitutional commission comprising representatives from different political parties and outside experts, to review 2008 constitution, identify provisions for possible future amendment. Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK)-led official investigation commission into controversial Letpadaung copper mine project and police response to demonstrations released report 11 March, said police used smoke grenades containing white phosphorous, injuring demonstrators; recommended project not be cancelled. Led to demonstrations by local people against report and ASSK. ASSK’s National League for Democracy 9-10 March held first ever national congress: ASSK re-elected as party chair, most of previous Central Executive Committee also reappointed. President Thein started first official European tour 26 Feb, ahead of April review of EU sanctions; mid-March paid official visits to New Zealand, Australia.

Myanmar

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Peace process with ethnic armed groups received boost with resumption of dialogue between govt and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), brokered by China, and beginning of political phase of process, with opening of political dialogue with United Nationalities Federal Council umbrella group, which includes KIO. KIO 1 Feb issued statement saying they would halt offensive military actions if army did likewise; first time KIO have offered to stop fighting. Two sides met 4 Feb for negotiations, issued joint statement agreeing to ease tensions, hold further peace talks. Aung San Suu Kyi offered to mediate talks, rejected by KIO. Govt and United Nationalities Federal Council met 20 Feb, discussed political objectives, framework for political dialogue, timeframe. No significant clashes reported during month. Govt 24 Jan indicated former telecommunication minister and several senior officials under investigation for corruption. President 5 Feb appointed member of opposition National Democratic Force to deputy minister post, first non-USDP cabinet member. President’s office 7 Feb announced formation of committee to “grant liberty to remaining political prisoners”. Group of Myanmar lawyers and international rights group 14 Feb issued results of investigation into injuries sustained by protesters, including monks, when security forces broke up protests at Letpadaung copper mine.

Myanmar

  |  1 Feb 2013

Deteriorated

Fighting between govt and Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) in Kachin state escalated, with violence reportedly displacing thousands. Govt forces used attack helicopters, fighter jets and artillery fire against KIO during month. KIO HQ in Laiza town on Chinese border shelled repeatedly; several shells landed in China, prompting official complaint. KIO reported 3 civilians killed in Laiza in shelling 14 Jan, 2 killed in explosion 22 Jan. Following capture of several KIO outposts, authorities 18 Jan announced unilateral ceasefire around Laiza; ceasefire broken as govt troops 20 Jan attacked KIO base on Hka Ya hilltop near town. Army 26 Jan captured Hka Ya 3km from Laiza. Govt forces late Jan said Kachin rebels set fire to shops in Hpakant; KIO claimed govt forces torched houses in village near Laiza. Month ended with reports govt and Kachin rebels agreed on new round of peace talks. President Thein Sein 5 Jan met new Karen National Union leadership in Naypyitaw. Govt 29 Jan lifted ban on public gatherings. Govt 19-20 Jan convened first Myanmar Development Cooperation Forum aiming to enhance donor-govt cooperation.

Myanmar

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Govt mid-Dec suggested further round of peace talks with Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) early Jan. However, fighting in Kachin state in north continued; heavy clashes 9-10 Dec in Pangwa, Lajayang regions. Myanmar army 28 Dec launched heavy attacks on base near KIO headquarters reportedly using attack helicopters and fighter jets, a potentially serious escalation. President Thein Sein 1 Dec appointed commission headed by Aung San Suu Kyi to investigate 29 Nov violent crackdown by security forces on protesters at Letpadaung copper mine in NW. Amid ongoing protests, govt 15 Dec apologised for injuring monks. Visiting UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos 7 Dec urged aid for Kachin IDPs in rebel-controlled areas, increased assistance for Rakhine IDP camps and better security for humanitarian workers in Rakhine State, where tensions still high. UN envoy Vijay Nambiar visited Rakhine State 16-20 Dec. UNGA 24 Dec expressed concern over Rakhine State violence, urged govt to improve situation of Rohingya Muslims. Following agreement with govt, ICRC 11 Dec announced it will resume detention visits to prisons, blocked since 2005. Following Jan 2012 ceasefire, Chin National Front armed group 9 Dec reached 27-point follow-up agreement with govt in Naypyitaw. Karen National Union (KNU) annual congress ended with election of Gen Mutu Say Poe as KNU chair, Kwe Htoo Win as general-secretary, Gen Saw Johnny as commander-in-chief of Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA); expected to take pragmatic approach to ongoing peace talks with govt. In speech to cabinet 26 Dec President announced “third phase of reform” aimed at tackling govt corruption.

Myanmar

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Following renewed outbreak of conflict in Rakhine State late Oct, President Thein Sein 16 Nov held joint meeting with Buddhist and Muslim leaders to call for calm; sent letter to UNSG Ban pledging to address contentious issues, 20 Nov requested Indonesia’s help to resolve violence. Aung San Suu Kyi 7 Nov issued joint statement with ethnic minority parties calling on govt to deploy more troops in Rakhine State and address their concerns; 15 Nov blamed Myanmar govt and Bangladesh for Rohingya humanitarian crisis, said statelessness of Rohingya Muslims must be examined. Authorities early-month reportedly started operation to verify citizenship of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. Court 21 Nov sentenced religious leader Dr Htun Aung to 12 years in jail for role in Rakhine State violence. U.S. president Obama visited country 19 Nov, first ever visit by sitting U.S. president; country also hosted PMs of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, plus EU president Barroso. Thein Sein 2 Nov signed into law new foreign investment law. Ahead of Obama’s visit, govt announced release of over 500 prisoners, including 66 alleged political prisoners. Deadly clashes continued between govt and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Hpakant jade mining area of Kachin State. Govt-KIA fighting reignited early-Nov in N Shan State; 8 soldiers reportedly killed. Thousands gathered at Monywa copper mine in NW 19-20 Nov to resume protests against seizure of land by company jointly owned by Myanmar military conglomerate and Chinese company; dozens of monks and protesters injured in violent crackdown by security forces 29 Nov.

Myanmar

  |  1 Nov 2012

Deteriorated

Renewed violence broke out involving Muslim and Buddhist communities in Rakhine State 21 Oct; official figures report death toll from latest outbreak of inter-communal tensions, mostly involving Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine, to be at least 89, with 136 injured, 5,351 houses torched; more than 30,000 officially displaced. Authorities 24 Oct imposed curfew in at least 2 towns, President Thein Sein 25 Oct ordered more security forces. Govt 30 Oct rejected ASEAN proposal to hold tripartite talks with UN to contain Rakhine violence. Thousands of protesters gathered 30 Oct in Ramree Island to demand extra security measures, separation of Muslims from Buddhist neighbourhoods; 1 killed after police allegedly fired on demonstrators. Hundreds of monks early Oct protested in Yangon and Sittwe against anti-Buddhist unrest in Rakhine State and Bangladesh. Thein Sein 15 Oct withdrew permission for Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to open liaison office in Yangon following Buddhist demonstrations. Deadly clashes continued between govt and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in Hpakant jade mining area of Kachin State. Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), govt representatives met 30 Oct on Sino-Myanmar border for latest round of peace talks; KIO sent low-level delegation. Tensions within Karen National Union (KNU) as group 3 Oct sacked 3 senior members; reinstated them 29 Oct (one posthumously). Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) 8 Oct declared National League for Democracy’s intention to try to amend constitution to allow her to run for president in 2015; Thein Sein said will accept her as president if elected. U.S. President Obama 5 Oct signed bill lifting restrictions on international financial institutions lending to Myanmar. U.S. delegation including high-ranking military visited mid-Oct for rights dialogue with leadership, military; senior U.S. official said country on “right track” ending military ties with DPRK.

Myanmar

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) 16 Sept visited U.S. for first time since her release; President Thein Sein 24 Sept made first U.S. visit. U.S. 19 Sept removed Thein Sein and lower house speaker Shwe Mann from sanctions list, 26 Sept announced easing of ban on imports from Myanmar; EU 17 Sept announced plans to lift trade barriers. Parliament 7 Sept approved 11 new ministers, auditor-general following early Sept cabinet reshuffle. Constitution Tribunal judges 6 Sept resigned after parliament voted to impeach them for incompetence. Govt 17 Sept announced release of 514 prisoners, including 88 political prisoners. Organisation of Islamic Cooperation delegation toured Rakhine State, 12 Sept signed agreement with govt to provide aid. In Kachin state clashes between govt troops, Kachin Independence Army (KIA) continued; Kachin National Organisation (KNO) 23 Sept urged UN “direct action” in open letter to UNSG Ban. 5,000 gathered 5-6 Sept at Monywa copper mine in NW to protest seizure of land by company; mine jointly owned by Myanmar military conglomerate and Chinese company.

Myanmar

  |  1 Sep 2012

Unchanged

Renewed clashes in Rakhine State between Rohingya Muslim, Rakhine Buddhist communities killed at least 13. President Thein Sein 10 Aug invited Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to investigate violence toward Rohingya Muslims, 17 Aug announced commission to examine situation, move welcomed by UNSG Ban. Court 24 Aug convicted 3 UN local staff for alleged involvement in June Rakhine State violence, all later pardoned. 6,000 reported displaced late Aug fleeing govt-Kachin Independence Army clashes near Hpakant Township. Navy chief Nyan Tun sworn in 15 Aug as VP; no official explanation given for withdrawal of Myint Swe’s candidature, unofficial reports say it relates to child’s foreign citizenship; Thein Sein 27 Aug announced first stage of significant cabinet reshuffle. Govt 20 Aug announced end to “pre-publication” press censorship, content restrictions remain; 28 Aug announced removal of 2,082 names from immigration blacklist. Govt 8 Aug permitted rallies commemorating anniversary of 1988 pro-democracy protests that were violently suppressed by govt. Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK), Thein Sein met 12, 22 Aug; parliament 7 Aug appointed ASSK chairperson of Rule of Law and Stability Committee. First meeting of new central peace committee held 12 Aug; govt 26 Aug signed ceasefire agreement with Pa-O National Liberation Organization rebel group.

Myanmar

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

Resignation of VP Tin Aung Myint Oo 4 July officially announced; retired general Myint Swe nominated 10 July as replacement, but not confirmed due to possible constitutional issues. President Thein Sein 11 July claimed military no longer involved in policy-formation, 18 July discussed govt policies with opposition Group of Friends of Democracy Parties leaders. During Cambodia visit, Thein Sein 13 July met U.S. Sec of State Clinton, discussed ending economic isolation following 11 July announcement of end to U.S. investment ban; sanctions easing condemned by rights groups. UNHCR head Guterres 12 July met with Thein Sein, rejected proposal to resettle some Rohingyas in UNHCR camps or third country to resolve ethnic tensions. UN Special Rapporteur Quintana 30 July–1 Aug visited Rakhine state to investigate June ethnic violence. Sword-wielding mob 25 July murdered NLD member in Magwe; 2 arrested, 1 allegedly USDP member. Authorities 6-7 July reportedly detained 23 political activists prior to 50th anniversary commemorations of military crackdown on students, all later released. Thein Sein 3 July authorised release of 20 political prisoners. Censorship board 31 July indefinitely suspended 2 journals for violating media restrictions.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged Risk Alert

Ethnic tensions flared in Rakhine State, following late May rape, murder of Buddhist woman; revenge attack 3 June killed 10 Rohingya Muslims, followed by rioting, killing of at least 60 Buddhists, Muslims; UN estimated 90,000 displaced; govt 10 June declared state of emergency; U.S. embassy 19 June praised measured govt response to violence. Govt, Kachin Independence Army held two more rounds of informal talks 1, 20 June as fighting continued; govt 21 June overruled law banning Kachin Independence Organisation. Govt troops 16 June set alight Shan State Army-South base; rebel leaders said attack threatened May peace agreement. President Thein Sein 19 June announced “second wave of reforms” focusing on economic liberalisation. Press Scrutiny and Registration Department head Tint Swe late May announced end to media censorship from end June. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi met govt leaders across Europe during 14-25 June visit. Swiss govt 14 June announced ending of sanctions except arms embargo.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

VP Tin Aung Myint Oo 3 May reportedly resigned on health grounds, govt yet to officially confirm. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 2 May debuted in parliament, given passport for first time in 24 years ahead of May, June travel to Thailand, UK, Ireland, Norway, Switzerland. At least 31 killed early May in govt clashes with Kachin Independence Army (KIA); KIA rebels 15 May appealed to UNSG for UN observers to monitor conflict zone. President Thein Sein 3 May named as chairman of new peace team to negotiate with armed groups. Govt, Shan State Army rebels 19 May agreed to enforce ceasefire, eradicate drug production in area; armed clashes occurred 23 May. Rare protests in Yangon, Mandalay, other cities late May over electricity shortages, govt appealed for understanding. G8 leaders 19 May praised ongoing political reforms. U.S. Secretary of State Clinton 17 May announced easing of investment ban, named new ambassador, called for release of remaining political prisoners. Following first official visit for 9 years, Amnesty International report released 24 May noted major human rights improvements in past year, but expressed concern over continued violations. During 14 May visit by South Korean President Lee, President Thein Sein pledged to abide by UNSC resolutions on DPRK’s nuclear program, halt weapons purchases from DPRK. MPs 10 May visited European Parliament, met with European Council President van Rompuy, EU High Representative Ashton.

Myanmar

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD opposition party, won 43 of 45 available seats in 1 April by-elections; NLD temporarily boycotted resumption of parliament in dispute over language in swearing-in oath. During 3 day visit UNSG Ban 30 April addressed parliament, praised reforms. Diplomatic visits continued throughout month including by UK PM Cameron, Italian FM Terzi, EU High Representative Ashton. Western govts announced easing of sanctions, arms embargoes to remain; Karen National Union (KNU) 8 April cautioned against lifting sanctions too quickly. Japanese govt pledged to cancel $3.72bn debt, resume aid, loans during President Thein Sein’s 20-25 April Tokyo visit. KNU, govt 6 April signed 13-point agreement on peace process; KNU 7 April met with Thein Sein, 8 April with Suu Kyi; no progress on Kachin Independence Organisation talks, Thein Sein 30 April named new negotiating team; armed clashes continued.

Myanmar

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

As campaigning for 1 April parliamentary by-elections intensified, U.S., EU, Canada, Japan and Australia agreed to send observers following invitation by President Thein Sein. Govt 7 March agreed to ceasefire with Karenni National Progressive Party armed group, 8-9 March held inconclusive peace talks with Kachin Independence Army amid ongoing but reduced armed clashes. Phado Man Nyein Maung, senior rebel Karen National Union political figure, jailed 13 March for treason; pardoned 19 March to enable his participation in peace talks. President Thein Sein 1 March gave major speech to legislature, signalled strong commitment to democratic reforms. Foreign dignitaries visited throughout month including Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully; U.S. Special Envoy for Myanmar Derek Mitchell.

Myanmar

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Govt 20 Feb lifted restrictions on election campaigning that prevented 3 planned National League for Democracy 14 Feb rallies after party publicly complained it was being denied use of venues. EU development commissioner Andris Piebalgs visited 12-14 Feb, announced €150mn in new aid over 2 years. Govt 21 Feb promised to “seriously consider” allowing Southeast Asian observers for 1 April by-elections. Burma Civil society delegation of political activists met U.S. Sec State Clinton 8 Feb during historic visit to U.S., discussed political prisoners, women’s rights, ethnic minorities with U.S. officials.

Myanmar

  |  1 Feb 2012

Improved

Significant progress in reform process as govt 12 Jan signed first ceasefire with main Karen rebel group, ending over 60 years of conflict; 13 Jan released 651 prisoners under new presidential pardon, some 300 political prisoners freed including most prominent political dissidents. Release followed 2 Jan amnesty for 900 mostly non-political prisoners. Amid continuing clashes in Kachin State, govt 18 Jan held inconclusive talks with Kachin Independence Army near Chinese border. Following prisoner release U.S. announced restoration of full diplomatic ties, exchange of ambassadors. EU 23 Jan agreed to suspend visa bans on leading politicians on basis of “remarkable” political reform; Australia 9 Jan announced easing of sanctions, removed some individuals from asset freeze list. Diplomatic visits included UK and French FMs, U.S. policy coordinator Derek Mitchell and U.S. envoy on human trafficking. Election Commission 30 Dec announced by-elections to be held 1 Apr; Aung San Suu Kyi 18 Jan submitted application to contest seat, 29 Jan started campaign tour.

Myanmar

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

Milestone visit by U.S. Sec State Clinton 30 Nov-2 Dec signaled U.S. ready to begin process of normalising relations; Clinton announced modest policy changes including inviting FM to Washington, U.S. support for multilateral assistance. Thai PM Yingluck 20 Dec offered support to Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) for upcoming by-elections during historic meeting in Yangon. Other diplomatic visits included Belarus and Bangladesh PMs, Japan, Indonesian and Singapore FMs. President Thein Sein 3 Dec signed law allowing peaceful demonstrations. Govt also announced magazines covering economic, business affairs no longer need to be submitted for censor approval. Political activists held event at Yangon monastery marking 20th anniversary of ASSK’s Nobel Peace Prize. Govt 2 Dec signed ceasefire agreement with Shan State Army (South). Thein Sein 10 Dec ordered military halt offensive actions, troop movements in Kachin State, granted UN humanitarian access to conflict areas in Kachin. Hostilities reported in northern Shan state between army and Kachin Independence Army. Following visit to Kachin Myanmar National Human Rights Commission made recommendations including increased assistance to IDPs. Authorities 16 Dec jailed Karen rebel leader Mahn Nyein Maung for 17 years for “unlawful association”.



Myanmar

  |  1 Dec 2011

Improved

Major political development marked by return of Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) to political process, decision by ASSK and other NLD leaders to contest seats in upcoming by-elections; 18 Nov confirmation that Myanmar to chair ASEAN in 2014 also reflection of positive changes in recent months, amid hopes it will drive further reform. Flurry of diplomatic visits to Myanmar, including U.S. Myanmar envoy Derek Mitchell in 3rd visit 2-4 Nov, UN Special Envoy Vijay Nambiar, Norwegian and UK development ministers, German Deputy FM. U.S. Sec State Clinton commenced visit to Myanmar 30 Nov, first such visit for over 50 years; UNSG Ban announced intention to visit as soon as possible. Chinese VP Xi Jinping 28 Nov called for increased military ties. President Thein Sein 4 Nov signed amendments to political party registration law, addressing concerns of opposition NLD. NLD 18 Nov announced intention to register as legal political party, submitted application 25 Nov. Parliament 24 Nov passed bill allowing peaceful protests. Situation surrounding ethnic conflict remains tense, however some progress in president’s peace initiative. Karen armed group Kloh Htoo Baw 3 Nov announced it had signed ceasefire with govt. Series of meetings in Thailand between presidential envoy and several armed groups; Shan State Army-South 19 Nov said agreement on ceasefire reached, said envoy conveyed commitment to holding national conference on political solutions to ethnic divisions. Some other armed groups agreed to sign ceasefires in near future. Fighting continued in Kachin areas between KIO, govt forces. KIO delegation met with presidential envoy, held further talks in China 29 Nov.

Myanmar

  |  1 Nov 2011

Unchanged

Authorities 12 Oct released more than 6,000 prisoners, including 200-300 political prisoners, in 2nd such release since new govt took office; indicated more to follow. Aung San Suu Kyi’s (ASSK) NLD said all political prisoners should have been freed. ASSK 28 Oct met with govt liaison minister Aung Kyi for 4th time in recent months; along with other NLD leaders has indicated willingness to consider registering party to contest upcoming by-elections conditional on changes to political party law, currently being discussed in legislature. Govt 10 Oct enacted new labour law granting workers right to form trade unions and strike, ending 50 years of restrictions on freedom of association. During late-Oct visit U.S. Special Rep for Burma Derek Mitchell met senior officials, ASSK. Thai PM Yingluck made first visit to Myanmar 5 Oct. President Thein Sein mid-Oct visited India, countries agreed to expand trade, co-operation in oil and gas exploration, India pledged $500mn credit for infrastructure projects. Fighting escalated mid-Oct in parts of Kachin State, resulting in casualties on both sides, further displacement; also reports of rights abuses.

Myanmar

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

Continued signs of improvements in political freedoms, human rights, economic reforms, reflected in positive political developments, increased international engagement. Govt 5 Sept formed National Human Rights Commission, made up mainly of retired govt officials, former diplomats, including some members from ethnic, religious minorities. Myanmar journal 5 Sept published uncensored article by Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK), first to be published domestically for 23 years. ASSK 15 Sept told supporters she believes “now is a situation where changes are likely to take place”. Authorities removed blocks on international news websites. President Thein Sein 30 Sept announced suspension of controversial hydroelectric dam construction in Kachin state. Newly-confirmed U.S. Special Representative for Burma Derek Mitchell 9-14 Sept visited Myanmar, met ministers, house speakers, ASSK and other opposition members, civil society. FM Wunna Maung Lwin 29 Sept held talks in Washington with senior U.S. officials. Following 2-day visit EU aid chief Kristalina Georgieva indicated she had obtained commitments on improving humanitarian access. Government 8 Sept signed preliminary peace agreements with Wa and Mongla armed groups. Situation in other ethnic areas remained tense; renewed clashes 23 Sept between govt troops and Kachin Independence Army in northern Shan State.

Myanmar

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged

Continued signs of improving relationship between govt and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK): ASSK 19 Aug for first time met new President Thein Sein, said “happy and satisfied” with meeting; 14 Aug visited Bago in first political trip since 2010 release from house arrest. During late-month visit UN rights envoy 24 Aug met ASSK, 25 Aug urged govt to release all political prisoners. Lower house of parliament 26 Aug called for general amnesty for such prisoners. Thein Sein continued economic, small-scale political reforms, but yet to address release of political prisoners. Govt 18 Aug offered peace talks with all ethnic rebel groups through respective local executives; negotiations ongoing with Kachin Independence Organisation. Local Shan NGOs 10 Aug reported some 30,000 displaced by clashes in NE since March, alleged rape, abuses by army. State media 5 Aug claimed ethnic Kachin rebels killed 7 Chinese workers in Moemauk; rebels claimed those killed were soldiers.

Myanmar

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

Clashes between Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and army lessened during month, but tensions remained high: KIA refused to sign new ceasefire agreement unless accompanied by political dialogue. KIA 15 July released documents allegedly proving atrocities against KIA, Kachin civilians by army over past decade. Army 19 July reportedly launched attacks against Shan State Army North, former ceasefire group.  Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK) 28 July called on govt to implement ceasefire, open peace talks with ethnic groups. President Thein Sein during month implemented package of socio-economic reforms, including reducing export tariffs, increasing pensions. ASSK  3 July made “private” visit to Bagan, first trip outside Yangon since Nov 2010 release from house arrest. ASSK 25 July met Labour Minister Aung Kyi, first meeting with official from new govt; Aung Kyi said meeting “first step” to future dialogue.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jul 2011

Deteriorated

Worst clashes in country since 2009 as govt and Kachin ceasefire group fought from mid-month, with serious chance of escalation. Clashes erupted after Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO) rejected govt 11 June deadline to withdraw from strategic base near hydroelectric dams under construction by Chinese firms, followed army’s 9 June alleged torture and execution of KIO official. Fighting later spread to Kachin areas of Shan state; rights groups reported at least 20 killed, tens of thousands displaced. 4 bombs 24 June exploded in Naypyitaw, Mandalay, Pyinoolwin cities, wounding 2; state media accused 3 ethnic Shans. 3 wounded in 11 June Naypyitaw market bomb blast, perpetrators unknown. Govt 11 June eased strict censorship of some media publications, but not news titles. Indian FM Krishna visited Myanmar 20 June, first visit by Indian official since new govt took office.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Govt 16 May announced 1-year cut from all prison terms: some 14,600 released, but only 47 political prisoners; rights groups criticised as too limited. Govt 6 May made formal request to chair ASEAN in 2014, ASEAN yet to confirm; rights groups urged against. Following mid-month visit, UNSG Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar said “encouraging signs” from new govt, but urged it to implement its promises of development, limiting corruption. 2 killed in 18 May train bombing outside Naypyidaw; police blamed Karen National Union militants. Sporadic clashes between ethnic armies and govt troops continued in Karen and southern Shan states; hundreds displaced.

Myanmar

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

Govt 31 March confirmed ex-ruler Than Shwe had relinquished all formal power during 30 March transition to nominally civilian govt, but unclear what extent of Than Shwe’s future influence will be. In 30 March inaugural speech, new President Thein Sein set out govt’s policy for coming terms, called for cooperation with “good-hearted” elements of opposition; said will work to end high-level corruption in govt. Jia Qinglin, fourth highest-ranking Chinese govt official, visited Myanmar 5 Apr. EU 12 Apr renewed Myanmar sanctions, but suspended visa ban on FM, civilian members of new govt, to encourage dialogue. U.S. President Obama 15 Apr appointed Pentagon official Derek Mitchell as first ever Myanmar special envoy, subject to Senate confirmation; opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed nomination.

Myanmar

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Junta, or State Peace and Development Council, officially disbanded 30 March as it handed over power to new govt and President Thein Sein; new govt, parliament nominally civilian but overwhelmingly dominated by junta proxy party USDP. Main parliamentary opposition parties 11 March called on EU to lift all sanctions, comes in context of annual EU review of Myanmar policy. NLD, banned party of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, had supported continuation of sanctions, and on 27 March called for “urgent dialogue” with junta. Junta during month for first time made state budget publically available: 19.5% of budget spent on military, lower than previous estimates;  NLD 4 March criticised new “Special Funds Law” allowing army chief to spend state money without parliamentary oversight.

Myanmar

  |  1 Mar 2011

Unchanged

Parliament 4 Feb elected ex-PM Thein Sein new President, 2 high-ranking ex-military officials as VPs; all 3 members of junta proxy party USDP. U.S. State Dept 16 Feb voiced concern for opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s safety after threats against her published in state media for her support of sanctions. Suu Kyi’s NLD party 7 Feb called on West to maintain sanctions .

Myanmar

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

New parliament convened 31 Jan, will elect new govt over coming weeks; MPs 1 Feb said junta leader Than Shwe not among presidential candidates, suggesting he will no longer be country’s official ruler. Junta 21 Jan named 388 officers to fill 25% of seats allocated to military in upper and lower house and regional, state parliaments. ASEAN FMs 16 Jan called for international sanctions on Myanmar to be lifted, followed earlier similar joint request from main ethnic parties; NDF, DP parties echoed call 20 Jan. EU 19 Jan announced internal review of effectiveness of sanctions, economic impact on population. NGO Physicians for Human Rights 19 Jan reported “widespread human rights abuses” by military in Chin state. Clashes between army and DKBA reportedly intensified in Karen state during month. Supreme Court 28 Jan upheld dissolution of Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party.

Myanmar

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

UN human rights expert on Myanmar 13 Dec called on govt to release estimated 2,200 remaining political prisoners; followed 8 Dec death of imprisoned monk, 145th prisoner to die in captivity since 1988. State media 8 Dec reported turnout in Nov election 77%; junta leader Than Shwe 2 Dec hailed widely-criticised election as “successful”, said Burma on course to complete “roadmap to democracy” in 2011. Clashes between army and Karen ceasefire groups continued during month: 1 officer reportedly killed in Phaluu early month; hundreds displaced across border into Thailand.

Myanmar

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest 12 Nov: called for unity among pro-democracy groups, said open to talks with junta, willing to moderate her opposition to sanctions. 7 Nov elections criticised as fraudulent amidst widespread reports of manipulation, including advance voting, intimidation, fraud during count. Junta proxy party USDP won 80% of seats in Upper and Lower Houses, but claimed marginally less votes in ethnic regions than in heartland. Junta 26 Nov introduced laws restricting free speech and banning protest in parliament. 3 killed in 8 Nov post-election clashes between army and Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) around Mywaddy town; more than 20,000 fled across Thai border, but most returned within days. Further 1,000 displaced after renewed fighting 29 Nov.

  • Comment by Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt (Crisis Group), “Forget About the Sham Burmese Elections”, Foreign Policy, 5 Nov. 2010.
  • “Suu Kyi softens stand on sanctions” , Al Jazeera, 14 Nov. 2010.
  • For latest report, see Crisis Group Asia Briefing N°112, China’s Myanmar Strategy: Elections, Ethnic Politics and Economics, 21 Sept. 2010.

Myanmar

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

Junta 18 Oct said foreign journalists, observers will be banned from monitoring 7 Nov elections. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi 5 Oct sued junta before Supreme Court over its dissolution of NLD party ahead of elections. Suu Kyi 13 Oct said she will not vote in elections. UN human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana 21 Oct called election process “deeply flawed”, urged govt to release some 2,100 political prisoners before vote; UNSG Ban urged junta to free Suu Kyi ahead of polls, said junta’s refusal to cooperate with international community “deeply frustrating”. USDP, proxy party for junta, widely criticised for breaching campaign laws, including pressuring civil servants for their votes, using state funds for campaigning, intimidating voters. Tensions increased in Kachin State: govt 19 Oct arrested 3 Kachin Independence Army (KIA) members; KIA same day surrounded military camp in north.

Myanmar

  |  1 Oct 2010

Unchanged

State media announced voting in 7 Nov election to be cancelled in 6 out of 1,163 constituencies, all of them in insurgency-plagued ethnic areas in East, including 4 Wa areas, 2 regional legislative seats in Kachin and KIO areas. Move criticised as excluding millions from poll already seen as undemocratic; media also reported decision to refuse to register Kachin independent candidates. State media 14 Sept reported main opposition NLD officially dissolved for failing to register on time; 9 other parties also banned. Junta 30 Sept announced will release NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi 13 Nov. Junta leader Than Shwe met with Chinese President Hu Jintao 8 Sept during state visit to China.

Myanmar

  |  1 Sep 2010

Unchanged

Govt 13 Aug set 7 Nov date for general election. At least 12 senior junta officials stepped down 28 Aug to stand in elections; unclear if junta no.3 Thura Shwe Mann among them, but state media 31 Aug denied reports that junta leader Than Shwe had left post. Govt-run Election Commission 19 Aug announced stringent poll restrictions: candidates must seek permission to campaign 1 week in advance; speeches that “tarnish” military rule forbidden. Pro-democracy UDP party head Phyo Min Thein resigned 5 Aug, said election rules too biased towards junta. UWSA, largest armed ethnic group, 2 Aug said it will ban any “election activities” in areas under its control in northeast. U.S. 18 Aug said will back creation of UN-led commission to investigate war crimes by junta. 2 killed in 6 Aug blast in Myawaddy, Karen militants suspected.

Myanmar

  |  1 Aug 2010

Unchanged

National Democratic Front (NDF), splinter group from officially disbanded opposition NLD, 9 July received govt permission to form new party; NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi criticised NDF’s decision to take part in upcoming election, including use of NLD straw hat symbol for campaigning. ASEAN FMs 20 July applied strong pressure on Myanmar to hold “free, fair and inclusive” elections. Influential govt-controlled social organisation USDA disbanded 6 July, transferred its assets to army’s political party USDP; rights groups highly critical. U.S. Senate 22 July voted to extend by 1 year ban on imports from Myanmar. Win Htein, former aide to Suu Kyi, released from prison 15 July after completing 14-year sentence. India, Myanmar signed new security pact 27 July following 4-day official visit to India of junta leader Than Shwe.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jul 2010

Unchanged

Election preparations continued despite no announcement of date; election commission issued directive banning marching and chanting during rallies. Reports several registered political parties unable to afford campaign materials seeking allies to meet election costs. U.S. Asst Sec State Schwartz 10 June expressed concern upcoming polls would change little for refugees in camps along Thai border. U.S. Senator Webb 3 June cancelled planned visit after early month reports govt working with N Korea to develop nuclear program; govt 11 June rejected reports as “politically motivated”. Karen National Liberation Army 10 June claimed it had killed at least 12 govt soldiers in Karen state. NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi 19 June celebrated 65th birthday under house arrest.

Myanmar

  |  1 Jun 2010

Unchanged

Opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) officially disbanded 6 May after March decision to boycott polls set for later this year over restrictive electoral laws. Several cabinet ministers resigned from military during month in preparation for elections; PM Thein Sein launched campaign 20 May after late Apr registering new Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). U.S. Asst Sec State Campbell 10 May met govt officials and opposition including Aung San Suu Kyi; expressed “profound disappointment” about election preparations; U.S. 14 May extended sanctions. Police chief 5 May announced arrest of suspect linked to Apr Rangoon bomb blasts; said 4 members of Vigorous Burmese Student Warriors involved.

Myanmar

  |  1 May 2010

Unchanged

10 reported killed, 94 wounded in 3 Rangoon bomb blasts during 15 Apr New Year celebrations raising fears of election violence; no claims of responsibility. Followed by series of blasts at controversial hydropower project in north 17 Apr; unconfirmed reports 4 workers killed. 1 reported killed in 28 Apr blast in Kayah state. Detained opposition NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi 7 Apr said she was pleased with party’s March decision to boycott elections; poll date not yet set. PM Thein Sein, some 20 other junta figures 26 Apr resigned from army in order to contest election as civilians, 29 Apr applied to register new party with electoral commission.

Myanmar

  |  1 Apr 2010

Unchanged

Opposition NLD 29 March voted to boycott elections planned for late 2010 after junta 8 March passed new electoral laws; laws formally annulled NLD’s 1990 election win, banned anyone with criminal convictions from belonging to political party (barring opposition NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners from politics), gave NLD 7 May deadline to register or face dissolution. Suu Kyi 23 March said she was personally against participation in polls. U.S. Asst Sec State Campbell called laws “a setback”. UNSG Ban 10 March said laws fail to meet “expectations” for inclusive poll. Democracy activist Nyi Nyi Aung, imprisoned Feb, released and deported 18 March. UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana 5 March reported on “systematic” human rights violations. Continued reports of army build up in ethnic border regions increased fears of election-related violence. 20 soldiers reportedly killed 19 March by ethnic rebels in Shan state. 

Myanmar

  |  1 Mar 2010

Unchanged

Following 15-19 Feb visit, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana said human rights situation remained serious; Quintana denied access to opposition NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi during visit. NLD deputy leader U Tin Oo released 14 Feb after nearly 7 years in prison and house arrest. NLD 10 Feb said Suu Kyi had not yet decided whether party would participate in elections scheduled for this year; junta leader Than Shwe 12 Feb insisted elections would take place “soon”; some analysts expect late 2010. Supreme Court 26 Feb rejected Suu Kyi’s latest appeal against her extended house arrest. Democracy campaigner and U.S. citizen Nyi Nyi Aung sentenced to 5 years prison 10 Feb on charges including carrying false identity card; U.S. embassy urged release, saying charges “politically motivated”. Thai govt 8 Feb suspended planned return of 1,700 Karen refugees to Myanmar amid international concern for their safety.

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CrisisWatch N°128

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