An Independent Survey of Events in Myanmar
As foreshadowed last September, the Network Myanmar website has now been archived as the Myanmar Parliament goes into recess for the Thingyan Water Festival and New Year Holiday (11 to 20 April 2016). The website will however remain live in its present form for several weeks while longer-term arrangements are made for its preservation online and/or in digital form as a research resource for general use and as a record of events relating to Myanmar's First Parliament of the 21st Century, whose term was from 30 March 2011 to 30 March 2016.
Despite the euphoria of yesterday's historic handover, the reality is that President U Htin Kyaw's administration takes office at a time when the country is facing a range of economic, political, and social challenges. The Myanmar Times has surveyed 10 of the most significant hurdles the new government will face as it seeks to achieve its policy pledges and meet the high expectations of the voters who put it in power.
- Suu Kyi raises the stakes in Myanmar with 'Plan B': Gwen Robinson - Nikkei Asian Review
- 'The Lady' tests the limits: David I Steinberg - Nikkei Asian Review
- Burma votes for change: Min Zin - Journal of Democracy
- Myanmar parliament preserves old patterns: Renaud Egreteau - Nikkei Asian Review
- A brighter dawn in Burma: Doug Bandow - Forbes
- Who shall we give honour to for the successful transition? Sithu Aung Myint - Mizzima
- The tyranny of elections and dynamics of peace: Ashley South - Nikkei Asian Review
- The challenges ahead: Igor Blazevic - Journal of Democracy
ASEAN to test Myanmar's new Foreign Minister: Kavi Chongkittavorn - Nikkei Asian Review
- Five challenges facing Burma's new civilian government: Simon Lewis - TIME
- Lex Rieffel: Aung San Suu Kyi's new government. What to look for in Myanmar - Brookings Institute
- The Burma Road: A long and painful journey awaits Myanmar's new government - The Economist
Visit of Chinese Foreign Minister
- China pledges support for new Myanmar Government - Myanmar Times
- China to jointly safeguard peace in border areas - Xin Hua
- China seeks 'new chapter' in first visit with Suu Kyi - Bloomberg
- China confident business spats with Myanmar can be resolved - SCMP
- Sino-Myanmar relations remain unchanged - Global NLM
- Chinese FM vows to further cement ties with Myanmar - Xin Hua
- China first through the door to meet Daw Suu - Myanmar Times
- China firm wins approval for US$ 3 billion refinery - DVB
- Notification No. 1/2016 - Formation of Union Government
- Notification No. 2/2016 - Formation of National Defence and Security Council
- Notification No. 3/2016 - Formation of Constitutional Tribunal of the Union
- Notification No. 4/2016 - Formation of Union Election Commission
- Notification No. 5/2016 - Reformation of Union Government
- Notification No. 6/2016 - Formation of Financial Commission
- Order No. 1/2016 - Chairman of Constitutional Tribunal of the Union
- Order No. 2/2016 - Chairman of Union Election Commission
- Order No. 3/2016 - Union Ministers
- Order No. 4/2016 - Region/State Chief Ministers
- Order No. 5/2016 - Members of Constitutional Tribunal of the Union
- Order No. 6/2016 - Members of the Union Election Commission
- Order No. 7/2016 - Region/State Ethnic Affairs Ministers
- Order No. 8/2016 - Chairman of Nay Pyi Taw Council
- Order No. 9/2016 - Union Ministers
- Order No. 10/2016 - Attorney-General
- Order No. 11/2016 - Auditor-General
- Order No. 12/2016 - Chairman of Union Civil Service Board
Spokespersons for the ethnic armed groups continue to speak the language of ethnic rights and a federal army, while the government talks about reaching material and administrative agreements and the army insists that there can only be one army. These debates echo the past, going back to the formation of Myanmar in the late 1940s.
In order to break the apparently endless debate about federalism, ethnicity, states and divisions in the Union of Myanmar, perhaps a new approach might be considered - taking federalism a step further to the seventy-four district levels of administration. As the ethnically designated armed groups operate in relatively small and localized areas, a solution that squares the circle between ethnicity and territory might have appeal.
The Myanmar people themselves deserve most of the credit for the transition and, like it or not, that includes the armed forces. It may seem a harsh judgement, but examined objectively it is hard to escape the conclusion that Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD are forming a new government this week largely because the generals have allowed them to do so, as part of a long term plan formulated by the former military regime.
Despite 25 years of international action, economic sanctions and other measures designed to isolate and punish Myanmar's military government, it just kept growing stronger. In strategic, political, military and economic terms, it was more powerful in 2011 than at any time since 1988, possibly even since the 1962 military coup. Granted, it was very unpopular and faced serious domestic problems, but when it eventually handed over the reins to Thein Sein the regime was firmly entrenched in power.
There are still die-hard proponents of sanctions, but most governments now acknowledge that, in Myanecomar's case, they had only a marginal effect. They did not change the regime's thinking or policies on a single key issue. Indeed, they made it more resentful of external interference, strengthened its bunker mentality, inhibited the development of civil institutions in Myanmar, and made daily life even harder for its people. Read more.....
Derek Tonkin writes: The myths about sanctions are being slowly debunked. But as you would expect, in the debate on "Burma" in the House of Commons on 23 March 2016 no credit was given to the Tatmadaw by any participant for allowing free and fair elections to be held.
Myanmar's military chief on Sunday pledged to support the country's new civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, but emphasized security concerns that signaled determination to keep the armed forces at the heart of government.
In a speech marking Armed Forces Day, an annual event in Napyitaw, Myanmar's capital, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said that the armed forces would work for the nation's prosperity, but also warned about challenges. "The two main hindrances to democratization are not abiding by the rule of law, and the presence of armed insurgencies. These could lead to a chaotic democracy," he said. His remarks about the rule of law were widely seen as a pointed reference to attempts by Suu Kyi to amend the 2008 constitution.
- 'Here to Stay': Full text of Sn Gen Min Aung Hlaing's speech and photographic reporting - GNLM
- Myanmar military display highlight's Army's continuing power: Wall Street Journal
- Myanmar's military vows to join hands with civilian leaders - Mail Online UK
- Sn Gen Min Aung Hlaing: Lack of 'obedience' could create 'disorderly democracy' - The Irrawaddy
Around 25,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority group have left camps for displaced people in western Myanmar and returned to the communities they fled during sectarian violence in 2012, the United Nations said on Monday. The number of people still in camps has fallen to around 120,000 from 145,000 in Rakhine State, Vivian Tan, regional spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, told Reuters.
The move will bolster optimism among ethnic communities in Myanmar that their situation may improve under the new government of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD). The majority of Rohingya who have left the camps have rebuilt houses in their place of origin, Tan said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters. The move out of the camps started in March 2015 in a process led by the Myanmar government, she added. "These movements are a positive step toward ending displacement, cutting humanitarian dependency as well as restoring a degree of normality and dignity to people's lives." The Rohingya still faced challenges due to lack of citizenship and related restrictions. The number of camps for displaced people has fallen to 40, down from 67.
- Text: US State Department Atrocities Prevention Report and the US Government Response
- US says Burma persecutes Rohingya, but not genocide - The Irrawaddy
- Transcript of US State Department briefing on 21 March 2016
- Optimism over lifting of emergency in Rakhine, but problems remain - DVB
- Burma's treatment of the Rohingya is not genocide - TIME
- Local support keeps north Rakhine curfew in place: Myanmar Times
- A critique of "The slow-burning genocide of Myanmar's Rohingya" - Derek Tonkin 2016
- The slow-burning genocide of Myanmar's Rohingya - Zarni and Cowley 2014