Showing posts tagged as "thein sein"

Showing posts tagged thein sein

11 Oct
Myanmar must embrace minorities | Jim Della-Giacoma
Myanmar’s transition has been remarkable, but it has also been tarnished by violence against its Muslim community. Indeed, these deadly attacks pose a threat to Myanmar’s nascent democracy, as well as its image regionally and internationally.
Visiting Rakhine state, where violence took place this past week, President Thein Sein said: “It is important not to have more riots while we are working very hard to recover the losses we had because of previous incidents. The Rakhine state government needs to cooperate with the people to avoid more conflict by learning from the lessons of previous riots.”
FULL ARTICLE (CNN GPS) 
Photo: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection/Flickr

Myanmar must embrace minorities | Jim Della-Giacoma

Myanmar’s transition has been remarkable, but it has also been tarnished by violence against its Muslim community. Indeed, these deadly attacks pose a threat to Myanmar’s nascent democracy, as well as its image regionally and internationally.

Visiting Rakhine state, where violence took place this past week, President Thein Sein said: “It is important not to have more riots while we are working very hard to recover the losses we had because of previous incidents. The Rakhine state government needs to cooperate with the people to avoid more conflict by learning from the lessons of previous riots.”

FULL ARTICLE (CNN GPS) 

Photo: EU Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection/Flickr

16 Jul
Myanmar’s “Nasaka”: Disbanding an Abusive Agency
by Jim Della-Giacoma
On 12 July, President Thein Sein of Myanmar issued notification no. 59/2013 abolishing the Nasaka border security force, which has been active mainly in Rakhine State (formerly known as Arakan) and in particular along the border with Bangladesh. This is a very positive move. Rakhine State has seen repeated violence between the Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities, and official and semi-official policies of discrimination against the Muslim population.
The Nasaka, or “Border Immigration Headquarters” as it is sometimes known, is an inter-agency force established in 1992 and comprised of around 1200 immigration, police, intelligence and customs officials. It operates in the Muslim-majority northern part of the state, near the Bangladesh border.
In this area, it is the most prominent state authority, and as such is charged not only with securing the border, but also with enforcing the various discriminatory policies against the Rohingya – including travel restrictions, marriage restrictions, and the recently reactivated “two child” limit. It has also faced many allegations of serious human rights abuses, imposition of forced labour and extortion.
In our report Myanmar: Storm Clouds on the Horizon (12 Nov 2012), Crisis Group urged disbanding the Nasaka:

“Local government and the local security forces (the police and the paramilitary border force known as the “Nasaka”), which are dominated by Rakhine Buddhists, often have a strongly anti-Rohingya agenda. Disbanding the Nasaka, which is seen as the most corrupt and abusive government agency in the area, would address both Rohingya concerns of abusive practices and go some way to addressing Rakhine concerns of lax or corrupt border security.”

President Thein Sein gave no explanation for the notification, and the rest of the government has also been silent. But in a speech at Chatham House in London on 15 July, the president promised “a zero-tolerance approach” to any renewed communal violence. Describing Myanmar as a multi-faith country, he stressed the need for a “more inclusive national identity” encompassing people of all ethnic backgrounds and faiths.
The full impact of the decision to abolish the Nasaka remains to be seen. The move took many people by surprise, including the local authorities in Rakhine, who were apparently not informed in advance. It seems that the Nasaka’s main functions will be taken over by the police.
The removal of an agency created for oppressive purposes, and with an institutional culture of corruption and abuse, can only be a good thing. The discriminatory policies aimed at the Rohingya, especially movement restrictions, will very likely remain in force. But no other existing agency is likely to have the power and the reach of the Nasaka, and its abolition should reduce the level of abuse faced by the Rohingya. Attention must now turn to ending the denial of basic rights to this population, including the right of citizenship. There also remains an urgent need to ensure humanitarian access to those displaced Muslim populations in other parts of Rakhine State that are living in desperate conditions, and to ensure them a safe and permanent return to their homes.
Resolving Conflict in South East Asia
Photo: Reuters

Myanmar’s “Nasaka”: Disbanding an Abusive Agency

by Jim Della-Giacoma

On 12 July, President Thein Sein of Myanmar issued notification no. 59/2013 abolishing the Nasaka border security force, which has been active mainly in Rakhine State (formerly known as Arakan) and in particular along the border with Bangladesh. This is a very positive move. Rakhine State has seen repeated violence between the Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities, and official and semi-official policies of discrimination against the Muslim population.

The Nasaka, or “Border Immigration Headquarters” as it is sometimes known, is an inter-agency force established in 1992 and comprised of around 1200 immigration, police, intelligence and customs officials. It operates in the Muslim-majority northern part of the state, near the Bangladesh border.

In this area, it is the most prominent state authority, and as such is charged not only with securing the border, but also with enforcing the various discriminatory policies against the Rohingya – including travel restrictions, marriage restrictions, and the recently reactivated “two child” limit. It has also faced many allegations of serious human rights abuses, imposition of forced labour and extortion.

In our report Myanmar: Storm Clouds on the Horizon (12 Nov 2012), Crisis Group urged disbanding the Nasaka:

“Local government and the local security forces (the police and the paramilitary border force known as the “Nasaka”), which are dominated by Rakhine Buddhists, often have a strongly anti-Rohingya agenda. Disbanding the Nasaka, which is seen as the most corrupt and abusive government agency in the area, would address both Rohingya concerns of abusive practices and go some way to addressing Rakhine concerns of lax or corrupt border security.”

President Thein Sein gave no explanation for the notification, and the rest of the government has also been silent. But in a speech at Chatham House in London on 15 July, the president promised “a zero-tolerance approach” to any renewed communal violence. Describing Myanmar as a multi-faith country, he stressed the need for a “more inclusive national identity” encompassing people of all ethnic backgrounds and faiths.

The full impact of the decision to abolish the Nasaka remains to be seen. The move took many people by surprise, including the local authorities in Rakhine, who were apparently not informed in advance. It seems that the Nasaka’s main functions will be taken over by the police.

The removal of an agency created for oppressive purposes, and with an institutional culture of corruption and abuse, can only be a good thing. The discriminatory policies aimed at the Rohingya, especially movement restrictions, will very likely remain in force. But no other existing agency is likely to have the power and the reach of the Nasaka, and its abolition should reduce the level of abuse faced by the Rohingya. Attention must now turn to ending the denial of basic rights to this population, including the right of citizenship. There also remains an urgent need to ensure humanitarian access to those displaced Muslim populations in other parts of Rakhine State that are living in desperate conditions, and to ensure them a safe and permanent return to their homes.

Resolving Conflict in South East Asia

Photo: Reuters

29 Nov
In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner: Peace, Prosperity and the Presidency
New York, 26 November 2012: The International Crisis Group will honour President Thein Sein of Myanmar and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil at its annual In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner in New York City on 22 April 2013.
Crisis Group’s Award Dinner is an opportunity to celebrate inspirational figures from government, diplomacy and public policy whose visionary leadership has transformed the lives of millions and brought forth the promise of a world free of conflict.
“At a time when so much of the world seems to be headed in the wrong direction, Myanmar and Brazil stand out as clear examples of presidents working for a better path for their people”, said Thomas R. Pickering, Chair of the International Crisis Group.
“Both President Thein Sein and President Lula are worthy recipients in this regard, having helped Myanmar and Brazil take significant steps forward and encouraged a greater role for them in promoting regional and international diplomacy following years of isolation”.
Crisis Group President Louise Arbour said, “Myanmar has initiated a remarkable and unprecedented set of reforms since President Thein Sein’s government took over in March 2011, including freeing hundreds of political prisoners, liberalising the press and promoting dialogue with the main opposition party”.
Of course, Myanmar still needs to build on this political liberalisation to date. It must urgently find ways to address communal violence between the Rakhine and the Rohingya (as Crisis Group noted back in June and again in a report published earlier this month), which continues to devastate people’s lives, particularly those in minority Muslim communities. Still, the country has seen very significant progress: for the first time in almost fifty years, all but one of the ethnic armed groups have signed preliminary ceasefires with the government, and it is hoped that an agreement will also soon be reached with the Kachin Independence Organisation (read more about Crisis Group’s work in Myanmar).
As President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, propelled his country into a new economic and political era, taking millions out of poverty. Upon this solid foundation, his government became a critical regional and world player with a social agenda and bringing a South-South approach to international cooperation and global development.
President da Silva offered its regional neighbours a partnership, making integration a concrete reality. Brazilian diplomacy also helped its South American neighbours to face their own internal crises.
Brazil’s solidarity towards Africa was also notable with the country opening 17 new diplomatic missions there during President da Silva’s government. Brazil also took charge of the peacekeeping operation in Haiti and the naval part of the UN’s mission in Lebanon.
Lula’s government developed an autonomous diplomacy, in harmony with the demands of globalisation and its development projects. Variable alliances enabled the nation to exercise a worldwide presence and deepen its influence. Brazil’s coalitions, strategic partnerships and new alliances enabled the country and its partners to fill a power vacuum in the international field.
Now in its eighth year, Crisis Group’s In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner recognises the outstanding accomplishments of individuals working to prevent and resolve deadly conflict worldwide. Previous recipients of the awards include: U.S. Presidents William Jefferson Clinton and George H.W. Bush; Nobel Peace Prize laureates Martti Ahtisaari and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and financier and philanthropist George Soros.

In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner: Peace, Prosperity and the Presidency

New York, 26 November 2012: The International Crisis Group will honour President Thein Sein of Myanmar and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil at its annual In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner in New York City on 22 April 2013.

Crisis Group’s Award Dinner is an opportunity to celebrate inspirational figures from government, diplomacy and public policy whose visionary leadership has transformed the lives of millions and brought forth the promise of a world free of conflict.

“At a time when so much of the world seems to be headed in the wrong direction, Myanmar and Brazil stand out as clear examples of presidents working for a better path for their people”, said Thomas R. Pickering, Chair of the International Crisis Group.

“Both President Thein Sein and President Lula are worthy recipients in this regard, having helped Myanmar and Brazil take significant steps forward and encouraged a greater role for them in promoting regional and international diplomacy following years of isolation”.

Crisis Group President Louise Arbour said, “Myanmar has initiated a remarkable and unprecedented set of reforms since President Thein Sein’s government took over in March 2011, including freeing hundreds of political prisoners, liberalising the press and promoting dialogue with the main opposition party”.

Of course, Myanmar still needs to build on this political liberalisation to date. It must urgently find ways to address communal violence between the Rakhine and the Rohingya (as Crisis Group noted back in June and again in a report published earlier this month), which continues to devastate people’s lives, particularly those in minority Muslim communities. Still, the country has seen very significant progress: for the first time in almost fifty years, all but one of the ethnic armed groups have signed preliminary ceasefires with the government, and it is hoped that an agreement will also soon be reached with the Kachin Independence Organisation (read more about Crisis Group’s work in Myanmar).

As President of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, propelled his country into a new economic and political era, taking millions out of poverty. Upon this solid foundation, his government became a critical regional and world player with a social agenda and bringing a South-South approach to international cooperation and global development.

President da Silva offered its regional neighbours a partnership, making integration a concrete reality. Brazilian diplomacy also helped its South American neighbours to face their own internal crises.

Brazil’s solidarity towards Africa was also notable with the country opening 17 new diplomatic missions there during President da Silva’s government. Brazil also took charge of the peacekeeping operation in Haiti and the naval part of the UN’s mission in Lebanon.

Lula’s government developed an autonomous diplomacy, in harmony with the demands of globalisation and its development projects. Variable alliances enabled the nation to exercise a worldwide presence and deepen its influence. Brazil’s coalitions, strategic partnerships and new alliances enabled the country and its partners to fill a power vacuum in the international field.

Now in its eighth year, Crisis Group’s In Pursuit of Peace Award Dinner recognises the outstanding accomplishments of individuals working to prevent and resolve deadly conflict worldwide. Previous recipients of the awards include: U.S. Presidents William Jefferson Clinton and George H.W. Bush; Nobel Peace Prize laureates Martti Ahtisaari and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and financier and philanthropist George Soros.

19 Nov
Myanmar Facing Unfolding Crisis | CNN GPS 
Louise Arbour, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group
When U.S. President Barack Obama visits Myanmar in the next few days, he will encounter a country undergoing one of the most dramatic – and positive – transitions in recent memory, but one which also now faces an unfolding crisis of deeply disturbing proportions. The flare-up of mass violence in the western region of Rakhine State, in part a by-product of the country’s ongoing transformation, represents a backward step that hands the Southeast Asian nation’s government and its opposition leaders their toughest challenge yet.
Since March 2011, Myanmar has been enjoying a remarkable political transition. The country’s leaders have demonstrated the political will and the vision to move the country decisively away from the past.
President Thein Sein has declared the changes irreversible and worked to build a durable partnership with the opposition, in particular Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. While the process remains incomplete, much has been achieved: many political prisoners have been released, blacklists trimmed, freedom of assembly laws implemented, and media censorship abolished, not to mention last year’s by-elections, which saw Suu Kyi and her party enter parliament.
Even the country’s multiple internal ethnic conflicts seemed to be on a generally positive path. With ten major ceasefires signed, only a deal with the Kachin armed group remains elusive. While addressing the grievances underpinning these conflicts on the periphery remains the core goal, clearly securing ceasefires is a vital first step.
Then, in June, ethnic violence in Rakhine State disrupted this encouraging narrative. The alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by Muslim men was the trigger that led long simmering tensions between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya to explode. Dozens were killed, hundreds of houses were burned, and 75,000 mostly Rohingya were displaced by subsequent intercommunal violence in northern Rakhine State.
Widespread violence erupted again on October 21 in new areas of Rakhine State, bringing the number killed to about 140 and the total displaced to some 110,000. This latest round of violence consisted of attacks against not just Rohingya but also non-Rohingya Muslim communities, with indications that they were organized in advance by extremist elements.
Thus far, the government has been unable to fully contain the situation. Local authorities and security forces have in some cases acted in a partisan manner. Neither the authorities nor the national opposition have adequately challenged the extremist rhetoric fuelling the ethnic violence. It should be noted that the Rohingya for too long have been the pariah people of the region, enduring fierce discrimination in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh, and scant support elsewhere, though the recent violence has triggered soundings of displeasure from a number of Asia’s Muslim-majority countries.
In part, tensions such as these are to be expected in a country emerging from authoritarian rule. Social friction can increase as more freedom allows long unaddressed issues to resurface. In Myanmar one can also see grassroots protests over land grabs and abuses by local authorities, as well as environmental and social concerns over foreign-backed infrastructure and mining projects.
Still, the mounting problem in Rakhine State is the primary concern. It is an extremely dangerous situation for a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Myanmar. Indeed, any further rupturing of intercommunal relations could threaten national stability.
Experience shows communal tensions can be exploited and inflamed for political gain. In particular, there is a real risk that the violence in Rakhine State will take on a more explicitly Buddhist-Muslim character, with the possibility of clashes spreading to the many other areas where there are minority Muslim populations.
The emergence of a “Buddhist solidarity” lobby around the Rakhine issue – with Buddhist monks and a segment of the Burman elite demonstrating in support of Rakhine Buddhists – does not augur well.
President Thein Sein has established an investigation commission with a broad mandate to examine the causes of the violence and the official response, and provide suggestions on how to resolve the situation and for reconciliation and the socioeconomic development of the area. Its work could be very important to define a way forward for Rakhine State and catalyze national reflection on the issue of identity and diversity in this multi-religious country.
If, however, the commission’s final report, expected in the coming months, is a diluted text that avoids controversial issues, or if it ends up reflecting a majority view that is seen as partisan and not conducive to reconciliation, the exercise will have done little to further the cause of peace.
The violence in Rakhine State represents a major test for the government as it seeks to maintain law and order without rekindling memories of the recent authoritarian past. It also represents a challenge for Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy to demonstrate a greater commitment, publicly and privately, to the fundamental rights of all those who live in Myanmar.
Above all, both government and opposition need to show moral leadership to calm the tensions and work for durable solutions to a problem that could threaten Myanmar’s reform process and the stability of the country.
Louise Arbour is President of the International Crisis Group.
(CNN GPS)
Photo: thaigov/Wikimedia Commons

Myanmar Facing Unfolding Crisis | CNN GPS 

Louise Arbour, President and CEO of the International Crisis Group

When U.S. President Barack Obama visits Myanmar in the next few days, he will encounter a country undergoing one of the most dramatic – and positive – transitions in recent memory, but one which also now faces an unfolding crisis of deeply disturbing proportions. The flare-up of mass violence in the western region of Rakhine State, in part a by-product of the country’s ongoing transformation, represents a backward step that hands the Southeast Asian nation’s government and its opposition leaders their toughest challenge yet.

Since March 2011, Myanmar has been enjoying a remarkable political transition. The country’s leaders have demonstrated the political will and the vision to move the country decisively away from the past.

President Thein Sein has declared the changes irreversible and worked to build a durable partnership with the opposition, in particular Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. While the process remains incomplete, much has been achieved: many political prisoners have been released, blacklists trimmed, freedom of assembly laws implemented, and media censorship abolished, not to mention last year’s by-elections, which saw Suu Kyi and her party enter parliament.

Even the country’s multiple internal ethnic conflicts seemed to be on a generally positive path. With ten major ceasefires signed, only a deal with the Kachin armed group remains elusive. While addressing the grievances underpinning these conflicts on the periphery remains the core goal, clearly securing ceasefires is a vital first step.

Then, in June, ethnic violence in Rakhine State disrupted this encouraging narrative. The alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by Muslim men was the trigger that led long simmering tensions between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya to explode. Dozens were killed, hundreds of houses were burned, and 75,000 mostly Rohingya were displaced by subsequent intercommunal violence in northern Rakhine State.

Widespread violence erupted again on October 21 in new areas of Rakhine State, bringing the number killed to about 140 and the total displaced to some 110,000. This latest round of violence consisted of attacks against not just Rohingya but also non-Rohingya Muslim communities, with indications that they were organized in advance by extremist elements.

Thus far, the government has been unable to fully contain the situation. Local authorities and security forces have in some cases acted in a partisan manner. Neither the authorities nor the national opposition have adequately challenged the extremist rhetoric fuelling the ethnic violence. It should be noted that the Rohingya for too long have been the pariah people of the region, enduring fierce discrimination in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh, and scant support elsewhere, though the recent violence has triggered soundings of displeasure from a number of Asia’s Muslim-majority countries.

In part, tensions such as these are to be expected in a country emerging from authoritarian rule. Social friction can increase as more freedom allows long unaddressed issues to resurface. In Myanmar one can also see grassroots protests over land grabs and abuses by local authorities, as well as environmental and social concerns over foreign-backed infrastructure and mining projects.

Still, the mounting problem in Rakhine State is the primary concern. It is an extremely dangerous situation for a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Myanmar. Indeed, any further rupturing of intercommunal relations could threaten national stability.

Experience shows communal tensions can be exploited and inflamed for political gain. In particular, there is a real risk that the violence in Rakhine State will take on a more explicitly Buddhist-Muslim character, with the possibility of clashes spreading to the many other areas where there are minority Muslim populations.

The emergence of a “Buddhist solidarity” lobby around the Rakhine issue – with Buddhist monks and a segment of the Burman elite demonstrating in support of Rakhine Buddhists – does not augur well.

President Thein Sein has established an investigation commission with a broad mandate to examine the causes of the violence and the official response, and provide suggestions on how to resolve the situation and for reconciliation and the socioeconomic development of the area. Its work could be very important to define a way forward for Rakhine State and catalyze national reflection on the issue of identity and diversity in this multi-religious country.

If, however, the commission’s final report, expected in the coming months, is a diluted text that avoids controversial issues, or if it ends up reflecting a majority view that is seen as partisan and not conducive to reconciliation, the exercise will have done little to further the cause of peace.

The violence in Rakhine State represents a major test for the government as it seeks to maintain law and order without rekindling memories of the recent authoritarian past. It also represents a challenge for Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy to demonstrate a greater commitment, publicly and privately, to the fundamental rights of all those who live in Myanmar.

Above all, both government and opposition need to show moral leadership to calm the tensions and work for durable solutions to a problem that could threaten Myanmar’s reform process and the stability of the country.

Louise Arbour is President of the International Crisis Group.

(CNN GPS)

Photo: thaigov/Wikimedia Commons

14 Nov
Myanmar’s leaders must stop ethnic violence from spreading - report | AlertNetBANGKOK – Ethnic violence in western Myanmar could threaten the country’s stability, and President Thein Sein and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi need to offer “decisive moral leadership” to stop it from spreading further, a report by International Crisis Group (ICG) released Monday said.Leader of the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi is hugely popular in the country but has been criticised by ethnic and rights groups for her failure to take a clear stand against the violence in Rakhine State.FULL ARTICLE (AlertNet)Photo: Digital Democracy/Flickr

Myanmar’s leaders must stop ethnic violence from spreading - report | AlertNet

BANGKOK – Ethnic violence in western Myanmar could threaten the country’s stability, and President Thein Sein and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi need to offer “decisive moral leadership” to stop it from spreading further, a report by International Crisis Group (ICG) released Monday said.

Leader of the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi is hugely popular in the country but has been criticised by ethnic and rights groups for her failure to take a clear stand against the violence in Rakhine State.

FULL ARTICLE (AlertNet)

Photo: Digital Democracy/Flickr

Arakan Strife Could Spread Across Burma: ICG | The Irrawaddy
By Charlie Campbell
Recent sectarian violence in Arakan (Rakhine) State threatens national stability and could spread into wider religious conflict unless tackled through decisive moral leadership, claims the International Crisis Group (ICG) in a new report.
Myanmar: Storm Clouds on the Horizon indicates there is a real risk that the localized Arakan State conflict could take on a more general Buddhists-versus-Muslims dimension and spread to other parts of the multi-religious and multi-ethnic country.
“Social tensions are rising as more freedom allows local conflicts to resurface,” says Paul Quinn-Judge, ICG’s acting Asia program director. “Moral leadership is required now to calm tensions and new compromises will be needed if divisive confrontation is to be avoided.”
FULL ARTICLE (The Irrawaddy)
Photo: dany13/Flickr

Arakan Strife Could Spread Across Burma: ICG | The Irrawaddy

By Charlie Campbell

Recent sectarian violence in Arakan (Rakhine) State threatens national stability and could spread into wider religious conflict unless tackled through decisive moral leadership, claims the International Crisis Group (ICG) in a new report.

Myanmar: Storm Clouds on the Horizon indicates there is a real risk that the localized Arakan State conflict could take on a more general Buddhists-versus-Muslims dimension and spread to other parts of the multi-religious and multi-ethnic country.

“Social tensions are rising as more freedom allows local conflicts to resurface,” says Paul Quinn-Judge, ICG’s acting Asia program director. “Moral leadership is required now to calm tensions and new compromises will be needed if divisive confrontation is to be avoided.”

FULL ARTICLE (The Irrawaddy)

Photo: dany13/Flickr

12 Nov
Before Obama visit, group warns ethnic violence could destabilize Myanmar | CNN
By Jethro Mullen
Hong Kong (CNN) — As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Myanmar next week, a nonprofit group warned violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the west of the country could destabilize the nation just as it is emerging from decades of military repression.
Obama is set to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar, providing a powerful endorsement of the Southeast Asian nation’s efforts to move toward greater democracy under President Thein Sein.
FULL ARTICLE (CNN)
Photo: European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr 

Before Obama visit, group warns ethnic violence could destabilize Myanmar | CNN

By Jethro Mullen

Hong Kong (CNN) — As President Barack Obama prepares to visit Myanmar next week, a nonprofit group warned violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the west of the country could destabilize the nation just as it is emerging from decades of military repression.

Obama is set to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar, providing a powerful endorsement of the Southeast Asian nation’s efforts to move toward greater democracy under President Thein Sein.

FULL ARTICLE (CNN)

Photo: European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr 

Myanmar political leaders urged to make stand on Rakhine unrest | The Straits Times via AFP
YANGON (AFP) - President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi must show “moral leadership” if Myanmar is to stem communal violence between Muslims and Buddhists, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said on Saturday.
Unrest has left at least 180 people dead since June and displaced 110,000, mostly Rohingya Muslims, in western Rakhine State, prompting international calls for the president and Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to defend the minority group.
FULL ARTICLE (The Straits Times via AFP)
Photo: Digital Democracy/Flickr

Myanmar political leaders urged to make stand on Rakhine unrest | The Straits Times via AFP

YANGON (AFP) - President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi must show “moral leadership” if Myanmar is to stem communal violence between Muslims and Buddhists, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said on Saturday.

Unrest has left at least 180 people dead since June and displaced 110,000, mostly Rohingya Muslims, in western Rakhine State, prompting international calls for the president and Nobel laureate Suu Kyi to defend the minority group.

FULL ARTICLE (The Straits Times via AFP)

Photo: Digital Democracy/Flickr

10 Nov
Obama to visit Myanmar, an overture to a one-time pariah | Christian Science Monitor
By Dan Murphy
Rarely has a country been brought back into the American fold as fast as Myanmar (also known as Burma) has. 
Starting in late 2010, the military junta that has run the country since 1962 stunningly reversed course.
Not only did it release Aun San Suu Kyi, whose political party won the 1990 elections that the military promptly ignored, from almost two decades of imprisonment and house arrest, but allowed her unprecedented freedom of movement and political organization.
FULL ARTICLE (Christian Science Monitor)
Photo: HeyRocker/Flickr

Obama to visit Myanmar, an overture to a one-time pariah | Christian Science Monitor

By Dan Murphy

Rarely has a country been brought back into the American fold as fast as Myanmar (also known as Burma) has. 

Starting in late 2010, the military junta that has run the country since 1962 stunningly reversed course.

Not only did it release Aun San Suu Kyi, whose political party won the 1990 elections that the military promptly ignored, from almost two decades of imprisonment and house arrest, but allowed her unprecedented freedom of movement and political organization.

FULL ARTICLE (Christian Science Monitor)

Photo: HeyRocker/Flickr

27 Jul
Myanmar May Suffer If U.S. Extends Import Ban, Group Says
By Daniel Ten Kate
U.S. lawmakers may hurt Myanmar’s ability to attract labor-intensive investments in manufacturing by extending an import ban in place since 2003, according to policy research organization International Crisis Group.
FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)
Photo: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Myanmar May Suffer If U.S. Extends Import Ban, Group Says

By Daniel Ten Kate

U.S. lawmakers may hurt Myanmar’s ability to attract labor-intensive investments in manufacturing by extending an import ban in place since 2003, according to policy research organization International Crisis Group.

FULL ARTICLE (Bloomberg)

Photo: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs