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International and Regional Involvement

Individual Documents

Title: The Dynamics of Conflict in the Multiethnic Union of Myanmar
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: * Crucial developments are taking place in Burma / Myanmar's political landscape. Generation change, the change of the nominal political system, and the recovery from a major natural disaster can lead to many directions. Some of these changes can possibly pave the way for violent societal disruptions. * As an external actor the international community may further add to political tensions through their intervening policies. For this reason it is very important that the international community assesses its impact on the agents and structure of conflict in Burma / Myanmar. * This study aims at mapping the opportunities and risks that various types of international aid interventions may have in the country. * The study utilizes and further develops the peace and conflict impact assessment methodology of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
Author/creator: Timo Kivimaki & Paul Pasch
Language: English
Source/publisher: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (PCIA - Country Conflict-Analysis Study)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 24 May 2010

Title: Burma/Myanmar’s Ailments: Searching for the Right Remedy
Date of publication: March 2007
Description/subject: "...This report advocates a policy of engagement with the present government to work towards sustainable dialogue. This does not mean appeasement in support of the status quo; rather, it advocates stability in change through gradualism. The international community needs to prioritize the challenges facing the country and decide how to deal with the most practical and urgent ones first... If one is to accept the high risk of any sudden regime instability, possible state collapse, and further human insecurity as undesirable, gradualism as an approach should then be adopted. If so, the Burma/Myanmar question (or debate) could perhaps be reframed as a process instead, namely: · Reform through Relief · Democracy (and Human rights) through Development · Change through Continuity... Burma/Myanmar is not at the crossroads - the country has long wandered into the wilderness. It is the international community that is at the crossroads. While recognizing the need for action, there is no consensus as to what “action” would actually entail. This underlines the lack of credibility on the international community’s part. The varied responses of members of the international community thus far have further complicated efforts in Burma/Myanmar’s road to recovery. Opposing strategies between the West and Asian states have cancelled out each other’s efforts, since Burma/Myanmar, and especially the military leaders, can rely on Asia to fulfill its needs, at least partially...The UN Security Council is not the best of places to resolve the Burma/Myanmar crisis. Nonetheless, the UN Special Envoy should continue to maintain contacts with the SPDC as a channel for diplomacy both formally and informally. The UN should also look into the further use of its various agencies to address the development and humanitarian situation in the country. While operating inside the country, they can also formally and informally engage not just the military leadership, but also mid-ranking officers, as well as the various ethnic communities...It is accepted that democratization and a return to genuine civilian control is an essential ingredient for the treatment of the country’s many ailments. The issue here concerns timing and process. A sensible solution is to facilitate the improvement of civilian-military relations, leading to eventual democratic transition. Such an approach is more realistic than the abrupt displacement of the existing military regime in the hope that a civilian government would be able to assume control...Burma/Myanmar is riddled with extremely complex problems and there is no silver bullet remedy for its ailments. Action must be tempered by realistic and practical goals and that means working towards gradual change in the country by adopting a long term and holistic perspective of what needs to be done. The admirable thing about Aung San Suu Kyi has long been her patient dedication to peaceful and non-violent struggle. Therefore, while the intentions are admittedly good, it would nevertheless be shameful to see misguided policies flung towards the existing (and highly unpopular) military government in a way which could plunge the country into state collapse – or worse – civil war. The only peaceful solution available would be a political settlement, starting with political dialogue, which would enable the three parties to reconcile their differences – or at least work out a cohabitation arrangement – so that the country could embark on a genuine and sustained path of recovery. The international community’s role is to facilitate such a process, rather than be overly occupied with the idea of regime change..."
Author/creator: Christopher Len, Johan Alvin
Language: English
Source/publisher: Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program - Johns Hopkins University-SAIS & Uppsala University
Format/size: pdf, (1.06, 1.00 MB) 118 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/docs/Silkroadpapers/2007/200704-BurmaMyanmar.pdf
Date of entry/update: 26 May 2007

Title: Covering up Genocide: Gambari’s betrayal (KHRG Commentary)
Date of publication: 26 May 2006
Description/subject: " The ongoing offensives by Burma’s ruling State Peace & Development Council (SPDC) military junta have already been analysed in KHRG’s previous Commentary (#2006-C1), released just one week ago on May 19th. That commentary demonstrated that these attacks are not targeting the armed opposition, but are deliberately aimed at destroying the homes and food supplies of Karen hill villagers and shooting men, women and children on sight in a systematic attempt to wipe them out. International law, particularly the UN Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), defines this as genocide, and it also stands in violation of every international human rights convention and of international humanitarian law as expressed in the Geneva Conventions. However, in the past week it has become clear that the United Nations Secretariat is attempting to cover up this genocide and bring about a normalisation of relations with the SPDC regime, without even insisting that the regime stop its military attacks on civilians. From May 18th to 20th, UN under-secretary general for political affairs Ibrahim Gambari visited Rangoon. Second to Kofi Annan in the UN bureaucracy, he is the most senior UN official to visit Burma in years. The visit came at a time when international outcry against the SPDC’s attacks on Karen villagers was reaching its height, and activists and the US government were demanding that Burma be placed on the agenda of the UN Security Council. On April 28th this year, the Council passed Resolution 1674 noting that the “deliberate targeting of civilians … and the commission of systematic, flagrant and widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law … may constitute a threat to international peace and security” and expressing its “readiness to consider such situations and, where necessary, to adopt appropriate steps”. So one would expect Gambari to have spent much of his time insisting that the SPDC immediately cease its genocidal attacks against Karen villagers. He did not. Instead he focused most of his efforts on encouraging the SPDC to release one person – Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) political party. He expressed “concern” over the Karen offensive – UN language for “we have noticed, but we will not interfere” – and suggested that the SPDC cease the attacks, but then went on to talk about how the SPDC could go about securing more foreign aid...."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Commentaries (KHRG #2006-C2)
Format/size: pdf (40 KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/khrg2006/khrg06c2.pdf
Date of entry/update: 26 May 2006

Title: Thoughts of Former UN Envoy - An Interview with Razali Ismail [2005]
Date of publication: January 2006
Description/subject: "'The Irrawaddy' speaks to outgoing UN Special Envoy to Burma Razali Ismail regarding his decision not to renew his contract and therefore leave the post on January 4. Ismail spent nearly five years in the role, enjoying early success in managing to bring the National League for Democracy and the military government together for talks, while making nearly a dozen trips to Rangoon. However, the last two years of Ismail’s mandate were marred by the junta’s unwillingness to allow him into the country..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 14, No. 1
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddymedia.com/article.php?art_id=5348
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006

Title: Why the Havel-Tutu Report Should Succeed
Date of publication: November 2005
Description/subject: China and Russia have previously blocked a US move to put Burma to the UN Security Council, but there is little reason for them to block a similar attempt this time around... "Much of the attention surrounding the September report by former Czech president Vaclav Havel and 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu concerns its labeling Burma as a greater threat to regional peace than past cases in which the UN Security Council has intervened. While this is an interesting assertion, Burma watchers will find few surprises in the report’s litany of abuses in Burma. We should instead focus on whether the UNSC would actually accept the report’s recommendations. In this respect, the Tutu-Havel report presents a reasonable compromise that could potentially attract sufficient support at least to place Burma on the UNSC agenda and possibly lead to a new consensus on how to handle the recalcitrant generals in Rangoon..."
Author/creator: Arnold Corso
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 11
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006

Title: Where’s the Timeframe? -- An Interview with Paulo Sergio Pinheiro
Date of publication: June 2005
Description/subject: Pinheiro’s plea to the Burmese regime... "Effectively barred from carrying out his responsibilities in Burma, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights, says the UN could nevertheless work with the Rangoon regime if the junta clarified its aims. Brazilian-born Pinheiro spoke to The Irrawaddy during a visit to Bangkok..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 6
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=4756
Date of entry/update: 28 April 2006

Title: Myanmar: sanctions, engagement or another way forward?
Date of publication: 26 April 2004
Description/subject: "...Since 1990, most Western governments have taken a self-consciously principled approach to Myanmar, applying coercive diplomacy and economic sanctions in an effort to force the military government to implement the results of the multiparty election held that year. The 30 May 2003 attack on Aung San Suu Kyi and her followers increased both political pressure and justification for strengthening this approach. However, the military government today is more entrenched and more recalcitrant than when it took power. The prodemocratic opposition -- although it maintains broad popular support -- has lost much of its momentum, and international actors have demonstrably failed to protect even Aung San Suu Kyi, not to speak of less prominent figures, from persecution. Meanwhile, the socio-economic conditions for a majority of the population have greatly deteriorated. In short, things are moving the wrong way. The much gentler 'engagement' policy embraced by most of Myanmar's Asian neighbours for most of the period of military rule has been equally unproductive. In the absence of any external pressure at all for change, it is highly unlikely that any change at all will occur. The people of Myanmar need greater say in the governance of their country. The failure of 40 years of military rule to provide human welfare and security consonant with the country's great natural potential is closely linked to the absence of popular participation in decision-making. For now, however, the configuration of power and interests inside the country are not conducive to major, quick change -- and there are no "magic bullets", no realistic policy options that can change that. In such circumstances, efforts are required to change political, social and economic realities over a longer period in ways that would facilitate better governance and the gradual introduction and consolidation of genuinely democratic institutions. That is only likely to happen if coercive measures are allied to a more flexible, intensive and sustained diplomatic strategy that does not in any way embrace the military government, but rather includes a greater willingness to pursue some half-measures, small steps and even limited cooperation in order to begin to move the country forward while protecting those who suffer under the status quo or might be hurt by future reforms. International objectives have to be rethought, new benchmarks for change adopted, a more supportive approach toward creating a positive internal climate of change adopted, and more support given to the UN in its important mediation and facilitation role. The road map put forward by the SPDC and realignments within the military government offer a sign of movement, slight though it may be, in the political situation. This provides an opportunity to encourage progress and should not be dismissed out of hand. Any government or institution that deals with Myanmar needs to maintain an acute sense of the realities of the country: change is often painfully slow and easily reversed, the military is an intensely difficult institution with which to deal, and outside influence on any of the actors is very limited. The international community should take whatever opportunity is presented to encourage whatever progress is possible. That means developing a new policy approach -- containing elements of the present sanctions approach of the West and engagement policy of the region, but more productive than either -- that brings together international actors rather than divides them, creates an environment for change in the country and offers a way out for all parties that has a chance of being accepted..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group (ICG)
Format/size: pdf (635K)
Date of entry/update: 26 April 2004

Title: GA 2003: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar: Addendum
Date of publication: 06 November 2003
Description/subject: Update to incorporate the Special Envoy's visit to Burma, 30 September to 2 October 2003
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (A/58/325/Add.1)
Format/size: pdf (39K)
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2003

Title: Time for UN Intervention in Burma/Myanmar:
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: Geographical Location of Burma/Myanmar; Country Report; Historical Background; 1988: Prospects for Re-emerging of Democracy; Democracy’s Light Begins to Dim; National Council of the Union of Burma; I. Rule of Law, or “Law and Order?”; II. Unconstructive SPDC’s Stance on Regional Cooperation; III. Militarization of Burma and Regional Instability: A Military Build-up Bursting at Its Seams; IV. Genocidal Policies and Practices of the Military Regime; V. Arrest, Arbitrary Detention, and Disappearance; VI. Torture and Extrajudicial Killings; VII. Political Prisoners and Former Political Prisoners; VIII. Forced Labour and Forced Relocation; IX. The Rights of the Child; X. Women’s Rights and Realities; XI. Violence Against Women: Soldiers Licensed to Rape; XII. Refugees and Migrants: Mass Exodus from an Intolerable Situation; XIII. Inhuman Living Condition: Economic Mismanagement; XIV. Illegal Drug Industry: Bane of the International Community; XV. HIV Epidemic: Crisis on the Horizon.
Language: English
Source/publisher: National Council of the Union of Burma (NCUB)
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB) 55 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2003/10/25/time-un-intervention-burmamyanmar-threat-international-...
Date of entry/update: 06 August 2010

Date of publication: 05 September 2003
Description/subject: Research Paper of the BURMA UN SERVICE OFFICE and the BURMA FUND... Contents: Executive Summary; The Role of the Security Council Assigned by the United Nations Charter; The determination of a ‘threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression’ under Article 39 of the Charter; 1. Internal conflicts as a threat to the peace; 2. Violations of human rights and humanitarian law, and humanitarian crises, as a threat to the peace; 3. Disruption to democracy as a threat to the peace; Why the Security Council should determine that the situation in Burma constitutes a ‘threat to the peace’; Disruption to democracy: Internal conflict and gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law; Dire Humanitarian situation; The United Nations Secretary-General’s power under Article 99 of the Charter; Coercive Measures: Existing Sanctions Against the Burmese Regime. A Model Security Council Targeted Sanctions Regime for Burma...The pdf version on the ncgub site is tarted-up, with photos and layout, and a modified title: "Crisis in Burma: AN Agenda for the United Nations Security Council?"
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma UN Service Office, Burma Fund
Format/size: html (384K), Word (223K), pdf (294K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/2003-09-SCpaper.doc
Date of entry/update: 24 October 2003

Title: GA 2003: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 25 August 2003
Description/subject: "...The present report is based upon the good offices efforts undertaken by the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail, in attempting to facilitate national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 57/231 of 18 December 2002. The discussions that the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy have had separately with the Myanmar authorities during this reporting period continued to focus on the issue of how the United Nations can be of assistance in facilitating the national reconciliation process in Myanmar. During this period, the optimism that followed the lifting of the remaining restrictions on Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 11 May 2002 dissipated. Contrary to the expectations of the Myanmar people, who are overwhelmingly in favour of change, and the United Nations, there was no substantive progress towards national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar. Following the events in northern Myanmar of 30 May, which resulted in the detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Myanmar’s embryonic and home-grown national reconciliation process, as understood by the United Nations, was halted. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders still remain detained and incommunicado at the time of this reporting. The Secretary- General remains gravely concerned about the safety and well-being of these NLD leaders and others detained after 30 May and reiterates his call for the Myanmar authorities to remove, without delay, all the restrictions imposed on their freedom of movement and political activities. He is also seriously concerned that the absence of 2 A/58/325 progress in the process of national reconciliation and democratization is to the detriment of the Myanmar people, who voted for change in 1990 and deserve to experience the same benefits of economic, civil, social and political development as their counterparts in neighbouring countries. The Secretary-General reiterates his determination to do his utmost to revive the national reconciliation process if all parties are willing. He particularly appeals to the leaders of the State Peace and Development Council to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and commence substantive political dialogue with her immediately, so that national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar can be achieved at an early date, with the participation of all the interested parties concerned, and in a way that brings immediate and tangible benefits to the Myanmar people..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (A/58/325)
Format/size: pdf (47K)
Date of entry/update: 01 October 2003

Title: CHR 2003: Report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 10 March 2003
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/2003/33)
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=3289
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Thailand as a Mediating Force - An Interview with Sunai Phasuk
Date of publication: January 2003
Description/subject: "The Irrawaddy spoke to Sunai Phasuk of Forum-Asia, a Bangkok-based rights group, about new efforts by the Thai government to engage Burma. Question: What do you think of Thai Prime Minster Thaksin’s recent proposal to act as a negotiator between the SPDC [State Peace and Development Council] and ethnic groups? Answer: This is the cornerstone of Thaksin’s Burma policy, but perhaps it is the most unrealistic part of his policy. His achievements—I guess we cannot call them achievements yet—but we see concrete moves in efforts to build up economic ties and efforts to create communication channels. But in terms of the role of Thailand in mediating the conflict between the SPDC and ethnic groups, Thailand hasn’t proved it has any credentials, apart from it’s geographical location..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 1
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.irrawaddy.org/interview_show.php?art_id=3575
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: GA 2002: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 16 October 2002
Description/subject: United Nations A/57/484 General Assembly Distr.: General 16 October 2002 Original: English Fifty-seventh session Agenda item 109 (c) Summary: "The present report is based upon the good offices undertaken by the Secretary- General and his Special Envoy, Razali Ismail, to facilitate national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 56/231 of 24 December 2001. The discussions that the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy have had separately with the Myanmar authorities during the reporting period have focused on the issue of how the United Nations, which has been facilitating the confidence-building talks that started between the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in October 2000, can be of assistance in moving these discussions towards a more substantive dialogue. Some significant developments have taken place, including the restoration of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s freedom of movement on 6 May. However, substantive dialogue between the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not started yet. Concerned that the positive momentum generated since this spring will be lost unless some tangible progress is made in the near future, the Secretary-General reiterates his call on the Government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to set aside their differences, unite for the larger cause of national reconciliation and start their political dialogue as soon as possible so that a national reconciliation acceptable to all interested parties in Myanmar can be achieved at an early date. * The present report is being submitted on 16 October 2002 so as to include as much up-to-date information as possible..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations A/57/484
Format/size: pdf (53K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: CHR 2002: Report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 18 March 2002
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/2002/35)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: CHR 2001: Report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 22 March 2001
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/2001/33)
Alternate URLs: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=2340
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: GA 2000: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 20 October 2000
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (A/50/509)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Behind Closed Door
Date of publication: March 2000
Description/subject: On March 5-6, diplomats and officials from 14 countries met with Burma experts and representatives of the United Nations and the World Bank in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the possibility of new initiatives to end Burma’s political impasse. This “brainstorming session” ended, predictably, with no fresh ideas and no indication that Asian and Western nations had come any closer to a consensus on how to deal with the situation inside Burma. But far from being yet another diplomatic nonevent, “Chilston II”, the follow-up to a similar meeting that took place in Chilston, England nearly two years ago, may mark a significant shift in the direction of international efforts to resolve the Burmese stalemate.
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 8, No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 18 February 2009

Title: CHR 1999: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 07 April 1999
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/1999/29)
Alternate URLs: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=1447
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: "Carrot" from Chilston to Rangoon
Date of publication: December 1998
Description/subject: When the UN assistant secretary general met leaders of the ruling State Peace and Development Council last time in October, this year, he sprang a surprise on them - the UN and the World Bank, he told them, were willing to discuss the possibility of offering humanitarian and technical assistance to Burma if thepolitical deadlock could be broken.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Yangon to UN: Thanks, But . .
Date of publication: December 1998
Description/subject: "We welcome any assistance from anywhere that is offered with goodwill and sincerity. And we will consider it when it comes. But for us, giving a banana to the monkey and then asking it to dance is not the way. We are not monkeys..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 6, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: GA 1998: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 10 November 1998
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (A/53/657)
Alternate URLs: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=5404
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: GA 1997: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 10 November 1997
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (A/52/587)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: CHR 1997: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 27 March 1997
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/1997/129)
Alternate URLs: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=803
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: CHR 1996: Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar
Date of publication: 17 April 1996
Language: English (Francais, Espanol non disponible)
Source/publisher: United Nations (E/CN.4/1996/157)
Alternate URLs: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/alldocs.aspx?doc_id=614
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: International IDEA's Burma page
Language: English
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 August 2010