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Ethnic groups in Burma: general studies and articles

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Title: Myanmar’s unreliable narrators
Date of publication: 04 May 2014
Description/subject: "Teaching, although not always highly regarded, does afford a valuable perspective on aspects of a country and in this case – ethnicity. Last year I was fortunate enough to teach on an academic development course which enrolled students from across the country; Wa Chin, Karen- even a young Rohingya man were among our particularly diverse cohort. So when I thought about the upcoming census and the heated question of ethnicity, I considered it in terms of that school and of those students. And I realised there was particular problem when asking someone their ethnicity – it is subjective. It is likely to shift depending on who they spoke to. They were often unreliable narrators of their own identity..."
Author/creator: Matthew Gibbons
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 July 2014


Title: Racing for answers in divided Myanmar
Date of publication: 13 June 2012
Description/subject: "Over at The Irrawaddy Violet Cho has weighed into the debate on violence in western Myanmar with a thoughtful contribution. She questions prevailing assumptions about race and ethnicity in the Myanmar context. In doing so she opens up a range of other – potentially far more fruitful – areas for analysis and discussion. This strikes me as a very worthwhile undertaking at such a contested and uncertain time. Highlighting issues that have tended to receive insufficient attention, Cho writes: Western Burma is one of the poorest regions of the country. The significant investment that exists is primarily in resources, which hardly benefits local people. Poverty and state repression leads to intense frustration that does not have an easy outlet and can be seen as a common root cause of communal violence around the world. And she goes on to argue that: Class and the experience of state repression also form a key commonality amongst those involved in the violence, both perpetrators and victims. In everyday life, people involved in the violence arguably have a lot more in common with each other than rich, urban-based members of their respective ethnic groups and/or religions that they may identify with. This is often drowned out by nationalist talk, fear and hatred. We should be looking at these and other commonalities rather than emphasizing difference and division. I can’t imagine that those who have been so quick to trade spiteful jabs in recent days, here on New Mandala and elsewhere, will pay much attention to Cho’s commentary. But I expect that one day soon a more considered conversation about ethnicity in Myanmar will need to emerge. The past six decades provide ample evidence that knitting together the country’s fraying ethnic fabric requires more than stale rhetoric about unity and non-disintegration. In such a conversation, time will likely be of the essence. In the immediate aftermath of the conflict in Rakhine State it would make sense for Myanmar’s leaders to start inter-ethnic discussions afresh, perhaps with some of Cho’s ideas ringing in their ears. This could be an opportunity to do things differently. What some people fear is that without prompt attention the country may, sadly, face a future where inter-communal strife, of one sort or another, continues to define the political landscape. That outcome would indicate a failure of leadership which, given everything that is at stake in the current transitional process, Myanmar can’t afford."
Author/creator: Nicholas Farrelly
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 July 2014


Title: "Myanmar (Burma) bibliography"
Date of publication: 24 October 2004
Description/subject: An annotated bilbliography of more than two dozen books published over the last twenty years on minority ethnic groups in Burma. Although the main interest of the compiler, Pamela Cross, is on textiles, the list iteself provides a very useful introduction to a broad range of information about these groups. Similar bibliographies for minority groups in adjoining countries are easily accessible from the same site. The most recent item dates from 2003.
Language: English
Source/publisher: tribaltextiles.info
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 January 2005


Title: Non-Burman groups - Sources and Further Reading
Description/subject: Useful list, with a General section followed by links for the different non-Burman peoples.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Minority Rights Group
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2014


Individual Documents

Title: Myanmar's minorities face multi-faced jeopardy
Date of publication: 23 January 2014
Description/subject: "Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing. The international community, whose Western representatives so readily flock to Myanmar in both good will and selfish interest, is often an unwitting contributor to the country's persistent instability. This will likely lead not to intended peace but to more unwanted war until certain facts are fully faced..."
Author/creator: Tim Heinemann
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Asia Times Online"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 May 2014


Title: Excluded - Burma’s Ethnic Nationalities on the Margins of Development & Democracy
Date of publication: December 2012
Description/subject: "This report presents documented evidence that ethnic nationalities directly affected by development projects in Burma are systematically denied their right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC). While development related abuse has been well documented, no report has shed light on the staggering scale of the widespread denial of participation rights in Burma...Our research shows that: • Close to 90% of those surveyed did not receive any information about the development project before it was started by a decision maker. In all but 2 sites, not one person was given any information. • Approximately 80% of the total survey population did not know who to contact or where to go to find out more information about the project. In 3 sites, the figure soared to 100%. • Less than 1% said a public forum was held by a project decision maker where the local community could attend. • Of the total sample population, less than 2% felt they would not be punished if they sought information about the project. • Close to half (44.1%) felt unsafe seeking further information about the project, while 45.2% were not sure whether it was safe or unsafe. • Less than 1% experienced positive impacts from the development project... This report is meant to serve as a warning of the risks entailed in denying participation rights as well as a reminder to potential investors of their human rights obligations..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Nationalities Youth Forum (NY-Forum) and Students Youth Congress of Burma (SYCB)
Format/size: pdf (1.9MB)
Date of entry/update: 15 May 2013


Title: MYANMAR: Census offers hope to ethnic groups
Date of publication: 16 May 2012
Description/subject: CHIANG MAI, 16 May 2012 (IRIN) - "A recent decision to undertake a national census could prove key to empowering Myanmar’s more than 100 ethnic groups, provided it is inclusive and conducted to international standards. “Potentially, the census would have a very positive affect on the ethnic areas and could serve to support claims for ethnic rights in education, language and culture that in some areas is repressed by the state and military,” David Scott Mathieson, a senior researcher in the Asia division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), told IRIN. The government lists 135 ethnic groups, comprising more than a third of Burma’s 55 million inhabitants, which are grouped into eight national races: Burman, Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. The United Nations agreed on 30 April 2012 to assist the Burmese government in conducting its first census in 31 years. The project will start in April 2014, ahead of the next general election in 2015..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: IRIN
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 17 May 2012


Title: Burma's New Government: Prospects for Governance and Peace in Ethnic States
Date of publication: 29 May 2011
Description/subject: Conclusions and Recommendations: * Two months after a new government took over the reins of power in Burma, it is too early to make any definitive assessment of the prospects for improved governance and peace in ethnic areas. Initial signs give some reason for optimism, but the difficulty of overcoming sixty years of conflict and strongly-felt grievances and deep suspicions should not be underestimated... * The economic and geostrategic realities are changing fast, and they will have a fundamental impact – positive and negative – on Burma’s borderlands. But unless ethnic communities are able to have much greater say in the governance of their affairs, and begin to see tangible benefits from the massive development projects in their areas, peace and broadbased development will remain elusive... * The new decentralized governance structures have the potential to make a positive contribution in this regard, but it is unclear if they can evolve into sufficiently powerful and genuinely representative bodies quickly enough to satisfy ethnic * There has been renewed fighting in Shan State, and there are warning signs that more ethnic ceasefires could break down. Negotiations with armed groups and an improved future for long-marginalized ethnic populations is the only way that peace can be achieved.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI) & Burma Centrum Nederland (BCN). Burma Policy Briefing Nr 6, May 2011
Format/size: pdf (352K - OBL version; 1.1MB - original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/bpb6.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 May 2011


Title: Ethnic Politics in Burma: The Time for Solutions
Date of publication: February 2011
Description/subject: Conclusions and Recommendations: * An inclusive endgame has long been needed to achieve national reconciliation. But political and ethnic exclusions are continuing in national politics. If divisions persist, Burma’s legacy of state failure and national under-achievement will continue... * The moment of opportunity of a new government should not be lost. It is vital that the new government pursues policies that support dialogue and participation for all peoples in the new political and economic system. Policies that favour the armed forces and military solutions will perpetuate divisions and instability... * Opposition groups must face how their diversity and disunity have contributed to Burma’s history of state failure. If they are to support democratic and ethnic reforms, national participation and unity over goals and tactics are essential. All sides must transcend the divisions of the past... * As the new political era begins, the international community should prioritise policies that promote conflict resolution, political rights and equitable opportunity for all ethnic groups in national life, including the economy, health and education. Continued repression and exclusion will deepen grievances – not resolve them.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute (TNI) & Burma Centrum Nederland (BCN). Burma Policy Briefing Nr 5, February 2011
Format/size: pdf (462K - OBL version; 1.26 - original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/TNI-BCN%20Burma%20policy%20briefing%20no.%205.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 May 2011


Title: Listening to Voices from Inside: Ethnic People Speak
Date of publication: June 2010
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Listening to Voices from Inside: Ethnic People Speak showcases the voices of people from civil society, and of different ethnic groups, who are rarely heard. Myanmar is an extremely ethnically diverse country. Regrettably, inter-ethnic conflict is a fundamental dynamic in Myanmar’s protracted civil war. Despite this, ethnic diversity and interethnic conflict seldom capture the attention of the international community who have a tendency to see inter-ethnic conflict as adjunct to the quest for peace and democracy in Myanmar. This publication, the result of a foundational study, presents the voices of eighty-seven civil society members from different ethnic groups who live in Myanmar. It documents their perceptions of opportunities and challenges in key areas of interactions with other ethnic groups, government and military relations, education, employment, health, and culture. It records their vision for the future and how external organisations can support that vision. Listening to Voices from Inside: Ethnic People Speak creates a channel for local people to be heard on inter-ethnic issues in Myanmar and is a resource to increase understanding of the issues among external and domestic actors. It brings inter-ethnic conflict back from the periphery to argue that transforming inter-ethnic conflict is central to building peace and democracy in Myanmar. The following summarises the key points under each section:..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
Format/size: pdf (1.43MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.centrepeaceconflictstudies.org/publications/
Date of entry/update: 23 June 2010


Title: Burma's Ethnic Jigsaw Puzzle
Date of publication: October 2008
Description/subject: "A new study on ethnic politics in Burma surveys a bewildering field and points the way forward...Whereas Smith's book was about conflict and ethnic identity, and Lintner's about conflict, state building and narcotics, Ashley South explores all these topics and then looks at contemporary debates on development and forced displacement, with a more academic discussion of shifting "identities" in Burma. Given the sheer range and depth of all these issues, South overviews them skillfully. The purpose of the book is to inject greater complexity and detail into the debates over ethnic politics: the role of resurgent civil society in ethnic ceasefire areas and the cities of Burma; the ethnic groups' constrained participation in the military government's national convention; and the uneven performance of local development projects. With a timely epilogue taking into account the effects of Cyclone Nargis, South suggests there are now opportunities in Burma for meaningful participation in national politics for Burma's long-suffering and splintered ethnic nationalities if they pursue a considerable strategic rethink -- what South calls "review, reform and re-engage..."
Author/creator: Review by David Mathieson of Ashley South's "Ethnic Politics in Burma: States of Conflict"
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 10
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 14 November 2008


Title: Bridging Cultures in Ethnic Burma: a review of "Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma"
Date of publication: October 2007
Description/subject: "Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma" by Mikael Gravers (ed.). Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Copenhagen, 2007. P283... ‘Unity in Diversity’ was Aung San’s dream, but can it be achieved?... "...The “Myanmarization,” or “Myanmarfication,” of the country—or the idea that all the various national groups of today’s Burma have a common “Myanmar” identity—has been promoted by Burma’s post-1988 military governments, replacing Aung San’s more realistic policy of “unity in diversity,” in accordance with which the Union of Burma was created in 1948. However, in spite of assurances that this volume contains “recurrent themes” such as “the dynamics of ethnicity and the formation of ethnic identity,” it is hard for the ordinary reader to detect any common approach to the question of ethnicity in Burma among this collection of papers originally presented at a Burma studies conference in Sweden in 2002. Some of the papers are interesting and informative — especially Karin Dean’s analysis of the Kachin political landscape and Ashley South’s account of the Mon national movement following a ceasefire agreement between the Mon rebels and the Rangoon government in the 1990s..."
Author/creator: Bertil Lintner
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 10
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=8903
Date of entry/update: 29 April 2008


Title: The Cuckoo’s Song
Date of publication: September 2005
Description/subject: Press freedom thrives in Burma’s exile ethnic communities... "Although they can’t qualify as mass media, Burma’s independent, ethnic news services are surprisingly active and resilient. They trumpet their defiant messages under titles like Guiding Star, Kao Wao (meaning cuckoo) and the Kantarawaddy Times, and reach small but loyal groups of readers in ethnic border regions, refugee camps and exile communities abroad..."
Author/creator: Louis Reh
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2006


Title: Ethnic Minority Politics
Date of publication: 07 May 2003
Description/subject: "While the world's attention for the past decade has focused on the struggle between Myanmar's military government and the political opposition, the underlying conflicts between the central government and ethnic minority groups perhaps represent a more fundamental and intractable obstacle to peace, development and democracy. The basic grievance of ethnic minorities in Myanmar is their lack of influence on the political process. However, they also face a major challenge to build political and organisational capacity to ensure that they are not left out of potential negotiations on the future of the country and can continue to represent the interests of their communities... Myanmar is one of the ethnically most diverse countries in the world and throughout its existence as an independent state has experienced a complex set of conflicts between the central government and ethnic minority groups seeking autonomy. While the world's attention for the past decade has focused on the struggle between the military government and the political opposition over national power, these underlying conflicts perhaps represent a more fundamental and intractable obstacle to peace, development and democracy..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group
Format/size: pdf (645 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-east-asia/burma-myanmar/052-myanmar-backgrounder-ethnic-minority-politics.aspx
Date of entry/update: 14 December 2010


Title: Burma/Myanmar: Time for Change
Date of publication: 17 July 2002
Description/subject: "This timely report gives an overview of the major minority ethnic groups and their situation and prospects within Burma today. Major human rights issues are also discussed: extra-judicial killings, displacement of populations, forced labour, illegal use of landmines and child soldiers. The author considers the position of women, restrictions on freedom of expression and the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS and the trade in narcotics."
Author/creator: Martin Smith
Language: English
Source/publisher: Minority Rights Group
Format/size: PDF (640K) 48 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.minorityrights.org/download.php?id=133
Date of entry/update: 24 November 2010


Title: Burmese Politics and the Broken Unity
Date of publication: May 2002
Description/subject: "Recognizing Burma's diversity is the first step to achieving real unity. "I have always wanted to see unity," declared Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a recent interview with The Irrawaddy shortly after her release from house arrest. She was addressing the notion of unity among opposition groups within and outside the country, which in her eyes, are in disarray. Certainly, the current fragmentation among opposition groups does not bode well for democracy in Burma..."
Author/creator: Aung Naing Oo
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 4, May 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Myanmar’s Minority Conundrum: Issues of Ethnicity and Authority
Date of publication: 07 July 2001
Description/subject: Paper given in Tokyo at the Japan Institute of International Affairs, in the lecture series ‘At the Front Lines of Conflict Prevention in Asia’. "The issue of the status and authority of the one-third of the population of Myanmar (Burma), composed of diverse indigenous non-Burman peoples, remains the most intractable of the problems facing the Burmese state since independence in 1948.1 The sharing of political power in some manner acceptable to the local populations, and social and economic equity among these diverse peoples are all related to, but even more fundamental and difficult of solution than, the issue of the political form of government that has bedeviled the state for decades. Burma-Myanmar has been on the brink of fragmentation because of the diffuse, often antithetical, perceptions of these issues by one or more ethnic groups since independence..." David I. Steinberg Georgetown University
Author/creator: David Steinberg
Language: English
Source/publisher: Japan Institute of International Affairs
Format/size: html (167K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Breaking Through the Clouds: A Participatory Action Research (PAR) Project with Migrant Children and Youth Along the Borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand
Date of publication: May 2001
Description/subject: 1. Introduction; 1.1. Background; 1.2. Project Profile; 1.3. Project Objectives; 2. The Participatory Action Research (PAR) Process; 2.1. Methods of Working with Migrant Children and Youth; 2.2. Implementation Strategy; 2.3. Ethical Considerations; 2.4. Research Team; 2.5. Sites and Participants; 2.6. Establishing Research Guidelines; 2.7. Data Collection Tools; 2.8. Documentation; 2.9. Translation; 2.10Country and Regional Workshops; 2.11Analysis, Methods of Reporting Findings and Dissemination Strategy; 2.12. Obstacles and Limitations; 3. PAR Interventions; 3.1. Strengthening Social Structures; 3.2. Awareness Raising; 3.3. Capacity Building; 3.4. Life Skills Development; 3.5. Outreach Services; 3.6. Networking and Advocacy; 4. The Participatory Review; 4.1. Aims of the Review; 4.2. Review Guidelines; 4.3. Review Approach and Tools; 4.4. Summary of Review Outcomes; 4.4.1. Myanmar; 4.4.2. Thailand; 4.4.3. China; 5. Conclusion and Recommendations; 6. Bibliography of Resources.
Author/creator: Therese Caouette et al
Language: English
Source/publisher: Save the Children (UK)
Format/size: pdf (191K) 75 pages
Date of entry/update: May 2003


Title: Small Dreams Beyond Reach: The Lives of Migrant Children and Youth Along the Borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand
Date of publication: 2001
Description/subject: A Participatory Action Research Project of Save the Children(UK)... 1. Introduction; 2. Background; 2.1. Population; 2.2. Geography; 2.3. Political Dimensions; 2.4. Economic Dimensions; 2.5. Social Dimensions; 2.6. Vulnerability of Children and Youth; 3. Research Design; 3.1. Project Objectives; 3.2. Ethical Considerations; 3.3. Research Team; 3.4. Research Sites and Participants; 3.5. Data Collection Tools; 3.6. Data Analysis Strategy; 3.7. Obstacles and Limitations; 4. Preliminary Research Findings; 4.1. The Migrants; 4.2. Reasons for migrating; 4.3. Channels of Migration; 4.4. Occupations; 4.5. Working and Living Conditions; 4.6. Health; 4.7. Education; 4.8. Drugs; 4.9. Child Labour; 4.10. Trafficking of Persons; 4.11. Vulnerabilities of Children; 4.12. Return and Reintegration; 4.13. Community Responses; 5. Conclusion and Recommendations... Recommendations to empower migrant children and youth in the Mekong sub-region... "This report provides an awareness of the realities and perspectives among migrant children, youth and their communities, as a means of building respect and partnerships to address their vulnerabilities to exploitation and abusive environments. The needs and concerns of migrants along the borders of China, Myanmar and Thailand are highlighted and recommendations to address these are made. The main findings of the participatory action research include: * those most impacted by migration are the peoples along the mountainous border areas between China, Myanmar and Thailand, who represent a variety of ethnic groups * both the countries of origin and countries of destination find that those migrating are largely young people and often include children * there is little awareness as to young migrants' concerns and needs, with extremely few interventions undertaken to reach out to them * the majority of the cross-border migrants were young, came from rural areas and had little or no formal education * the decision to migrate is complex and usually involves numerous overlapping factors * migrants travelled a number of routes that changed frequently according to their political and economic situations. The vast majority are identified as illegal immigrants * generally, migrants leave their homes not knowing for certain what kind of job they will actually find abroad. The actual jobs available to migrants were very gender specific * though the living and working conditions of cross-border migrants vary according to the place, job and employer, nearly all the participants noted their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse without protection or redress * for all illnesses, most of the participants explained that it was difficult to access public health services due to distance, cost and/or their illegal status * along all the borders, most of the children did not attend school and among those who did only a very few had finished primary level education * drug production, trafficking and addiction were critical issues identified by the communities at all of the research sites along the borders * child labour was found in all three countries * trafficking of persons, predominantly children and youth, was common at all the study sites * orphaned children along the border areas were found to be the most vulnerable * Migrants frequently considered their options and opportunities to return home Based on the project’s findings, recommendations are made at the conclusion of this report to address the critical issues faced by migrant children and youth along the borders. These recommendations include: methods of working with migrant youth, effective interventions, strategies for advocacy, identification of vulnerable populations and critical issues requiring further research. The following interventions were identified as most effective in empowering migrant children and youth in the Mekong sub-region: life skills training and literacy education, strengthening protection efforts, securing channels for safe return and providing support for reintegration to home countries. These efforts need to be initiated in tandem with advocacy efforts to influence policies and practices that will better protect and serve migrant children and youth."
Author/creator: Therese M. Caouette
Language: English
Source/publisher: Save the Children (UK)
Format/size: pdf (343K) 145 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/54_5205.htm
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/en/docs/small_dreams.pdf
Date of entry/update: May 2003


Title: Ghost Dancing in the Darkest Hour
Date of publication: 31 October 2000
Description/subject: "...Ethnic cleansing has been carried out in much of the Shan and Karenni states. Since 1989 the AIDS virus has spread and the junta is still in denial about it. In the past ten years, new drug routes, heroin refineries, shooting galleries, and amphetamine production have penetrated the mountains. Forced labor is the norm throughout Burma, not only for army portering, but now formilitary profiteering schemes such as logging and mining as well..."
Author/creator: Edith Mirante
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Cultural Survival Quarterly" Issue 24.3
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/ghost-dancing-darkest-hour
Date of entry/update: 20 July 2010


Title: Ethnic issues in Burma: Part 1, The Fourth Burman Empire
Date of publication: April 2000
Description/subject: "...Burma is composed of various ethnic nationalities, including the majority Burman people. The situation of the non-Burman ethnic nationalities has been a political issue in Burma for hundreds of years. The struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma cannot be separated from the struggle for the self-determination by the non-Burman ethnic peoples. Long-term peace, freedom and justice for all people in Burma will never be realised unless the issue of non-Burman ethnic peoples is properly resolved and their rights are guaranteed in accordance with the constitution and other laws. To appreciate the importance of the ethnic issue and the need for its proper political resolution, it is necessary to examine it in depth..."
Author/creator: Aung Htoo
Language: English
Source/publisher: Legal Issues on Burma Journal No. 5 (Burma Lawyers' Council)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The Problems of Myanmar and Myanmar's Problems
Date of publication: 17 March 2000
Description/subject: Asia Regional Consultation on Social Cohesion and Conflict Prevention, March 16-17, 2000; Manila. David I. Steinberg, Georgetown University. Table of Contents: I Introduction: The Contextuality of Social Cleavages. II Cohesion and National Unity: Cleavages, Tensions, and Confrontations: 1. Nationalism and Ethnicity: The Unity of the Union of Burma/Myanmar; 2. The Military-Civil Nexus; 3. Globalization and Nationalism; 4. Centralism and Pluralism; 5. On Orthodoxy; 6. Religious Tension; 7. Geo-Political Issues. III State-Sponsored Attempts at Cohesion: 1. Nationalism; 2. Burman Control; 3. Buddhism; 4. Socialism; 5. The Military. IV The Tatmadaw: Cohesion and Division? V Past Approaches to, and Perceptions of, the Myanmar Miasma. VI Possibilities for Change. VII Lessons Learned. VIII Possibilities for Future Action. IX Coda. Appendices. "Myanmar is an 'imagined community' - state that is not yet a cohesive nation, an entity created sequentially through three 19th century wars evolving out of colonial economic and geo-political interests. The internal bonds that seemed to cement that country before independence in 1948 were based on the exercise of colonial power, serving both to force an artificial internal cohesion while simultaneously creating detached and separate ethnic groups, some of which were governed under a different British administration. Governments since independence in 1948 have, sometimes unintentionally, exacerbated existing cleavages and created new ones, thus reducing national cohesiveness even as it was titularly strengthened under a unitary state and creating divisive forces that will be difficult to re-meld. The rhetoric of national cohesion must be analytically examined in the light of the reality of its attempted enforcement..."
Author/creator: David Steinberg
Language: English
Source/publisher: Asian Development Bank-World Bank
Format/size: HTML (447K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Ethnic Groups in Burma: Development, Democracy and Human Rights
Date of publication: November 1994
Description/subject: "...For a generation Burma languished behind closed doors. Then suddenly, in the summer of 1988, the doors burst open as angry protests were violently put down by the security forces and the chilling scenes made headline news around the world. 'In-depth pieces' reported on the political and civil repression that had been going on for years. But there was little examination then, and there has been little since, of the targeted repression which had been going on, and is continuing, against whole groups of people - Burma's ethnic minority groups. Burma is a country of proud cultural and historic traditions, and it is rich in natural resources. But nearly half a century of conflict has left Burma with a legacy of deep-rooted problems and weakened its ability to cope with a growing host of new ones: economic and social collapse; hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people; environmental degradation; narcotics; and AIDS. These problems touch on the lives of all Burmese citizens. But it is members of ethnic minority groups who have suffered the most, and who have had even less say over their lives and the destiny of their peoples than the majority 'Burmans'. Many minorities claim that a policy of 'Burmanisation' is manifest. Amidst the upheavals, gross human rights abuses have been committed, including the conscription, over the years, of millions into compulsory labour duties, the ill-treatment or extrajudicial executions of ethnic minority villagers in war-zones, and the forcible relocation of entire communities..."
Author/creator: Martin Smith
Language: English
Source/publisher: Anti-Slavery International
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
Date of entry/update: 18 November 2005


Title: HISTORISCHE ENTWICKLUNG DER ETHNISCHEN KONFLIKTE IN MYANMAR / BURMA
Description/subject: Vor der Ankunft der britischen Kolonialmacht waren die burmanischen Königreiche zwar die dominierende politische Kraft, ihre Herrschaft über die Minderheiten blieb aber beschränkt. Zu keinem Zeitpunkt in der vorkolonialen Geschichte bemühten sich die Monarchen darum, die Minderheiten unter Zwang zu assimilieren. Politisch relevant wurde die ethnische Zugehörigkeit erst unter der britischen Kolonialherrschaft, als das Land in das direkt verwaltete Burma proper (Burma an sich) und in die indirekt verwalteten frontier areas (Grenzgebiete), das vornehmliche Siedlungsgebiet der Minderheiten, geteilt wurde. Karen (KNU); Panglong-Abkommen; Waffenstillstandsabkommen; History of ethnic conflicts in Burma; Karen (KNU); Panglong-Agreement; Ceasefire Agreements;
Author/creator: Heike Löschmann
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung
Format/size: html (25k)
Date of entry/update: 19 October 2007