Old Problems and a New Normal in Arakan State

17 Oct 2020

The Arakan Army, like its many counterparts in other parts of the country, is a product of the failure to find a federal and democratic solution to long-standing political problems. Regrettably, the current civilian government under the leadership of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which came to power advocating both democracy and federalism, still fails to live up to these professed principles, not least by refusing to deal with minority ethnic groups as political equals. 

Ballots Over Bullets This November in Arakan State

25 Sep 2020

The ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) has not fielded candidates in some townships of northern Arakan State, prompting an interesting question to consider: Why did the NLD, which won a landslide victory in the 2015 general election, decide not to contest some seats in Arakan State?

What Are Ethnic Political Parties’ Electoral Aspirations?

15 Sep 2020

Campaigning is underway in Myanmar as Election Day draws nearer. We can see clear differences between the campaigning of the big political parties vying for seats nationwide and the campaigning of ethnic political parties contesting seats based on geography and ethnic identities.

Decentralising Arakan State’s Coronavirus Response

08 Sep 2020

Trade flows for commodities during the outbreak have been impacted but are continuing — for now. But no one knows how long the current outbreak will last, nor how much more restricting of the movement of people and goods might be in store. If the infection rate remains high, people of irregular income might face starvation.

Use Coronavirus Outbreak to Push for Peace 

Min Htee 31 Aug 2020

Under the current government, Myanmar’s peace process has faced multiple delays. Meanwhile the government has made not a single remark on the situation of human rights breaches in Arakan State, including the deaths of civilians while in Tatmadaw custody.

Coronavirus Outbreak Will Test Foundations of Arakan Society, Government

25 Aug 2020

With all of this in mind, it is important that authorities avoid over- or underreacting to the current COVID-19 threat level. More importantly, the government will need to show an ability to adapt to changing circumstances and adjust its strategy for combating the virus if the situation in Arakan State becomes significantly worse.

A Fight for Legitimacy Amid Arakan’s Changing Political Landscape

25 Jul 2020

Since Myanmar is a weak State, it is more susceptible to being substituted in reality or in people’s minds by the likes of the Arakan Authority, an interim governance body forged by the AA’s political wing, the United League of Arakan (ULA). On June 19, Arakan News published a story about the AA-affiliated Authority settling a land dispute issue ...

Sittwe Needs a Rule of Law Reckoning

Rammar Kyaw Saw 08 Jul 2020

In recent months and years, there have been far too few major criminal cases (and/or crimes that attracted significant public interest) in which the perpetrators have been brought to justice. No wonder then that the residents of Sittwe feel they are not safe. 

The costs of war make peace priceless

Nay Yaung Min 25 Jun 2020

Fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army that began in late 2018 has displaced more than 150,000 civilians in Arakan State. Although it has been more than a year, there is no sign of the hostilities coming to an end anytime soon.  

Amid fear and suspicion, young Arakanese lives on the brink

Ramma Kyaw Saw 01 Jun 2020

The number of Arakanese youths who have lost their lives after an encounter with the increasing number of Tatmadaw checkpoints along the Sittwe-Yangon road has also increased. According to the military’s statements, most often the ostensible reason that they are shot dead is that they were somehow linked to the AA, regardless of what the families or local residents say.

The NLD’s Broken Promises in Arakan

Aung Kyaw 27 May 2020

Myanmar is gearing up for a general election later this year that will pit the NLD against dozens of other political parties including many “ethnic” alternatives. Mindful of the looming polls, here we evaluate the extent to which the NLD government has delivered on these key commitments — to the rule of law, finding political solutions and federal principles — in the context of Arakan State.

All is not fair in love and war

Zaw Zaw 13 May 2020

Several civilians were killed by artillery shells that landed on Kyauk Seik village in Ponnagyun Township, Arakan State, on April 13. Photos and videos of this tragedy have circulated on social media and the carnage was also covered by the press. 

Seeing war in Arakan for what it is, envisioning its end

Khaing Kyaw Sun 01 May 2020

In Myanmar, the leaders of Kachin and Karen armed groups did not think their armed conflicts with the government would last many decades. But wars like these could not be ended when the demands of the respective ethnic armed groups were not met, and those groups’ resolve remained steadfast,

Elucidating the spirit of peace

Khaing Kyaw Sun 30 Apr 2020

Although those in power can often get away with misdeeds and injustices, it is usually the general populace who feel the weight of shame for the wrongdoing of their leaders. To this day, Germans feel a sense of disgrace due to the horrific era of Hitler and his henchmen. The world experienced the worst atrocities in human history during Hitler’s 12-year reign from 1933 to 1945.

Ceasefire, internet in Arakan will slow spread of COVID-19

Kun San Lwin 22 Apr 2020

The government’s stated reason for the internet shutdown was due to the ongoing conflict in the region, which has shown no signs of abating despite the COVID-19 outbreak. In an April 10 statement, the Myanmar Foreign Affairs Ministry explained that the internet shutdown was “to prevent the misuse of the internet by the Arakan Army (AA) for their political and military agenda.”

Anxious days for journalists in Myanmar

Mya Hnin Thu 15 Apr 2020

In Myanmar, a country that has only been practicing its most recent version of democracy for about a decade, journalists and media outlets are struggling with more than just financial viability. We have been reminded of this in recent weeks, as a handful of journalists became the latest to face undue threats to their lives and livelihoods.

Preventing the spread of coronavirus and greed in Arakan State

Rammar Kyaw Saw 13 Apr 2020

Arakan State is currently facing hardships from all corners. It is very important to get enough food to more than 150,000 internally displaced people (IDPs). The government provides some food supplies, but it is meagre. Local charity groups have to collect donations to provide basic provisions such as rice, cooking oil, salt, chili and onion for them. When food prices increase markedly, as is currently the case, it is difficult for charity groups to provide relief aid for IDPs.

Internet inequity exacerbates Arakan State’s woes 

Nay Myo Lin 08 Apr 2020

Arakan State’s situation is complicated, with ongoing armed conflict and tense intercommunal dynamics between the state’s Buddhist and Muslim populations. The internet — often bemoaned as a vehicle for the spread of “fake news” and false information — under such circumstances can also be a tool to combat deceit.  

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