Rebalancing the Kyaukphyu Equation

Min Htee 25 Jan 2021

What will be the outcome and credibility of the main feasibility study on the Kyaukphyu-Mandalay railway? These are very important questions. China is ready to pursue its strategy of undermining international criticism of its projects in Myanmar.

Neither Stick nor Carrot in the Peace Process

Rammar Kyaw Saw 15 Jan 2021

There has been no fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army in Arakan State for more than two months. Meanwhile, the Arakan Army released three NLD candidates from Taungup Township as a result of negotiations between the Tatmadaw and the ethnic armed group. No more fighting in Arakan State, but there are still landmine explosions. Another problem is that some IDPs are reluctant to return home because Tatmadaw troops are still stationed near their villages.

Is Ballot Box Politics Out of Fashion in Arakan?

Tin Aung Ko 13 Jan 2021

Arakan State, one of Myanmar’s 14 administrative regions, has a population of 3.1 million, comprised of two main communities: the Arakan (Rakhine) Buddhist majority and, second-largest, the Muslim community, with smaller ethnic groups of different faiths.

Searching for Union Spirit in Arakan at Independence, and Today

04 Jan 2021

U Aung Zan Wai was also the only Arakanese politician who travelled to Panglong for the forging of the Panglong Agreement in 1947. In Arakan politics, there was a parliamentary grouping, led by the former Prime Minister Sir Paw Tun on the nationalist right. Then, on the left, the armed Arakan People’s Liberation Party was established by the leadership of U Seinda in November 1945.

The Price of Life and Dignity in Arakan State 2020

28 Dec 2020

In July, a Tatmadaw column entered Chainkharli village in Rathedaung Township and shot dead U Maung Tun Sein, a 60-year-old vendor, according to his wife. She fled to avoid being shot herself, leaving her husband’s body behind.

Myanmar’s Democratic Colonialism

27 Dec 2020

Colonialism is the policy of a country seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, and attendant suppression and exploitation of colonised people. Countries colonise others by various means including waging wars, trading, and interfering in the internal affairs of the targeted countries, including the introduction of the colonisers’ religions. Countries such as Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal have exercised colonialism in Asia, South America, Africa and elsewhere in Europe. 

Japan and Signs of Détente in Arakan State

14 Dec 2020

Since a conflict in Arakan State that began in late 2018 has more recently subsided, both Myanmar’s military and the Arakan Army (AA) confirmed last month that there was a mediator in peace negotiations between the two sides. Not long after, the Japanese special envoy for national reconciliation in Myanmar arrived in Arakan State.   

What Does the NLD’s Election Loss in Arakan Demand for Arakan’s Future Politics?

23 Nov 2020

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s charismatic and legal-rational legitimacy, in line with Max Weber’s framework, does not work in Arakan State despite it having a largely positive impact in most other parts of the country. Her image has been damaged in the Rakhine community for, among other reasons, her unilateral decisions regarding the Arakan State government’s installation, the arrest of the popular leader Dr. Aye Maung, and as a result of her stance in armed conflict issues with the Arakan Army.

2020 Election Will Deepen Legitimacy Crisis in Arakan

28 Oct 2020

Although the UEC has the legal authority to cancel or postpone voting in line with Section 10(f) of the UEC law, the National League for Democracy (NLD) government and the military have the informal power to influence those decisions politically. Thus, the cancellations raise questions as to whether the NLD and military have the political will to hold elections in Arakan.

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. 

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