In what some are seeing as the first step toward a stronger assertion of its interests in Myanmar, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will arrive on May 1 in the country’s first high-level engagement with Myanmar since the National League for Democracy government took office. The minister will meet President U Htin Kyaw and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who also holds the post of foreign minister.
For the first time in over half a century, Myanmar has a government with a popular mandate, led by the National League for Democracy. Although the armed forces still have extensive political powers under the 2008 constitution, and may seriously curtail the independent action of the new government, the inauguration of President U Htin Kyaw represents a radical increase in the internal and international legitimacy of the Myanmar state.
April 6, 2016: a neologism enters the already-overcrowded field of political vocabulary as a military member of parliament, Brigadier General Maung Maung, accuses the majority National League for Democracy of “democratic bullying”.
Slavery and trafficking: ugly, evil businesses that undermine the most basic human rights and must never be tolerated.
This week, Myanmar’s economy will virtually pause for five days of intense celebrations. Thingyan, the water festival that celebrates the passing into a New Year, is of course a period of happiness and joy, but it also has a dark side to it. Last year the Myanmar Police Force reported that 16 people died and 356 more were injured because of traffic accidents and crimes. In many of the traffic fatalities drunk driving was a factor.
Thingyan festival is almost upon us and once more Myanmar is witnessing a descent into holiday madness – not so much in terms of exuberant revelry, but in yet another outrageous move by local authorities that impacts on the rights of women.
In October 2013, we commented on the need for the reform of agriculture and closely related fields, including veterinary science, in Myanmar. In particular, we suggested reform of the training of graduates who support agricultural, veterinary and related fields by creating a comprehensive university to train them.