Opinion - The Irrawaddy

The sudden removal of one of Myanmar’s most powerful men sent shockwaves through the diplomatic community in the old capital of Yangon, where foreign embassies are still located. It seemed more like a midnight coup than an ordinary leadership reshuffle—security forces in the new capital, Naypyidaw, entered the headquarters of the de facto ruling party, […]

Thein Sein has played the game well, guiding a “reform” process that keeps the establishment powers on side. Will this count in his favor post-November?

Like it or not, Burma’s incumbent President Thein Sein appears perfectly placed to make a run for the presidency in 2016. A key reason is that the 70-year-old former general has proven himself to be a wily political operator able to claim a central role in guiding a limited reform process that has not threatened […]

Today, The Irrawaddy launches its 2015 election website, with its Burmese companion to also go live in the coming weeks. We’re calling it Burma Votes 2015, and we hope you take that to heart. Not because this election represents everything democracy advocates want it to be; not because your ballot will be the silver bullet […]

As prospects for a Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement loom large, the question of what will happen in the aftermath of an accord becomes ever more important.

Fukuyama’s Flawed Take on Burma

Contributing writer Jared Naimark challenges neoliberal recommendations made by political theorist Francis Fukuyama during a recent interview with The Irrawaddy.

Unity Falters as Ethnic Groups Mull Peace Prospects

Ethnic armed groups negotiating a nationwide ceasefire with Burma’s government since 2013 have largely presented a united front, but divisions are growing.

Burma has a national election coming up in a few months, and its outcome is uncertain. But one thing is already clear: Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the immensely popular leader of the democratic opposition, won’t be a candidate for president. That’s because the country’s military-dominated political establishment has refused […]

Is Burma’s Opposition Ready for the Post-Suu Kyi Era?

National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has soured relations with the 88 Generation, ethnic political parties and civil society groups.

As the political fallout from last week’s internal purge of Burma’s ruling party continues to be calculated, all eyes will be fixed on Shwe Mann when Parliament resumes on Tuesday for its final session before the country’s much anticipated nationwide election in November. Will the ousted party chairman, who remains speaker of Burma’s Union Parliament, […]

Shadows of the Past in Shwe Mann’s Sudden Fall from Grace

The infamous political purges of Burma’s junta-era were recalled on Wednesday night, as parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann was purged from the ruling party.

In Burma, a House Divided Against Itself

The opposition National League for Democracy’s handling of candidate selections for Burma’s upcoming general election risks fracturing the country’s democracy movement.

An Open Letter to Ma Ba Tha

How can adherents of a religion that teaches loving kindness and compassion for all living beings be people who preach hatred?

In Remote Paletwa, Flooded Communities Face Unseen Struggle to Survive

Paletwa Township in Chin State has been one of the hardest hit and most underreported jurisdictions in flood-ravaged western Burma.

Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict: Time to Act

British Ambassador to Burma Andrew Patrick says the UK is stepping up efforts to support women’s rights and prevent sexual violence in the country.

Marking Karen Martyrs Day, A Soldier Speaks of Armed Struggle

Wednesday marks the 65th Karen Martyrs’ Day, commemorating the death of Saw Ba U Gyi, first president of the KNU, in a Burma Army ambush.

To End Sexual Violence, British Government Can’t Avoid Elephant in the Room

If the British government is serious about ending sexual violence in Burma, difficult choices will have to be made.

Human Rights Defenders Continue to Suffer in Burma

Despite recent political reforms, activists frequently remain the target of violence, torture, abuse, and sometimes even enforced disappearance and extrajudicial killing.

Burma’s Draft Prison Law is Too Vague to Protect Inmates

The draft Prison Law currently being debated in Naypyidaw dampens hopes that the prison system is about to undergo the substantive reforms it urgently needs.

Many locals are not pleased by the release of 155 Chinese loggers, claiming that while the sentence was extreme, so is exoneration.