Contributors - The Irrawaddy
Posthumous Award Revives Memories of a Shan Prince

The late Sao Kya Seng, the last Shan prince of Hsipaw, is honored with a Distinguished Achievement Medal commending outstanding professional achievements.


The durability of the Burmese military establishment can be explained in reference to several key bulwarks. In military parlance, these might be referred to as ‘defensive lines,’ employed to ensure the army’s preeminent position. The first key attribute of power is its monopoly of force, selectively applied both in actuality and through intimation. But even […]

Ringed by police and army checkpoints, Aung Mingalar in Sittwe is a stark ongoing reminder of the deadly communal violence that rocked Arakan State in 2012.

Asean members are still struggling to surrender any political sovereignty, the key to becoming the powerhouse regional community they say they want to be.

Tie a blindfold around a man’s eyes, spin him around three times, hand him a dart and tell him to hit the bull’s-eye. This is the picture that comes to mind when one considers the ongoing effort by Union Election Commission (UEC) officials to correct the lists enumerating Burma’s eligible voters. What was presented as […]

It has became a deceptive routine to describe Thein Sein as a well-intentioned and bold reformer who has made peace and development his priorities; he released political prisoners, kicked off a reform agenda, initiated dialogue with Aung San Suu Kyi and lifted a ban on the opposition. After the removal of Shwe Man from the […]

It was a sunny afternoon on Bo Ba Htoo Road, located on the outskirts of Yangon. As soon as I hailed the old Toyota, I noticed the vehicle’s company logo—Parami Taxi, a subsidiary of a major business conglomerate run by the military. Parami taxis are an increasingly rare sighting on the streets of the commercial […]

While election campaigns get underway in Myanmar, government authorities are waging their own campaign to round up and silence activists and political opponents. The law is on their side. Myanmar’s legal code provides the necessary tools to harass, arrest and imprison those who threaten the status quo. Myanmar has a long history of undemocratic governance. […]

The sudden ouster of Shwe Mann from Burma’s ruling party reconfirmed that the military is not about to relinquish power, writes Bertil Lintner.

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, […]

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.

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.

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.

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