Burma Country ProfileMyanmar Country Profile
Countryprofile: Myanmar | New Internationalist
Laing Khin in Nagaland - one of the most remote areas in northwestern Burma - has neither power nor flowing in. Burma* has changed a lot in less than five years. Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from home detention in November 2010 after the Union Solidarity and Development Party, supported by the army rulers, won the country's first election in 20 years - largely a scandal.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won the last elections in 1990 in a land slide, but the outcome was ignored by the army. Thein Sein was inaugurated in 2011 as chairman of a new, nominal civil administration. Advances in the area of humanitarian law include the freeing of tens of thousands deportees, a cease-fire with ethical militias and the elimination of press censure before it is published.
The EU and the US then dropped all non-military punishments against Burma. Obama was the first US acting US presidency to pay a tour of the United States. Burma's process of democracy, however, still faces many obstacles. Suu Kyi criticised the US in November 2014 for its exaggerated bullishness about Burma's reform. As a result of the surge in inflows of overseas funds, many Burmese are no longer resident in Rangoon.
Even though the Myanmar press is no longer under immediate censure, the agencies regularly bother reporters. Aung Kyaw Naing, a free-lance reporter known for his coverage of ethnical conflict, passed away in October 2014 while in the detention of the Tatmadaw (Burmese military). In 2014, Burma still ranks 156th out of 175 nations in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI).
Humane RIGs Watch, Amnesty internationally and other non-governmental monitors report persistent violations of Burma's humanitarian law, among them the use of hard labor and the recruiting of tens of thousands of children. In 1948, following the country's sovereignty, a series of unrest and conflicts over national identity gave the army the initial excuse to seize control. In the run-up to this year's election, our investigations indicate that the army will again use racial conflicts to warrant its retention of control.
There has been little the Chinese authorities have done to stop the increasing flood of extremist Buddhism - such as the infamous 969 movement - which has intensified violent acts against the Rohingya, the Islamic majority in Rakhine's state. Recent inter-ethnic unrest - such as those in Meiktila, Mandalay and Bago - has prompted the administration to say that now is not the right moment to deny the security of the state.
Burma was re-named Myanmar by the Burmese army in 1989. Democratic groups, however, favour the name Burma. Since 2011, business reform has been stimulating the retail trade and FDI. Myanmar is spending a miserable 2% of GNP on health care. Cultural Burma has over 130 ethnical groups, the most important being Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinas 3%, Indians 2% and Mon 2%.
From 1948, the regime has been continuously fighting some national minorities. LanguageBurmesian (official), but many ethnical groups have their own languages. Life expectancyLife is 65 years, compared with 57 years for the last profile (Thailand 74, UK 81). Gender-based crime and human traffic are major issues in areas of conflicts and borders.
During the continuing clash with the Kachin, who murdered tens of millions, the armed forces have been targeting a number of civilian lives. In March 2011, a parliamentarian regime took the place of the Burmese Burma bombing party, which had governed Burma since 1962. The Constitution guarantees the armed forces 25% of the parliament seat. Changes to the constitution call for the consent of more than 75% of MEPs, giving the armed forces an efficient right of appeal against any changes.