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Religious leaders back Myanmar peace efforts

BANGKOK (UCAN): “It is at a crucial moment in the history of this country that we, as Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim leaders from Myanmar and across the region, come to you in solidarity with hope for peace,” Charles Cardinal Bo of Yangon, along with leaders of other faith confessions, said in an open letter to the people of Myanmar.
 

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Myanmar’s forgotten civil war goes on

MANDALAY (UCAN): A largely forgotten civil war has been raging in Kachin State, Myamar, while the world’s focus has been on 700,000 Muslim Rohingya who have been fleeing a military crackdown in western Rakhine State since August 2017.
 
One of the longest-running civil wars in the world intensified dramatically in April when Myanmar’s military stepped up dry-season offensives using helicopter gunships and heavy artillery against the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), which is yet to sign a national peace agreement with the government.

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United Nations appeals for humanitarian access to Myanmar’s restive areas

MANDALAY (UCAN): Ursula Mueller, the United Nations (UN) assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator, has called for unfettered humanitarian access to several crisis-hit states of Myanmar including the restive Rakhine state where large numbers of the Rohingya Muslim minority have fled security forces for Bangladesh since August 2017.
 

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Rohingya remaining in Rakhine face uncertain future

YANGON and DHAKA (UCAN): Mohammad Salim and his family were packing their belongings and getting ready to flee when the violence erupted on 25 August 2017 in the north of Rakhine State, Myanmar, as the military sought to target Rohingya Muslim militants.
 
However, unlike hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who have left the strife-torn state to live in camps in neighboring Bangladesh for fear of ethnic persecution at the hands of the army, Salim decided to stay put.
 

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New president voted in for Myanmar following resignation

Mandalay (UCAN): Former speaker of the lower house of Myanmar’s parliament, Win Myint, was elected as a vice-president in the first step in his expected ascension to the presidency of the troubled nation on March 23.
 
The lower house, dominated by State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), voted 273-27 in favour of Myint in a ballot also contested by a candidate from the military-linked Union Solidarity and Development Party.
 

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Freedom of expression curbed in Myanmar

MANDALAY (UCAN): Civic groups in Myanmar have warned that amendments to laws governing demonstrations could be used to curb freedom of expression in the country.
 
Thet Swe Win, an interfaith advocate and director of the Centre for Youth and Social Harmony, said that the language used in the amendments to the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Act was not in line with democratic values.
 

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Rohingya face oppostion to resettlement plans

MANDALY (UCAN): Plans by Myanmar’s government to resettle Muslim Rohingya refugees in southern Maungdaw in the restive Rakhine State are meeting up with opposition from other ethnic groups from the area.
 
Some 80 people from civil society groups across Rakhine held a meeting in the state capital, Sittwe, on February 24 to discuss the resettlement of Rohingya returning from Bangladesh.
 

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More mass graves reported in Rakhine

DHAKA and MANDALAY (UCAN): Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have reacted with anger and dismay to a February 1 report from the Associated Press (AP) that said mass graves had been found at Gu Dar Pyin village in Buthidaung township in northern Rakhine State. The detailed report alleged that Buddhist neighbours allegedly assisted the military in carrying out the massacre. 
 

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Southern Asia’s year of worshipping dangerously

Of course, it is almost impossible to get past the ongoing visceral horror of the plight of Myanmar’s ethnic Muslim Rohingya people; over 650,000 of them brutally forced from their homes onto the margins of existence into crowded, inadequate, life-threatening refugee camps.
 








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Kachin’s bishops meet Myanmar military chief

MANDALAY (UCAN): Four Kachin bishops met for an hour and 45 minutes with Myanmar’s military chief, Min Aung Hlaing, to discuss prospects for peace in the country’s north, where intense fighting has erupted in recent months between ethnic armed groups and Myanmar’s military in Kachin and Shan states.
 

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