Burma's Ethnic Minorities

Charting Their Own Path to Peace

Author: Morten B. Pedersen

Abstract:

The nearly 60-year-long fight by Burma's ethnic minorities for autonomy and ethnic rights lies at the root of the country's broader political and humanitarian crisis. Yet, in the outside world, this issue is often subsumed under the better-known struggle for democracy, led by Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. The present article seeks to redress this imbalance by directing attention to the numerous groups representing ethnic minority interests, the grievances and aspirations that motivate their struggle, and their own strategies for peace. It argues that in Burma's deeply divided society peace and democracy are two distinct challenges, even if in the long term they must go together, and it calls for the international community to help the country's ethnic groups prepare for future peace negotiations and overcome the debilitating legacy of war.
Countries: Burma

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© 2005 ILO/Falise T.