Myanmar's about-face: 5 recent reforms

Since 1962, Myanmar's dictatorship has jailed the opposition, beat up monks, denied aid to disaster victims, and run scorched-earth campaigns against ethnic minorities. That may be changing, however. Here are five key changes the regime has made in just a matter of months.

3. Calling for peace

Rich Clabaugh/Staff

Myanmar’s Army has long been accused of widespread human rights violations in ethnic minority regions, a vast arc stretching from the Myanmar-Bangladesh frontier in the west to the border with Thailand to the southeast. Two areas of fighting have been particularly bloody. 

Myanmar’s Army and the Kachin Independence Army, a 10,000-strong militia seeking increased local autonomy for the largely-Christian Kachin, one of the larger of Myanmar’s 130-odd minorities, have been fighting since June 2011. The government of Myanmar and the KIA are having talks in China about a truce, but fighting continues. Still, though some estimate it could take a few years, talks could pave the way for peace in Kachin State.

And then there is the Karen National Union (KNU), a militia from the Karen ethnic group living mainly near the Thai border, which has been fighting the Army since around the end of World War II.

There have not really ever been any formal truces, but earlier in January the government announced a truce with the KNU that is being taken as a signal that Myanmar’s government wants to make peace – though many exiled dissidents are hesitant.

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