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The discussion on humanitarian assistance to Burma

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: BURMA/MYANMAR: Views from the Ground and the International Community
Date of publication: 08 May 2009
Description/subject: On May 8th, 2009 the Atlantic Council of the United States, the US-ASEAN Business Council and NBR in cooperation with Refugees International convened this forum to inform policymakers about the situation in Burma/Myanmar and the international response. Representatives of the international community, humanitarian workers with on-the ground experience, experts, and the policy community in Washington D.C. joined together for an off-the record discussion. Experts and aid workers addressed questions about the humanitarian situation, which is on the verge of crisis, highlighting what programs are successful and where the needs are greatest. Members of the international community shared their approaches and explored avenues for better international coordination. FORUM INFORMATION AND MATERIALS * "Burma/Myanmar: Views from the Ground and the International Community Project Report," by Catharin Dalpino, Georgetown University * "Setting the Scene: Lessons from Twenty Years of Foreign Aid," by Morten B. Pedersen * "What to do for Burma’s children?" by Andrew Kirkwood * "Strategy and Priorities in Addressing the Humanitarian Situation in Burma," presented by Richard Horsey * "Singaporean Perspectives and Approaches," presented by HE Ambassador Chan Heng Chee * "Japanese Perspectives and Approaches," presented by Keiichi Ono * "Norwegian Perspectives and Approaches," presented by HE Ambassador Wegger Christian Strommen * "The High Costs of Non-Solutions in Burma/Myanmar," by Khin Zaw Win * Forum Agenda and Participant Biographies FORUM PROCEEDINGS Welcome/Opening Remarks
Language: English
Source/publisher: National Bureau of Asian Research
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 July 2009


Title: Burma Day 2005 - Selected Documents
Description/subject: Burma Day 2005 - Selected Documents... Supporting Burma/Myanmar’s National Reconciliation Process - Challenges and Opportunities... Brussels, Tuesday 5th April 2005... Most of the papers and reports focus on the "Independent Report" written for the conference by Robert Taylor and Morten Pedersen. They range from macroeconomic critique to historical and procedural comment.
Language: English
Source/publisher: European Commission
Format/size: html, Word
Date of entry/update: 06 April 2005


Individual Documents

Title: Conflict and Survival: Self-protection in south-east Burma
Date of publication: 21 September 2010
Description/subject: "...Threats to civilian populations in south-east Burma include murder, rape, torture, looting, forced labour and arbitrary taxation, hunger, land confiscation, and the destruction of entire villages. People living in conflict zones are often subject to 'multiple masters', paying taxes (or other forms of ‘tribute’ – such as labour, or the conscription of their sons) to two or more armed groups. Protection against hunger is also a major concern. For vulnerable communities, the distinction between livelihoods and other forms of security is minimal. People manage or avoid these risks through a variety of strategies, including trade-offs, some of which may appear very negative. Often, people have to balance risks against each other, and choose the ‘least-worst option’. Individuals, families and communities’ limited selfprotection options depend on the resources available, including money, relationships, and information. The standing and quality of community leaders also appear to be crucial. Particularly important is the development of protective ‘social capital'. In the absence of protection by the state or international agencies, community-based organizations play important roles in providing limited amounts of assistance to vulnerable communities in south-east Burma. Civil society networks operating cross-border from Thailand include a range of CBOs, some of which can be characterized as the welfare wings of armed ethnic groups. These organizations provide often life-saving assistance to IDPs and other vulnerable civilians, with funds provided by many of the same donors who also support the refugee regime along the border. Monitoring of these relief activities is very tight and little, if any, cross-border aid is diverted to insurgent organizations. However, the close association between several of the more prominent cross-border aid groups and the armed conflict actors with which they work serves to legitimize the latter, who are involved in the distribution of internationally funded relief supplies.44 Humanitarian donors and organizations must ensure that their interventions ‘do no harm’ to intended beneficiaries. Discussion of the relationships between aid and conflict has not been prominent within humanitarian networks along the Thailand-Burma border.45 Such caveats notwithstanding, locally designed and led humanitarian activities can help to mobilize communities. Local (especially faith-based) leaders do often help to build trust and ‘social capital’. International donors can and should do more to engage positively with such initiatives..."
Author/creator: Ashley South with Malin Perhult and Nils Carstensen
Language: English
Source/publisher: Chatham House
Format/size: pdf (551K)
Date of entry/update: 24 September 2010


Title: "I Want to Help My Own People" State Control and Civil Society in Burma after Cyclone Nargis
Date of publication: 29 April 2010
Description/subject: Cyclone Nargis struck southern Burma on May 2-3, 2008, killing at least 140,000 people and bringing devastation to an estimated 2.4 million people in the Irrawaddy Delta and the former capital, Rangoon. The Burmese military government’s initial reaction to the cyclone shocked the world: instead of immediately allowing international humanitarian assistance to be delivered to survivors, as did countries affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) prevented both foreign disaster relief workers and urgently needed relief supplies from entering the delta during the crucial first weeks after the cyclone. The military government blocked large-scale international relief efforts by delaying the issuance of visas to aid workers, prohibiting foreign helicopters and boats from making deliveries to support the relief operation, obstructing travel by aid agencies to affected areas, and preventing local and international media from freely reporting from the disaster area. Rather than prioritizing the lives and well-being of the affected population, the military government’s actions were dictated by hostility to the international community, participation in the diversion of aid, and an obsession with holding a manipulated referendum on a longdelayed constitution. “I Want to Help My Own People” 8 In the face of the government’s callous response, Burmese civil society groups and individuals raised money, collected supplies and traveled to the badly affected parts of the Irrawaddy Delta and around Rangoon to help survivors in shattered villages. Many efforts were spontaneous, but as the relief and recovery efforts gained pace, dozens of communitybased organizations and civil society groups organized themselves and gained unprecedented experience in providing humanitarian relief and initiating projects. Access for United Nations agencies and international humanitarian organizations improved starting in late May 2008 after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the delta, and the UN and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) brokered a deal with the Burmese government. They established the Tripartite Core Group (TCG), which became the central vehicle for coordinating aid, improving access for humanitarian organizations to the delta, and carrying out the ensuing recovery efforts. The two years since Cyclone Nargis have seen an unprecedented influx of humanitarian assistance to the delta, with a visible presence of local and international aid workers and improved access to provide humanitarian relief. While this opening has been rightly welcomed, it has not been the unmitigated success that many Burma analysts have portrayed it to be. Humanitarian access to the delta improved significantly by Burma standards following the establishment of the TCG mechanism, but it has remained far short of international standards. And partly because of the access restrictions imposed by the SPDC, humanitarian funding has not been sufficient to meet the needs of people in the cyclone-affected zones. As a result, two years after the cyclone, the recovery of many communities in the delta remains limited, particularly communities far from the towns where most relief efforts were organized. Such communities face continuing hardships and difficulties obtaining clean water and adequate sanitation, health resources, needed agricultural support, and recovery of livelihoods. Had the SPDC not continued to place unnecessary restrictions on the humanitarian relief effort in the delta, the cyclone-affected population would be much farther down the road to recovery. The Burmese government has failed to adequately support reconstruction efforts that benefit the population, contributing only paltry levels of aid despite having vast sums at its disposal from lucrative natural gas sales. Although the government has not announced total figures dedicated for cyclone relief and reconstruction, it allocated a mere 5 million kyat (US$50,000) for an emergency fund immediately after the storm. It is clear that its subsequent spending has also not been commensurate with available resources. Burma’s government is estimated to have more than US$5 billion in foreign reserves and receives an 9 Human Rights Watch │April 2010 estimated US$150 million in monthly gas export revenues. The Burmese government channels the limited assistance it does provide through its surrogates and contracts awarded to politically connected companies, in an effort to maintain social control. In addition, the government’s distribution of aid has been marred by serious allegations of favoritism. In most areas of Burma outside of the cyclone-affected areas, international humanitarian access is much more limited than in the delta, despite significant levels of preventable disease, malnutrition, and inadequate water and sanitation, particularly in the central dry zone and the ethnic minority areas of the border states. All of the UN staff, Burmese aid providers, and international humanitarian organization representatives Human Rights Watch spoke with in Burma in early 2010 praised the humanitarian opening in the delta, but then added that humanitarian space in the rest of Burma remains a major challenge. As one senior aid official told us: “We were all hoping that the Nargis experience would be the wedge to open a lot of things, but this hasn’t happened.” The statistics speak for themselves: approximately one-third of Burmese citizens live below the poverty line. Most live on one to three US dollars a day, and suffer from inadequate food security. Maternal mortality is the worst in the Asian region after Afghanistan. While the economies of many of its neighbors rapidly develop, the people of Burma continue to suffer. The SPDC fails to invest its own available resources to address urgent social and economic needs and blocks the humanitarian community from doing all it can to help meet those needs in other parts of the country. A number of humanitarian aid experts we spoke with were hopeful that after national elections scheduled for the end of 2010 are completed, they will then be able to build on what was achieved in cyclone-affected areas, and expand the delivery of humanitarian aid to other areas in Burma where it is desperately needed. While the record of the Burmese government to date suggests this will be an uphill battle at best, the UN, ASEAN, and other influential international actors in Burma should make it a priority to continue to press for such expanded access. Natural disasters can sometimes work as a catalyst for peace-building and reform in conflict wracked societies, as occurred in Aceh, Indonesia, following the 2004 tsunami. In Burma, the military government is stronger and more confident two years after the cyclone, but it is no more accountable or respectful of basic rights...Finally, this reports details an under-appreciated positive legacy of the cyclone response: the development of a group of new, truly independent and experienced civil society organizations in Burma, which now seek to use their skills to address other humanitarian and development challenges in the country..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: pdf (1.7MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2010/04/29/i-want-help-my-own-people
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2010


Title: Listening Project Field Visit Report: Myanmar/Burma
Date of publication: December 2009
Description/subject: The Myanmar Listening Project was a joint venture between CPCS, Nyien/Shalom Foundation of Myanmar and CDA Collaborative Learning Projects of the United States. It sought to listen to recipients and deliverers of international assistance as a means of improving international assistance practices.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. Shalom Foundation
Format/size: pdf (684K)
Date of entry/update: 16 June 2010


Title: The Dynamics of Conflict in the Multiethnic Union of Myanmar
Date of publication: October 2009
Description/subject: * Crucial developments are taking place in Burma / Myanmar's political landscape. Generation change, the change of the nominal political system, and the recovery from a major natural disaster can lead to many directions. Some of these changes can possibly pave the way for violent societal disruptions. * As an external actor the international community may further add to political tensions through their intervening policies. For this reason it is very important that the international community assesses its impact on the agents and structure of conflict in Burma / Myanmar. * This study aims at mapping the opportunities and risks that various types of international aid interventions may have in the country. * The study utilizes and further develops the peace and conflict impact assessment methodology of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung.
Author/creator: Timo Kivimaki & Paul Pasch
Language: English
Source/publisher: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (PCIA - Country Conflict-Analysis Study)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 24 May 2010


Title: MYANMAR: Beyond the delta, aid projects miss out
Date of publication: 19 March 2009
Description/subject: "YANGON, 19 March 2009 (IRIN) - The positive aspects of the Cyclone Nargis response in the Ayeyarwady Delta have yet to translate into better access or more funds for aid operations in the rest of Myanmar, where needs are great and often unmet, according to aid workers..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: IrinNews (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2009


Title: Burma: Capitalizing on the Gains
Date of publication: 18 March 2009
Description/subject: In the past year, humanitarian assistance to Burma has been primarily focused on victims of Cyclone Nargis, which struck the Irrawaddy delta on May 2, 2008. Though the initial delivery of assistance was hampered by government obstruction, the aid programs that have since developed in the delta have benefited from an ease of operations unseen in other parts of the country. Relief work in the delta is progressing smoothly, but attempts to expand access to the rest of the country are struggling. Nonetheless, to capitalize on the existing gains, the U.S. should provide significant funding for programs throughout the country....Policy Recocommendations: "...The United States should join other donor nations in making a significant appropriation for humanitarian aid in Burma. It should allocate $30 million for FY10, with plans to increase its contribution to $45 million in FY11 and $60 million in FY12. * The United Nations should strengthen its support for the Burma Country team by hiring a Senior Humanitarian Advisor to work with the RC/HC and ensure that teams in Bangkok and New York are providing adequate guidance and support. *ASEAN should look to apply the Tri-Partite Core Group model for use in the discussion of other issues of concern with Burma, such as the Rohingya. In the past year, humanitarian assistance to Burma has been primarily focused on victims of Cyclone Nargis, which struck the Irrawaddy delta on May 2, 2008. Though the initial delivery of assistance was hampered by government obstruction, the aid programs that have since developed in the delta have benefited from an ease of operations unseen in other parts of the country. Relief work in the delta is progressing smoothly, but attempts to expand access to the rest of the country are struggling. Nonetheless, to capitalize on the existing gains, the U.S. should provide significant funding for programs throughout the country..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Refugees International
Format/size: pdf (132K)
Date of entry/update: 23 March 2009


Title: The “Everyday Politics” of IDP Protection in Karen State
Date of publication: 20 October 2008
Description/subject: "...While international humanitarian access in Burma has opened up over the past decade and a half, the ongoing debate regarding the appropriate relationship between politics and humanitarian assistance remains unresolved. This debate has become especially limiting in regards to protection measures for internally displaced persons (IDPs) which are increasingly seen to fall within the mandate of humanitarian agencies. Conventional IDP protection frameworks are biased towards a top-down model of politically-averse intervention which marginalizes local initiatives to resist abuse and hinders local control over protection efforts. Yet such local resistance strategies remain the most effective IDP protection measures currently employed in Karen State and other parts of rural Burma. Addressing the protection needs and underlying humanitarian concerns of displaced and potentially displaced people is thus inseparable from engagement with the 'everyday politics' of rural villagers. The present article seeks to challenge conventional notions of IDP protection that prioritize a form of State-centric 'neutrality' and marginalize the 'everyday politics' through which local villagers continue to resist abuse and claim their rights. (This working paper was presented on the panel 'Migration within and out of Burma' as part of the 2008 International Burma Studies Conference in DeKalb, Illinois in October 2008.)..." A working paper by Stephen Hull, Karen Human Rights Group, for presentation on the panel ‘Migration within and out of Burma’ as part of the 2008 International Burma Studies Conference DeKalb, Illinois, October 2008
Author/creator: Stephen Hull
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Right Group (KHRG Articles & Papers)
Format/size: pdf (128KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs22/Everyday_politics_of_IDP_protection_in_Karen_State.pdf
Date of entry/update: 25 November 2009


Title: New Approach Needed for Aid to Burma
Date of publication: February 2008
Description/subject: "Burma urgently needs humanitarian assistance; the country’s HIV/AIDS sufferers are dying and require medical attention. But the generals who rule the country are not ready to acknowledge the humanitarian crisis facing the country. Worse still, they prevent aid workers from delivering assistance to the needy. Burma’s political prisoners—including Buddhist monks and nuns—are denied proper medication and food. The International Committee for the Red Cross ceased prison visits in 2005 due to persistent restrictions imposed on them by the regime..."
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 2
Format/size: html (219K), pdf (12.3MB), Word (290K)
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2008


Title: Obscuring Burma's Humanitarian Crisis
Date of publication: May 2007
Description/subject: "A former program monitor looks at how restrictions on aid agencies in Burma hide the true extent of the country's needs... Soe Khine - not his real name - was ordered to appear immediately at a local police station. The NGO township monitor had committed no crime, but he did hold a meeting with local residents in a township in Mon State to discuss an HIV prevention and education project designated for the area. As a monitor of project implementation in Mon State, Soe Khine had forgotten that in Burma, monitors must also have their monitors..."
Author/creator: Htet Aung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 15, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2007


Title: Media release – response to UN statement on KHRG report
Date of publication: 26 April 2007
Description/subject: "(Bangkok, April 26th 2007) – On Wednesday April 25th 2007, the United Nations Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar released a statement in response to KHRG’s recently released report Development by Decree: The politics of poverty and control in Karen State. KHRG welcomes the UN’s response and appreciates the Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator’s acknowledgement that it agrees with the report’s findings on the problems confronting the delivery of humanitarian aid in Burma. KHRG is encouraged about the possibility for greater openness and discussion regarding the methods used by aid agencies in the implementation of their programmes. However, a number of points in the UN’s media statement need clarification..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group Commentaries (KHRG)
Format/size: html, pdf (49KB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/sites/default/files/khrg07c2.pdf
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2007


Title: Media Release - Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar
Date of publication: 25 April 2007
Description/subject: Response by the Office of the (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar to the report, "Development by Decree: The politics of poverty and control in Karen State" published by the Karen Human Rights Group on 24 April 2007.
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations Information Centre, Yangon
Format/size: pdf (9.7K)
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2007


Title: Development by Decree: The politics of poverty and control in Karen State
Date of publication: 24 April 2007
Description/subject: "In pursuit of domestic submission and international recognition of its legitimacy the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) currently ruling Burma pronounces daily on the manifold military-implemented development programmes initiated across the country which, it argues, are both supported by and beneficial to local communities. Villagers in Karen State, however, consistently reject such claims. Rather, these individuals describe a systematic programme of military expansionism with which the junta aims to establish control over all aspects of civilian life. In the name of development, the regime's agenda in Karen State has involved multifarious infrastructure and regimentation projects that restrict travel and trade and facilitate increased extortion of funds, food, supplies and labour from the civilian population, thereby exacerbating poverty, malnutrition and the overall humanitarian crisis. Given the detrimental consequences of the SPDC's development agenda, villagers in Karen areas have resisted military efforts to control their lives and livelihoods under the rubric of development. In this way these villagers have worked to claim their right to determine for themselves the direction in which they wish their communities to develop. Drawing on over 90 interviews with local villagers in Karen State, SPDC order documents, official SPDC press statements, international media sources, reports by international aid agencies and academic studies this report finds that rather than prosperity, the SPDC's 'development' agenda has instead brought increased military control over civilian lives, undermined villagers' rights and delivered deleterious humanitarian outcomes contradictory to the very rhetoric the junta has used to justify its actions."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG 2007-01)
Format/size: html, pdf (3.3MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/khrg-Development_by_Decree-op100-75-50.pdf
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2007


Title: International Organizations: Assistance Programs Constrained in Burma
Date of publication: 06 April 2007
Description/subject: GAO Report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives... International Organizations... Assistance Programs Constrained in Burma...What GAO Found: " United States Government Accountability Office Why GAO Did This Study Highlights Accountability IntegrityReliability April 2007 INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Assistance Programs Constrained In Burma Highlights of GAO-07-457, a report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives The United Nations and other international organizations have undertaken numerous efforts aimed at addressing Burma’s most pressing problems, which include forced labor, harsh prison conditions, ethnic conflict, an HIV/AIDS epidemic, and poverty. The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have sought to monitor forced labor and prison conditions in Burma by allowing victims to voice their complaints without interference from the regime. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and ICRC seek to assist populations in conflict areas near Burma’s border with Thailand. International organizations also attempt to provide food to vulnerable populations, promote local economic development, improve health conditions, and strengthen the Burmese educational system. For example, several UN entities provide assistance to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and drug abuse, as well as to improve reproductive health. Burma’s military regime has blocked or impeded activities undertaken by many international organizations in Burma over the past 3 years. In 2004, the regime distanced itself from these organizations and began adopting increasingly restrictive policies. In 2006, it published formal guidelines to restrict international activities in Burma. These guidelines, which have yet to be fully implemented, contain provisions that UN officials consider to be unacceptable. The regime’s restrictions have had the greatest impact on international efforts to monitor prison conditions, investigate claims of forced labor, and assist victims of ethnic conflict. The regime has blocked ICRC efforts to monitor prison conditions and, until recently, ILO efforts to address forced labor. The regime has also restricted UNHCR and ICRC efforts to assist populations living in areas affected by ethnic conflict. To a lesser degree, the regime has impeded UN food, development, and health programs by restricting their ability to (1) move food and international staff freely within the country and (2) conduct research needed to determine the nature and scope of some of Burma’s problems. Despite these restrictions, several international organization officials told us they are still able to achieve meaningful results in their efforts to mitigate some of Burma’s humanitarian, health, and development problems..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: United States Government Accountability Office (GAO-07-457)
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07457.pdf
Date of entry/update: 22 April 2007


Title: Crisis Group response to OSI critique of Asia Briefing No. 58, Myanmar: New threats to humanitarian aid
Date of publication: 20 January 2007
Description/subject: "1. On December 8, the International Crisis Group issued a “Briefing” entitled, “Myanmar: New Threats to Humanitarian Aid.” A main focus of the Briefing was a decision in August 2005 by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to withdraw a grant of $98 million over five years for Burma after, according to ICG, “intense pressure from U.S.-based groups undermined sensitive negotiations with the government over operational conditions.” The consequence, said the Crisis Group “was a serious setback, which put thousands of lives in jeopardy.” The report bears a dateline of Yangon/Brussels and was written by a consultant for ICG who conducted research in Yangon (or Rangoon) but, it appears, not elsewhere. Crisis Group Comment: ..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group (ICG) via ReliefWeb
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www2.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/YSAR-6XRLPX?OpenDocument&rc=3&cc=mmr
Date of entry/update: 27 January 2007


Title: Myanmar: New Threats to Humanitarian Aid
Date of publication: 08 December 2006
Description/subject: "The delivery of humanitarian assistance in Burma/Myanmar is facing new threats. After a period in which humanitarian space expanded, aid agencies have come under renewed pressure, most seriously from the military government but also from pro-democracy activists overseas who seek to curtail or control assistance programs. Restrictions imposed by the military regime have worsened in parallel with its continued refusal to permit meaningful opposition political activity and its crackdown on the Karen. The decision of the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to withdraw from the country in 2005 was a serious setback, which put thousands of lives in jeopardy, although it has been partly reversed by the new Three Diseases Fund (3D Fund). There is a need to get beyond debates over the country's highly repressive political system; failure to halt the slide towards a humanitarian crisis could shatter social stability and put solutions beyond the reach of whatever government is in power..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group -- Asia Briefing N°58
Format/size: pdf (199K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/asia/south-east-asia/burma-myanmar/b58_myanmar___new_threa...
Date of entry/update: 28 December 2006


Title: Pro-Aid, Pro-Sanctions, Pro-Engagement - Position Paper on Humanitarian Aid to Burma
Date of publication: 28 July 2006
Description/subject: "Over the years there have been attempts to portray key Burma campaign organisations and indeed Burma’s National League for Democracy (NLD) as opposed to humanitarian assistance to Burma. This position paper, supported by the undersigned, has been drafted so that no further confusion should arise. This amounts to clarification of a long-held policy position and does not signify any change in policy on the part of the undersigned. ‘Agencies’ is used throughout this document to refer collectively to United Nations (UN) agencies, Donor Governments and national/international non- Government Organisations (NGO/INGOs). Summary We the undersigned share the concerns of the United Nations (UN) and the international community regarding the humanitarian situation in Burma. We are concerned about the long-term consequences for the country and believe the situation needs immediate attention. Recognising the urgency of the situation, especially with regard to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria, in addition to high malnutrition and child mortality rates and emerging health threats such as avian influenza, we support and encourage the provision of humanitarian assistance to Burma. There must however be transparency, accountability and monitoring of all aspects of the provision of this assistance in order that it reaches intended recipients and does not benefit the military authorities. (See ‘The Right Kind of Aid’ below). In addition, Burmese nationals employed by agencies operating in the country, must be afforded protection from any reprisals by the regime for working on assistance or development programmes. In supporting humanitarian assistance we emphasise that it is the lack of accountable governance in Burma that is at the heart of the current crisis. It is therefore imperative that humanitarian assistance complements and does not replace or undermine political pressure for democratic change. Both are essential and must be pursued simultaneously. Although not always appropriate for the same actors to pursue both strategies (for the UN and Donor Governments this is imperative), it’s vital that all agencies recognise the political roots of the humanitarian crisis. We ask agencies to be vigilant in avoiding indirect and inadvertent contribution to the root of the problem and to be respectful to the perspectives of those working towards political solutions. Mutual respect for and support of both strategies is of paramount importance. We encourage all agencies to creatively explore opportunities for supporting the promotion of democracy both directly and across their projects. A democratic society in Burma is vital to ensuring truly effective humanitarian assistance that directly benefits all Burma’s people. 5 We support the suspension of all non-humanitarian and development aid to Burma with certain exceptions (See ‘Non-Humanitarian and Development Aid’ below). The principles that should be adopted for administration of effective aid in these exempted areas should mirror those proposed for strictly humanitarian assistance. Our position on humanitarian aid complements our policy on effectively targeted economic sanctions. We continue to advocate for ‘smart’ sanctions as called for by the National League for Democracy - that target the regime and its support base but not ordinary Burmese people. We do not support the introduction of former Iraqi-style sanctions that would impact negatively on Burma’s people. Nor do we call for the broader isolation of Burma. Our position on humanitarian assistance reflects that of the National League for Democracy, National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB), Ethnic Nationalities Council (Union of Burma) and 88 Generation Students..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Burma Campaign UK
Format/size: pdf (570K)
Date of entry/update: 28 July 2006


Title: Ending the Waiting Game: Strategies for Responding to Internally Displaced People in Burma
Date of publication: June 2006
Description/subject: "Ending the Waiting Game: Strategies for Responding to Internally Displaced People in Burma" argues that the crisis in Burma has reached a point where displaced people and other vulnerable populations simply cannot wait any longer for outside assistance, including health services, education, food production and building the capacity of civil society organizations in the country. U.S. sanctions against Burma's military regime currently prevent the provision of significant humanitarian aid."...Table of Contents Executive Summary i Introduction 1 Types of Displacement and Conditions of the Displaced Population 4 Displacement Resulting from Counter-insurgency 5 Displacement in Ceasefire Areas 6 Development-induced Displacement 7 Urban Displacement 7 Summary of Displacement by Geographic Area 8 Displacement as a Consequence of Economic Vulnerability 10 Conditions of the Displaced Population 10 Humanitarian Response Inside Burma 13 The Government of Burma 13 Burma-based Agencies 13 Thailand-based Agencies 17 The Debate Over Aid and Engagement 19 The Aid Dilemma 19 Concern about Aid Reaching People in Need 21 Sanctions vs Engagement 23 The International Community's Response to Burma 24 Rationale for International Assistance Inside Burma 31 Towards a More Effective Response to Internal Displacement 34 Burma-based Agencies 34 Thailand-based Agencies 36 The Government of Burma 37 Refugees International's Recommendations 38
Author/creator: Kavita Shukla
Language: English
Source/publisher: Refugees International
Format/size: pdf (1.4MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.refugeesinternational.org/sites/default/files/EndingtheWaitingGame.pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2010


Title: “Northern Arakan/Rakhine State: a Chronic Emergency”
Date of publication: 29 March 2006
Description/subject: "Northern Arakan State is one of the main pockets of acute poverty and vulnerability in Burma. This region, adjacent to the border with Bangladesh, experiences what many refer to as a “chronic emergency” and there is an absolute consensus among the local population as well as humanitarian actors that international aid is, despite its limited impact, essential to avert a new mass outflow of refugees to Bangladesh..."
Author/creator: Chris Lewa
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Arakan Project
Format/size: pdf (102K)
Date of entry/update: 27 January 2008


Title: Der Rückzug des UN Global Fund aus Burma. Chancen und Risiken humanitärer Hilfe im autoritären System
Date of publication: 29 December 2005
Description/subject: Der Abzug der Gelder des UN Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria stellt einen schweren Einschnitt in die Gesundheitsversorgung Burmas dar. Laut öffentlicher Aussage des Global Fund sind die Rahmenbedingungen für eine effektive Implementierung der Programme aufgrund zunehmender Restriktionen des Regimes nicht mehr gegeben. Gleichzeitig soll der Global Fund jedoch von den USA und dortigen Menschenrechtsorganisationen unter massivem politischem Druch zum Rückzug aus Burma bewegt wroden sein. Unter internationalen Akteuren im humanitären Bereich besteht noch immer keine Einigkeit darüber, ob in Burma humanitäre Hilfe geleistet werden soll und - wenn ja - in welcher Form. keywords: UN Global Fund, humanitarian aid, AIDS, NGOs
Author/creator: Jasmin Lorch
Language: Deutsch, German
Source/publisher: Asienhaus Focus Asien Nr. 26; S. 65-71
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2010


Title: A Former Student Leader Speaks Out - An Interview with Min Ko Naing
Date of publication: November 2005
Description/subject: "Burmese pro-democracy advocate and former student leader Min Ko Naing was last month named one of this year’s winners of the Civil Courage Prize, awarded annually by the New York-based Northcote Parkinson Fund. The Fund is a private foundation that supports economic and political liberalism and honors “steadfast resistance to evil at great personal risk.” Min Ko Naing—nom de guerre of Paw Oo Htun—was arrested in March 1989 and served more than 15 years of a 20-year prison sentence. He declined his share of the Civil Courage Prize—US $25,000—saying he wants the money to be used for humanitarian aid for his country. In a phone interview with The Irrawaddy, Min Ko Naing talked about the current situation in Burma...We need to understand the root cause and immediate context of the problems. We need to clearly examine these two factors; we shouldn’t pretend that we don’t recognise these issues. It is important to accept the reality of our country. In this country, crisis has existed for many years, while the change of democratic reform is delayed. All these things are related to international events. We will continue to endure the current crisis as long as Burma is rejected by the international community and under an economic situation of non-cooperation. Consequently, we will see massive unemployment problems, some people will lose their jobs and many will face everyday hardships. That is why I would like to urge the present government, the political forces and civil society to discuss together how to work towards a solution..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 11
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2006


Title: The Bonfire of the Vanities
Date of publication: June 2005
Description/subject: What do opposing academic views on Burma achieve?... "...academics should work with organizations, journalists, aid workers, activists, and grass-roots groups in exchanging ideas, sharing information and suggesting strategy to contribute to debates. Many toil away without involving themselves in public debate, they just provide another perspective. So why then are some so prominent? Because they choose to be...Take the European Commission’s recent “Burma Day.” Robert Taylor and Morten Pedersen were commissioned to write a report based on their credibility as academics: Taylor as a semi-retired professor from London University and Pedersen as an analyst with the International Crisis Group and PhD student. The report was designed to avert further EU sanctions and increase aid to Burma. What resulted was a crescendo of disapproval by many observers who accused both authors of being pro-engagement apologists for military rule..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 April 2006


Title: The ICG, Burma, and the Politics of Diversion
Date of publication: October 2004
Description/subject: "More aid to Burma’s border regions is a good idea, but not when the International Crisis Group is only telling half the story... By making the case for increasing aid to Burma,the ICG stands accused of using dirty tactics. ... The report, Myanmar: Aid to Border Areas, advocates increased development projects in predominantly ethnic border regions, often in ceasefire zones or post-conflict areas, by depoliticizing aid and appealing to the immense humanitarian crisis facing Burma. By obscuring the junta that is largely responsible for the country’s socio-economic atrophy, the Brussels-based think tank is promoting more engagement isolated from Burma’s complex political impasse. Utilizing the vague SPDC term “Border Areas”, the report outlines a strategy for “the empowerment of ordinary people.” It details ways for international non-governmental organizations, or INGOs, to nurture networks of community-based organizations, or CBOs, religious groups and other civil society networks in more “bottom-up” development methods, and away from authoritarian “top-down” projects..."
Author/creator: David Scott Mathieson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 November 2004


Title: MYANMAR: AID TO THE BORDER AREAS
Date of publication: 09 September 2004
Description/subject: Yangon/Brussels, 9 September 2004: "International assistance to Myanmar's Border Areas is needed to consolidate peace and lay the foundations for a more open, democratic system. Despite continuing state repression in Myanmar and widespread international unwillingness to deal directly with the regime, properly targeted developmental and humanitarian aid can and should be given to help a limited and particular part of the country. Myanmar: Aid to the Border Areas,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, lays out in detail why the Border Areas are different and discusses how expanded international assistance could be implemented without strengthening the present government. "The international community has tended to disregard the needs of the Myanmar's desperately poor ethnic minority communities", says Robert Templer, Asia Program Director at ICG. "Foreign aid for the Border Areas should be seen as complementary to diplomatic efforts to restore democracy." The remote, mountainous areas along the borders with Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh, largely populated by ethnic minorities, have long suffered from war and neglect, which have undermined development. Extreme poverty is widespread, though the area contains more than a third of the country's population and most of its natural resources. The Border Areas also link to some of the world's fastest growing economies. The prospects for Myanmar's peace, prosperity and democracy are thus closely tied to the future of these regions. International assistance could also reduce refugee flows and the dangers from cross border threats such as the spread of drugs and AIDS, and environmental damage from deforestation. Much of the world has been reluctant to have any direct dealings with the regime. The political stalemate which has prevailed since the military suppression of the pro-democracy movement in 1988 continues unabated. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi remains in custody, and there is no sign that the National Convention reconvened in May 2004 will produce any meaningful change. Without movement on these two fronts a comprehensive way forward that steers a course between sanctions and over-eager engagement will have few attractions for the international community. "But if it can overcome its distaste somewhat and at least agree to work with local authorities to a limited extent, the outside world can play a very positive, perhaps even catalytic, role inside this particular region of Myanmar", says Templer. "Although the linkages between peace, prosperity and democracy are complex, international help for the Border Areas provides an important organising principle and practical means for their realisation."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group
Format/size: pdf (410K)
Alternate URLs: http://burmalibrary.org/docs4/082_myanmar_aid_to_the_border_areas.pdf
Date of entry/update: 09 September 2004


Title: Burma's Dirty War - The humanitarian crisis in eastern Burma
Date of publication: 24 May 2004
Description/subject: "Up to a million people have fled their homes in eastern Burma in a crisis the world has largely ignored. Burma's refusal to release Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest, and the boycotting of the constitutional convention this month by the main opposition, has thrust Burma into the spotlight again. But unseen and largely unremarked is the ongoing harrowing experience of hundreds of thousands of people in eastern Burma, hiding in the jungle or trapped in army-controlled relocation sites. Others are in refugee camps on the Thai-Burmese border. These people are victims in a counterinsurgency war in which they are the deliberate targets. As members of Burma's ethnic minorities - which make up 40 per cent of the population - they are trapped in a conflict between the Burmese army and ethnic minority armies. Surviving on caches of rice hidden in caves, or on roots and wild foods, families in eastern Burma face malaria, landmines, disease and starvation. They are hunted like animals by army patrols and starved into surrender. In interviews... refugees told Christian Aid of murder and rape, the torching of villages and shooting of family members as they lay huddled together in the fields. They recalled farmers who had been blown up by landmines laid by the army around their crops. This report, based on personal testimonies from refugees, tells the story of Burma's humanitarian crisis. On the brink of the Burmese government's announcement of a 'roadmap to democracy' for a new constitution, Burma's Dirty War argues that any new political settlement must include the crisis on the country's eastern borders. Burma's refusal to free Aung San Suu Kyi promises more intransigence and an even slower pace of change - with predictable human costs. This report calls on the UK and Irish governments, the EU and the UN to use what opportunity remains from the roadmap to democracy to press for an end to the conflict in negotiations with ethnic minorities. It also argues that the UN must gain access to the areas in crisis - despite the Burmese government ban on travel there by humanitarian agencies. Key recommendations include: * that the Burmese government cease human rights abuses, allow access to eastern Burma by humanitarian agencies including UN special representatives, and engage in dialogue with ethnic minority representatives * that the UK and Irish governments, the EU and the UN fund work with displaced people inside Burma and continue to support refugees in Thailand * that the UK and Irish governments, the EU and UN Security Council condemn Burma's human rights abuses against ethnic minorities, demand that it protect civilians from violence and insist that Burma allow access to humanitarian agencies The report argues that governments must seize the opportunity presented by the roadmap to push for genuine negotiations between the government, the National League for Democracy and ethnic minority organisations which can bring out a just and lasting peace..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Christian Aid
Format/size: pdf (760K)
Date of entry/update: 24 November 2010


Title: Reconciling Burma/Myanmar: Essays on U.S. Relations with Burma
Date of publication: 03 March 2004
Description/subject: Free access not available anymore! The document needs to be purchased. Foreword: "An intellectual “tectonic shift” is underway, making a precarious policy even harder to justify. This rather unusual issue of the NBR Analysis does not stem from an NBR-sponsored project or study. Instead, it emerged as an initiative from an extraordinary assemblage of Burma scholars, all of whom regard last year’s announcement of a “road map” for constitutional change, the ongoing progress toward cease-fires with ethnic insurgents, and the worsening impact of sanctions on the general populace, as an opportunity to re-examine U.S. relations with Burma. Recognizing that the current situation may be conducive to taking a fresh perspective, and noting the significance of so many top Burma specialists reaching similar conclusions and working together, we decided to publish their essays. The scholars in this volume represent a range of perspectives. What is especially notable is that they collaborated in this enterprise and concur that the U.S. policy of sanctions is not achieving its worthy objective—progress toward constitutional change and democratization in Burma. Moreover, as some of these authors argue, viewing U.S.-Burma relations solely through this lens, important as it is, may be harming other U.S. strategic interests in Southeast Asia, both in terms of the ongoing war against terrorism and long-term objectives regarding the United States’ role as a regional security guarantor. The desperate humanitarian situation in the country, as detailed in many of these essays, and concerns about possible WMD-related activities only underscore the importance of looking at this issue again. U.S. policymakers in particular ought to consider whether it is now appropriate to take a more realistic, engaged approach, while easing restrictions on humanitarian assistance, programs to build civil society, and the forces of globalization that are needed for the Burmese peoples’ socio-economic progress and solid transition to civilian government and democracy..." Richard J. Ellings, President, The National Bureau of Asian Research... "Strategic Interests in Myanmar" - John H. Badgley; "Myanmar’s Political Future: Is Waiting for the Perfect the Enemy of Doing the Possible?" - Robert H. Taylor; "Burma/Myanmar: A Guide for the Perplexed?" - David I. Steinberg; "King Solomon’s Judgment" - Helen James; "The Role of Minorities in the Transitional Process" - Seng Raw; "Will Western Sanctions Bring Down the House?" - Kyaw Yin Hlaing; "The Crisis in Burma/Myanmar: Foreign Aid as a Tool for Democratization" - Morten B. Pedersen;
Author/creator: John H. Badgley (Ed.); Robert H. Taylor, David I. Steinberg, Helen James, Seng Raw, Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Morten B. Pedersen
Language: English
Source/publisher: "NBR Analysis" Vol.15, No. 1, March 2004 (The National Bureau of Asia Research)
Format/size: pdf (261K)
Date of entry/update: 29 February 2004


Title: Conflict, discrimination and humanitarian challenges
Date of publication: 08 October 2003
Description/subject: Delivered at the EU – Burma Day 2003 Conference..."In contrast to the Thai-Burma border, very little international attention has been given to conditions on the Bangladesh-Burma border. Consequently, Arakan State has remained a largely ignored region of Burma. Awareness is generally limited to the cycle of exodus and repatriation of Rohingya refugees. But Arakan is no less than a microcosm of Burma with its ethnic conflicts and religious antagonisms, and is by far the most tense and explosive region of the country. The refugee outflow to Bangladesh does not result from counter-insurgency strategies to undermine ethnic armed resistance, as it is the case for the Shan, Karen and Karenni along the Thai-Burma border, but is the outcome of policies of exclusion against the Rohingya community..."
Author/creator: Chris Lewa
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forum Asia
Format/size: html (100K), Word
Date of entry/update: 23 October 2003


Title: Humanitarian Assistance to Burma: How to establish good governance in the provision of humanitarian aid - ensuring aid reaches the right people in the right way
Date of publication: December 2002
Description/subject: Research Paper by the Burma UN Service Office - New York, December 2002 (published, March 2003)... Executive Summary: "The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma’s (the NCGUB) position on humanitarian aid is that the dire humanitarian situation should be one of the first items on the agenda of a substantive dialogue between the SPDC and the NLD. Joint consultative mechanisms should be established to ensure that aid reaches the right people in the right way. The objective of these mechanisms would be to ensure transparency and accountability and independent monitoring of the provision of humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable populations in Burma. Once these modalities are agreed upon, humanitarian aid by the international community should increase. Initially, to ensure the implementation and enforcement of the joint mechanisms, the NCGUB would prefer funds to finance small-scale projects managed by international NGOs." ... Contents: Executive Summary;The General Humanitarian Situation in Burma: Poverty; health; HIV/AIDS; education; food insecurity; displacement; landmines. Why is there a Humanitarian Crisis in Burma? Economic mismanagement; oppression of civil society; ongoing conflict, displacement, human rights abuses and access. The National League for Democracy’s Position; ; Current Humanitarian Assistance in Burma: Specific challenges faced by international aid agencies; past incidences of concern involving international aid agencies; building the capacity of civil society; the joint principles of operation/code of conduct for INGOs. Humanitarian Cease-fires: Potential Peace-Building Tool; Potential Institutional Processes for the Provision of Humanitarian Assistance; A Possible Humanitarian Assistance Model for Burma ; ANNEXES: Annex I: Summary of UN Agencies and Projects Inside Burma; Annex II: List of International NGOs Inside Burma; Annex III: Joint Principles of Operation of International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) Providing Humanitarian Assistance in Burma/Myanmar; Annex IV: The Sphere Project – Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response; Annex V: Case Studies of Humanitarian Intervention; Annex VI: Guidelines Table for the Arrangement of Humanitarian Cease-Fires;
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma UN Service Office - New York/Burma Fund
Format/size: html (646K) Several boxes only work with Internet Explorer, Word (454K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/Hum-assistance.doc
Date of entry/update: May 2003


Title: Aiding Burma
Date of publication: November 2002
Description/subject: Since her release in May this year, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has become more pragmatic in dealing with Burma�s medieval generals as well as in her outlook on the country�s problems. Immediately after being freed, Suu Kyi was confronted by the humanitarian crisis wracking the country and its citizens. She did not deny the enormity of existing problems, and quickly affirmed that as long as aid reaches people in need, she has no objections. But she also called for transparency, accountability and independent monitoring of assistance given to Burma.
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: A Peace of Pie? - Burma's Humanitarian Aid Debate
Date of publication: 13 October 2002
Description/subject: A PEACE OF THE PIE? AID & POLITICS: PEACEBUILDING & NATIONAL RECONCILIATION: National Reconciliation, Humanitarian Aid & �Neutrality�, From �Secret Talks� To Tripartite Dialogue; THE HUMANITARIAN 'CRISIS': Taking The Politics Out Of Aid, Leaked UN Memo; �BETTER GOVERNANCE IS THE ANSWER� - Transcript Of Interview With Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, August 2002; THE DEMOCRACY MOVEMENT; THE ETHNIC NATIONALITIES: The �No AID� Position; THE SPDC; WHOSE RESONSIBILITY?: Causes Of Humanitarian problems in Burma, Oppression Of Civil Society, SPDC Society, Armed Conflict, Human Rights Violations, Killings, Forced Labour, Rape, Food Security, Forced Relocation & Dislocation, Economic Mismanagement, The Way Forward; ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT AID: Building Civil Society And Pluralism, Gongos, Independence Of Ingos, Reducing Conflict, Assistance To The Most Needy, Strengthening State Capacity For Responsibility, Lack Of Expertise, Aid Cannot Wait, Witnessing Human Rights, Corruption, Complementary Work, Bums-On-Seats; �THE RIGHT WAY�: Transparency, Accountability, Monitoring, The Role Of Aid Agencies, Donors and The International Community; CHRONOLOGY; APPENDIX 1: NGOS & DONORS IN BURMA: International Ngos In Burma, Donors, Donor/Government Policies, Multilateral Organisations, Corporate; APPENDIX II: POLITICAL & NATIONAL RECONCILIATION by Dr. Chao-Tzang Yawnghwe; APPENDIX III: Myanmar: a silent humanitarian crisis in the making; APPENDIX IV: DCI � SPDC�s newest weapon; BIBLIOGRAPHY; RESOURCES FROM ALTSEAN-BURMA.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
Format/size: html (928); Word (394K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/peaceofpie.doc
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Who is Aiding Who?
Date of publication: August 2002
Description/subject: Who�s Aiding Who? After meeting with visiting Japanese foreign minister Yoriko Kawaguchi in Rangoon this past August, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi softened her stance by announcing that she now welcomes foreign aid.
Author/creator: Editorial
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 10, No. 6, July-August 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2010


Title: Myanmar: The HIV/AIDS Crisis
Date of publication: 02 April 2002
Description/subject: "HIV prevalence is rising rapidly in Burma/Myanmar, fuelled by population mobility, poverty and frustration that breeds risky sexual activity and drug-taking. Already, one in 50 adults are estimated to be infected, and infection rates in sub-populations with especially risky behaviour (such as drug users and sex workers) are among the highest in Asia. Because of the long lag time between HIV infection and death, the true impact of the epidemic is just beginning to be felt. Households are losing breadwinners, children are losing parents, and some of the hardest-hit communities, particularly some fishing villages with very high losses from HIV/AIDS, are losing hope. Worse is to come, but how much worse depends on the decisions that Myanmar and the international community take in the coming months and years... Myanmar stands perilously close to an unstoppable epidemic. However large scale action targeted at helping those most at risk protect themselves could still make a real difference. Action on the scale necessary will inevitably involve working through government institutions, possibly in partnership with NGOs. The international community, and bilateral donors in particular, should look for ways to channel resources to Myanmar in ways that encourage political commitment and capitalise on the emerging willingness to confront the HIV epidemic..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group
Format/size: pdf (125K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Myanmar: The Politics of Humanitarian Aid
Date of publication: 02 April 2002
Description/subject: "Myanmar's military government has long been treated as a pariah with which most Western governments, non-governmental organisations and human rights groups have maintained minimal contact. The country's humanitarian crisis and the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS are now so serious, however, that a significant increase in international assistance is needed. Widespread concern that such re-engagement in Myanmar could undermine the quest for political change is misplaced and should not block increased humanitarian aid. International donors, the government and the NLD should recognise that the country's pressing humanitarian problems cannot wait for the slow political process to work itself out..." This well-researched and -argued report challenges international NGOs, international donors, the UN system, the Burmese military, the National League for Democracy and the overseas supporters of the Burmese democracy movement.
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Crisis Group (Asia Report N° 32)
Format/size: pdf (388K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Inside INGOs: Aiding or Abetting?
Date of publication: December 2001
Description/subject: "INGOs inside Burma are trying to keep a humanitarian crisis at bay. But what can they accomplish with such a controlling and corrupt regime still firmly in place? Burma is facing a dire humanitarian crisis and without the proper assistance the situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The nostrum of increasing international aid is decidedly more complex than it initially seems, especially for the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) already working in Burma. With the secret talks in Rangoon between Burma’s ruling State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi entering their second year, the answer to the question of increasing aid is still not clear..."
Author/creator: Tony Broadmoor
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The Aid Game
Date of publication: December 2001
Description/subject: "The Thai-Burma border has become a breeding ground for poorly conceived aid projects, leaving the real needs of refugees and exiles unattended... Relief agencies first began working on the Thai-Burma border in 1984 to support nearly ten thousand ethnic Karens who had fled from persecution by the Burmese army. Four years later, as Burmese activists, politicians and intellectuals began fleeing to Burma’s borders with Thailand and India to escape a brutal crackdown on the nationwide democracy uprising of 1988, the need for emergency assistance increased dramatically. Now, with an ethnic refugee population in Thailand that numbers over 135,000, and another 100 Burmese dissidents also believed to be sheltering in the country, Burma’s displaced persons have become one of the region’s major targets of relief efforts...
Author/creator: Aung Zaw and John S. Moncrief
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9, No. 9
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: BURMA: COMPANIES, NGOs AND THE NEW DIPLOMACY
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "Burma, also known as Myanmar, is an important case study in wider international debates on the politics of sanctions versus constructive engagement, and the role of companies and NGOs in controversial states. Since 1962 Burma has been ruled by a succession of military and quasi-military regimes. All the main political actors, including the armed forces, agree that it should eventually return to some form of democratic rule. The questions are: when and by what route? And how, if at all, can the international community assist? One of the most important features of the Burma debate is the role played by non-state actors – particularly NGOs, but also companies. A loose coalition of advocacy groups has put pressure on Western governments to impose sanctions on Burma, and on companies to withdraw from the country. Petroleum companies, in particular, have been accused of collaborating with an illegitimate regime. But such campaigns raise further questions: what role should advocacy groups play in foreign policy-making? And what are the real responsibilities of international companies in controversial states?..."
Author/creator: John Bray
Language: English
Source/publisher: Royal Institute for International Affairs (Briefing Papers, New Series No. 24)
Format/size: pdf (68 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/files/3026_bp_24.pdf
Date of entry/update: 02 September 2010


Title: The Aid Debate Rages On
Date of publication: July 2001
Description/subject: A letter written by representatives of United Nations agencies in Rangoon has brought the debate over giving aid to Burma back into the international spotlight... "The debate over humanitarian assistance to military-ruled Burma has been around ever since the army seized power after gunning down students and pro-democracy activists over a decade ago. The issue is a very sensitive one. And every time it has surfaced, the international community—United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, labor and human rights groups, as well as the exiled community—remained as divided as ever on the matter. A recent controversial letter calling for more aid, signed by all nine UN representatives in Rangoon, is a case in point. In the letter, the nine UN representatives collectively called on their respective headquarters and the international community for a "dramatic overhaul of the budget allocations" for Burma because the country is "on the brink of a humanitarian crisis". The letter, dated June 30, 2001, and distributed to the agencies’ heads throughout the world, was leaked to the press in early August..."
Author/creator: Don Pathan
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol 9. No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 May 2008


Title: Fear and Hope: Displaced Burmese Women in Burma and Thailand
Date of publication: March 2000
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The impact of decades of military repression on the population of Burma has been devastating. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese have been displaced by the government�s suppression of ethnic insurgencies and of the pro-democracy movement. As government spending has concentrated on military expenditures to maintain its control, the once-vibrant Burmese economy has been virtually destroyed. Funding for health and education is negligible, leaving the population at the mercy of the growing AIDS epidemic, which is itself fueled by the production, trade and intravenous use of heroin, as well as the trafficking of women. The Burmese people, whether displaced by government design or by economic necessity, whether opposed to the military regime or merely trying to survive in a climate of fear, face enormous challenges. Human rights abuses are legion. The government�s strategies of forced labor and relocation destroy communities. Displacement, disruption of social networks and the collapse of the public health systems provide momentum for the spreading AIDS epidemic�which the government has barely begun to acknowledge or address. The broader crisis in health care in general and reproductive health in particular affects women at all levels; maternal mortality is extremely high, family planning is discouraged. The decay�and willful destruction�of the educational system has created an increasingly illiterate population�without the tools necessary to participate in a modern society. The country-wide economic crisis drives the growth of the commercial sex industry, both in Burma and in Thailand. Yet, international pressure for political change is increasing and nongovernmental organizations and some UN agencies manage to work within Burma, quietly challenging the status quo. The delegation met with Aung San Suu Kyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy, who is considered by much of the international community as the true representative of the Burmese people. Despite her concerns that humanitarian aid can prop up the SPDC, she was cautiously supportive of direct, transparent assistance in conjunction with unrelenting international condemnation of the military government�s human rights abuses and anti-democratic rule. The delegation concluded that carefully designed humanitarian assistance in Burma can help people without strengthening the military government. And, until democracy is restored in Burma, refugees in Thailand must receive protection from forced repatriation, and be offered opportunities for skills development and education to carry home. On both sides of the border, women�s groups work to respond to the issues facing their communities; they are a critical resource in addressing the critical needs for education, reproductive health and income generation." ADDITIONAL KEYWORDS: forced resettlement, forced relocation, forced movement, forced displacement, forced migration, forced to move, displaced
Language: English
Source/publisher: Women's Commission on Refugee Women and Children
Format/size: pdf (182.54 K)
Alternate URLs: http://womensrefugeecommission.org/component/docman/doc_download/438-fear-and-hope-displaced-burmes...
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2010


Title: Nowhere to Run: Ethnic Burmese Living in Refugee-like Circumstances in Thailand
Date of publication: February 2000
Description/subject: "...[R]eport on the Women's Commission Reproductive Health Project site visit in February 2000 to the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot, Thailand [Dr Cynthia's clinic]. One key finding in this report is that reproductive health data collection has steadily improved at the Mae Tao Clinic. This is a good sign of progress as data collection is essential to establish a baseline of information about the community that a provider is assisting. The data allows the Clinic staff to objectively identify and prioritize community health problems and thereby design their health services to address these problems. In addition, the Clinic family planning program contraceptive user-rate has increased annually due to family planning education conducted by the staff. The significant unmet need for family planning services, however, is evident in the numbers of women and girls presenting to the Clinic with complications of unsafe abortion. An alarming 23% of the 277 women presenting to the Clinic with abortion complications in 1999 were under 20 years old and almost the same percentage had already had one abortion."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?page=search&skip=0&query=Ethnic+Burmese+Living+in+...
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: NGOs in Burma:"No-Good Outsiders"?
Date of publication: March 1999
Description/subject: What can you learn from visiting the office of a foreign non-governmental organization NGO in Rangoon, capital of one of the world's most repressed nations? Not much, unless you happen to catch somebody eating lunch in their garden.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: The Remedy Temporary Relief
Date of publication: March 1999
Description/subject: The issue of giving humanitarian assistance to Burma has recently returned as a subject of discussion in the international media. In fact, the Japanese government has already resumed non-emergency humanitarian assistance to the Burmese regime, and some oil companies operating in the country are also funding development projects to counter criticism of their involvement with the junta. But now, there are some in the United States government who are questioning the wisdom of a ban on aid to Burma.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 3
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: "Axe-handles or willing minions?" International NGOs in Burma
Date of publication: 05 December 1997
Description/subject: "The issue of how International Non Governmental organisations (INGOs) should approach operating in Burma is a thorny one. This was particularly so in the early 1990s. Many development workers and the expatriate democracy movement felt that an NGO presence would provide the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC)[i], with much needed legitimacy. Warnings were sounded: INGOs would fall prey to the SLORC's manipulation, aid would be stolen and sold to profit the government, INGOs would be used in SLORC propaganda and meaningful development would not reach those it was intended for. They would become “willing minions” executing the SLORC’s agendas. INGOs were urged that their priority should be the large refugee populations in neighbouring countries who were the most visible and accessible victims of the SLORC's misrule. Despite the heat of the debate in 1993, some fifteen INGOs have entered Burma and more continue to arrive to explore the environment (and some have subsequently withdraw).[ii] What has their experience been? As Burma approaches its thirty-fifth year of military rule, what are the issues for INGOs wanting to work with Burmese? What possibilities could be explored for facilitating the growth of civil society? What attitude should INGOs adopt towards the democracy movement inside Burma? This paper examines these questions, with a focus on INGO experience, and begins by outlining a theoretical model for understanding the variety of INGOs and how their approach to operating in Burma might be categorised..."... This paper is one of four presented at the conference organised by TNI and the Burma Centrum Nederland on December 4 and 5, 1997 in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, 'Strengthening Civil Society in Burma. Possibilities and Dilemmas for International NGOs'. A book of the same name, containing edited versions of the papers, an introduction and notes on the authors was subsequently published by Silkworm Books, Chiangmai 1999.
Author/creator: Marc Purcell, Australian Council for Overseas Aid
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute/Burma Centrum Nederland
Format/size: html (267K), Word (167K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/purcellpaper.doc
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2005


Title: A Void in Myanmar: Civil Society in Burma
Date of publication: 05 December 1997
Description/subject: "The term 'civil society' has been prominent in the history of Western intellectual thought for about two hundred years. Its con­notative vicissitudes, its origins and previous political uses from Hegel and Marx and beyond in a sense reflect a microcosm both of poli­ti­­cal and social science theory. For a period reflection on civil society was out of style, an anachronistic concept replaced by more fashionable intellectual formulations. Today, however, the term has once again come back into significance. Here, however, we are not concerned with its history, but rather with its contemporary use, as defined below, as one means to under­stand the dynamics of Burmese politics and society..."... This paper is one of four presented at the conference organised by TNI and the Burma Centrum Nederland on December 4 and 5, 1997 in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, 'Strengthening Civil Society in Burma. Possibilities and Dilemmas for International NGOs'. A book of the same name, containing edited versions of the papers, an introduction and notes on the authors was subsequently published by Silkworm Books, Chiangmai 1999.
Author/creator: David Steinberg
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute/Burma Centrum Nederland
Format/size: html (85K), Word (67K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Steinbergpaper.doc
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: ETHNIC CONFLICT AND THE CHALLENGE OF CIVIL SOCIETY IN BURMA
Date of publication: 05 December 1997
Description/subject: "...The peaceful and lasting solution to the long-running ethnic conflicts in Burma is, without doubt, one of the most integral challenges facing the country today. Indeed, it can not be separated from the greater challenges of social, political and economic reform in the country at large. Since the seismic events of 1988, Burma has remained deadlocked in its third critical period of political and social transition since independence in 1948. However, despite the surface impasse, the political landscape has not remained static. During the past decade, the evidence of desire for fundamental political change has spread to virtually every sector of society, and, at different stages, this desire for change has been articulated by representatives of all the major political, ethnic, military and social organisations or factions. That Burma, therefore, has entered an era of enormous political volatility and transformation is not in dispute..."... This paper is one of four presented at the conference organised by TNI and the Burma Centrum Nederland on December 4 and 5, 1997 in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, 'Strengthening Civil Society in Burma. Possibilities and Dilemmas for International NGOs'. A book of the same name, containing edited versions of the papers, an introduction and notes on the authors was subsequently published by Silkworm Books, Chiangmai 1999.
Author/creator: Martin Smith
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute/Burma Centrum Nederland
Format/size: html (255K), Word (150K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/smithpaper.doc
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2005


Title: No Room to Move : Legal Constraints on Civil Society in Burma
Date of publication: 05 December 1997
Description/subject: "The development and maintenance of civil society - that is, free associations of citizens joined together to work for common concerns or implement social, cultural or political initiatives which compliment, as well as compete with the state - depends upon the citizens of any state being able to enjoy fundamental freedoms: freedom of thought, opinion, expression, association and movement. Underscoring and defending these freedoms must be an independent judiciary and the guarantee of the rule of law. In Burma today, none of these conditions exist. There is no freedom of the press in Burma: government censorship is heavy-handed and pervasive. While the opening up of the economy since 1988 had lead to a proliferation of private magazines and access to affordable video and satellite equipment has also resulted in a massive expansion of small scale video companies and TV/Videos parlours around the country, the organs of state censorship have kept pace with these developments, and virtually every sentence and every image which is produced by the indigenous media has to passed by the government's censorship board, and all non-local media are also carefully monitored and controlled. The Burmese services of the BBC, VOA and the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma are often jammed; CNN and World Service broadcasts which include issues sensitive to the government mysteriously loose sound. New laws have been promulgated to restrict access to the internet, and it has been reported that the government has also purchased technology from Israel which can monitor and censor e-mail messages, and other equipment from Singapore to monitor satellite phones...".... This paper is one of four presented at the conference organised by TNI and the Burma Centrum Nederland on December 4 and 5, 1997 in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam, 'Strengthening Civil Society in Burma. Possibilities and Dilemmas for International NGOs'. A book of the same name, containing edited versions of the papers, an introduction and notes on the authors was subsequently published by Silkworm Books, Chiangmai 1999.
Author/creator: Zunetta Liddell
Language: English
Source/publisher: Transnational Institute/Burma Centrum Nederland
Format/size: html (90K), Word (71K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/liddellpaper.doc
Date of entry/update: 10 August 2005


Title: Caveats, Cautions and Stringent Conditions
Date of publication: August 1995
Description/subject: (On the suggestion that NGOs should go into Burma) "SLORC's shift into longer-term planning has not changed its basic military logic. The military no doubt hopes that NGO involvement in Burma will further its Low-Intensity Conflict strategy, whose final goal is control over all the "liberated areas" currently administered by the non-burman ethnic groups. Hard collective bargaining with SLORC and insistence on specific conditions will reduce this danger... NGOs should not go into Burma at this time. If they do decide to go in, however, they should negotiate collectively with SLORC, and stick to firm guidelines as suggested in this memo..." Burma Peace Foundation April 1994/August 1995
Author/creator: David Arnott
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Peace Foundation
Format/size: html (78K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003