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Shan State

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Shan Profile
Description/subject: "Most ethnic Shan live in the Shan State, though there are also pockets in other parts of Burma such as in Kachin State. Most of them are Theravada Buddhists, with some elements of animist practices, and speak a language which is part of the Tai-Kadai language family, and closely related to Thai and Lao. As there are no reliable population figures for Burma since the Second World War, the size of the Shan minority is a matter of some uncertainty, though most outside sources appear to agree that the Shan are probably the country’s largest minority (Ethnologue [www.ethnologue.com] estimates 3.2 million in 2001; the US State Department gave an estimate of over 4 million in 2007). The term Shan itself is however problematic, at least as it is used by Burma authorities, since they include under this term 33 ethnic groups that are in fact quite distinct and to a large degree unrelated except for close geographic proximity..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Minority Rights Group
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.minorityrights.org/4481/myanmarburma/shan.html
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2014


Individual Documents

Title: INGOs Cannot Reach Lahu Areas and the Needs of the Lahu People
Date of publication: 30 July 2015
Description/subject: "Kyar Yin Shell is a 26-year-old young man from Kengtung, the ‘dark and dirty’ capital city of eastern Salween in the Shan State. While Kengtung has not seen civil war for over two decades, development is non-existent and electricity scarce. Kyar Yin Shell is Lahu, a little known ethnic group that lives scattered around the mountains of Burma, China, Laos, and Thailand. As most Lahu people, Kyar Yin Shell grew up in a village, but unlike many others he was lucky enough to go to school. As a teenager, hard-working Kyar Yin Shell had great hopes for his future until it all seems to end one day; wrong medical treatment left Kyar Yin Shell paralyzed. Kyar Yin Shell lost all hope for his future and like so many others in the Shan State, he became addicted to drugs. During those dark times, Kyar Yin Shell could never have known that he would not only survive and learn to live with his disability, but work actively for his people and travel overseas to represent his country. Kyar Yin Shell’s story shows how much life can surprise you. If you take the chance."...See the Alternate link for part 2.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalink.org/part-2-create-problems-lahu-ethnicities/
Date of entry/update: 20 March 2016


Title: We Are Not Rebels… We Fight for Democracy: Ta’ang (TNLA) Soldiers
Date of publication: 13 July 2015
Description/subject: "Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), the armed wing of Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), is one of the ethnic resistance armed organisations that vows not to lay down arms until there is a guarantee of political negotiations. Burma Link spoke with two TNLA soldiers, Mai and Mai Main, who were sent by their leaders to study human rights and politics in Mae Sot, so that they could go back to Ta’ang land and educate other soldiers. These two soldiers studied in Mae Sot for a year, and believed it is their responsibility to go back to Burma to educate others and safeguard their people’s rights. In this interview, they share their story on how and why they became involved with the TNLA and why the Ta’ang people so strongly support their army. Mai and Mai Main, aged 23 and 26, are now back in the battle fields of northern Shan State." ..."END NOTE: Although TNLA is a member of the ethnic alliance United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), the government has tried to exclude the group from the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) talks. TNLA is an ally of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and fights alongside the Arakan Army (AA) and the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in northern Shan State, to obtain freedom and to establish a genuine federal union. TNLA also fights to eliminate cultivation, production, sale and use of drugs in their traditional lands. Read more."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 March 2016


Title: Ta’ang (Palaung) Leader Tar Aik Bong: ‘Without Proper Political Solutions, There Will Be No Lasting Peace’
Date of publication: 11 November 2014
Description/subject: "Tar Aik Bong is a leader of the Ta’ang (Palaung) people, one of Burma’s ethnic nationalities that continues a daily struggle for survival in largely inaccessible areas in northern Shan State. He joined the Ta’ang liberation movement in 1987, and currently serves as Chairman of Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF) and Head of the military commission of Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA). TNLA is one of the few ethnic armies that continues to fight against the Burma army and vows not to lay down arms until equal rights and a lasting political solution is achieved. TNLA fights to “obtain freedom for all Ta’ang nationals from oppression, to form Ta’ang autonomous regions that guarantee democracy and human rights, to oppose and fight against dictatorship and any form of racial discrimination, to attain national equality and self-determination and to establish a genuine Federal Union that guarantees Ta’ang autonomy and to eliminate cultivation, production, sale and use of narcotics.” Tar Aik Bong is also a member of the ethnic alliance United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) council and Foreign Affairs Department. In an exclusive interview with Burma Link, Tar Aik Bong talks about the causes and current situation of the Ta’ang conflict, the role of the UNFC, and the brutal tactics that the Burmese military uses against Ta’ang civilians in order to cut the opposition movement. Tar Aik Bong also discusses the Burmese military’s instrumental role in the epidemic drug usage in Ta’ang areas, and TNLA’s plan to eradicate the drugs."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2016


Title: THE STATE OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE: TRENDS IN SHAN
Date of publication: 2014
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "The State of Local Governance: Trends in Shan - UNDP Myanmar 2015 This report aims to map the state of affairs and the evolution as witnessed over the past years with regards to governance reforms and service delivery, in particular for the sectors education, health and water supply, in Shan State. It provides a historical background to contextualise the present governance situation in Shan, which differs from all other Regions and States; it provides information on the various recent elections in the State; it seeks transparency of the State budget, and, against this background, it pays particular attention to the perceptions of citizens’ regarding the changes they have witnessed. It finally tries to make the link between good local governance and the quality of service delivery, whereby it looks at aspects of decision-making powers in relation to budget discretion, the availability of budget envelopes, oversight and accountability. Shan State takes a special place amongst the fourteen Regions and States in the country as, in terms of area the biggest of all, covering almost 25% of the entire nation, and in terms of population by far the biggest of all States. Arguably, Shan State has the largest ethnic diversity amongst its population of all fourteen Regions and States. Related to this diversity - its location and the physical features of the terrain making it perfect for a natural border zone - Shan State has played an important role in the history of Myanmar. As far as the most recent history is concerned, this starts with the special position that was negotiated in the Panglong agreement, where Shan State was given the right to exit the Union after a period of 10 years if it would prefer to do so (and which it did not do). As much as the recent serious flaring up of fighting (early February 2015) in the Laukkaing area illustrates that peace and stability cannot yet be taken for granted, the earlier open conflicts in Shan State, which were as much based on economic interest as ethnic differences, seemed to have already for some time reached a situation of agreed status quo, amongst others reflected by the number of Self-Administered Areas as enshrined in the Constitution of 2008, and which are described as part of the local governance set-up in this report. Shan State is distinctly different (and also more complicated), as compared to most other Regions and States, but the mapping of local governance and service delivery also found a number of similarities with the findings in other areas. Overall, in Shan State, as in all other Regions and States, people clearly acknowledge the improvements in service delivery, notably for road infrastructure, education, health and, although to a lesser extent, water supply. People mentioned access to safe drinking water as the largest challenge in service delivery and people also asked for enhanced investments in this sector. As in other Regions and States,* people in Shan ask for more information from government, whilst they bestow (also in terms of information flow) a pivotal role on the indirectly elected Ward and Village Tract Administrators (W/VTAs), whom they consider more and more as a local development change agent. To support this process and to be able honouring the expectations of W/VTAs as ‘intermediary’ between the people and the township administrations, some dedicated capacity development activities may be indicated, both addressing the W/VTAs as well as the township administrations."
Language: English
Source/publisher: UNDP Myanmar
Format/size: pdf (1.9MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.mm.undp.org/content/dam/myanmar/docs/Publications/PovRedu/Local%20Governance%20Mapping/U...
Date of entry/update: 02 February 2016


Title: Mong La: Burma's City of Lights
Date of publication: January 2003
Description/subject: "Cosmopolitan, garish and connected to the outside world via Internet and mobile phones, visitors to Mong La wonder if they are really in Burma anymore... For a while it seems like a road to nowhere. Only army checkpoints and small clusters of huts indicate some life. Then, quite suddenly, the view widens into a valley and the road changes from dirt to tar. At dusk the city ahead looks like a space shuttle that descended upon earth. Abundant neon lights line the buildings. Along a wide avenue, street lamps flash like fireworks. This is Mong La, the capital of Special Region Number Four in eastern Shan State. One wonders if this is still Burma. "Yuan," demands an old woman selling water when she is given kyat. A Chinese employee in the hotel hands over the key without the form filling and other paperwork so typical of the bureaucratic control elsewhere in the country. A condom in the basket of toiletries suggests there are other freedoms to be enjoyed too..."
Author/creator: Joan Williams
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 1
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Ta’ang (Palaung) Leader’s Message to the International Community: ‘Come and See the Real Picture in Our Areas’
Description/subject: "The Ta’ang, also known as Palaung, are one of Burma’s myriad ethnic groups who have been fighting for basic human rights and autonomy for decades. Despite the international enthusiasm over Burma’s reform process, the reality in Burma’s ethnic borderlands remains dire, and the Burmese military continues its brutal offensive against ethnic civilians. Tar Aik Bong joined the Ta’ang struggle in 1987, and is now the Chairperson of the Palaung State Liberation Front (PSLF), the Head of military commission of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), as well as a member of the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC) council and Foreign Affairs Department. The PSLF/TNLA is one of the few prominent ethnic armed groups yet to sign a ceasefire with the Burmese government. The following is Tar Aik Bong’s message to the international community."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Link
Format/size: pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2016