BURMA'S SHIFTING SANDS: WHAT LIES BENEATH { 41 images } Created 13 Mar 2012

The challengers and the challenges faced on the road to democracy in Burma...

In November 2010 the Burmese government held the country's first general election for more than 20 years. With Aung San Suu Kyi sidelined under house arrest and her party, the National League for Democracy rejecting the opportunity to take part in an undemocratic process, the former military regime fooled few with their switch into civilian clothes whilst retaining a firm grip on power.

Over the past year Thein Sein, a former General in the previous military junta and now President in a nominally civilian government, has embarked on a series on reforms in an alleged effort to bring in 'Disciplined Democracy' to the country. Whilst hundreds of political prisoners have been freed, including leading dissidents like the 88 Generation Students, media laws have been softened, truce talks have commenced with ethnic minorities and Aung San Suu Kyi has been elected to parliament in a landslide victory for the NLD in recent bi-elections, severe problems still lurk beneath the surface in the political sphere. Fighting in the ethnic states still rages unabated, gross human rights abuses continue and draconian laws still remain in place ready to return dissidents back to jail at a moments notice.

Whilst to the outside world of the international community on the surface all might appear calm and clear and the path to democracy paved with gold, until the rule of law and the desperately un-democratic constitution is changed, it is what lies beneath that is still very much as it always has been - authoritarian military rule that has brought so much suffering, fear to the people of Burma and severe repression to those brave enough to stand against it
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