Myanmar Monitor Weekly

Politics

Myanmar’s Suu Kyi kicks off peace conference with appeal for unity
Aung San Suu Kyi has made the peace process a priority for her administration, which faces sky-high expectations at home and abroad. A major push to end decades of fighting between the military and a myriad of rebel groups started on 31 August with a peace conference expected to meet every six months to discuss issues ranging from security, political representation, language and culture to mineral resources.
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Armed conflict continues on highway in Karen State
Fresh clashes have been reported on a stretch of the Asian Highway running through southern Karen State on 30 August, following the death of the leader of a splinter group of the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA). The Asian Highway, lauded by governments as part of an “east-west economic corridor” in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region, has been criticized by rights groups for contributing to increased militarization in an already conflict-prone region.
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Society

Almost 1.3 million child labourers in Myanmar: survey
A new survey released on 30 August by Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population shows there are nearly 1.3 million child labourers in Myanmar, which is more than 10% of the nation’s minors. While the figures are large, more than 75% of the children are 15-17 year olds, an age range where employment is legal across most countries. However, the average child in Myanmar spends about 52 hours a week on the job, while an estimated 24.4%-33.6% are clocking 60 or more hours a week, which are much higher figures than are seen in the developed world.
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Foreign Affairs

E-Visa holders permitted to enter Myanmar overland
Myanmar’s Ministry of Immigration and Population will allow tourists from 100 countries holding electronic visas to enter the country through three cities on the Thai border, starting today, 1 September. The electronic visa application was introduced in 2014 and allowed tourists holding e-visas to enter the country only via airports in Rangoon, Mandalay or Naypyidaw. Myanmar’s tourist arrivals reached nearly 4.7 million last year and more than 60% of tourists came through overland border crossings.
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India eyes further expansion into Myanmar markets
India’s investors have been eyeing Myanmar’s health, energy, agriculture and automobile sectors, with bilateral trade agreements inked during Myanmar President Htin Kyaw’s four-day visit to India, which began on 27 August. India’s total investment in Myanmar was just over US$224 million during the 2015-2016 fiscal year—significantly lower than the investments of other regional countries, like China. India expressed interest in Myanmar’s automobile and agricultural sector, which are both heavily influenced by other Asian nations.
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