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Background Information

Burma & Minority Group Chronology

  • Jan 1947 - Britain agrees to grant independence in negotiations with the nationalist leader, General Aung San.
  • Feb 1947 - Ethnic groups sign the Panglong Agreement, which guarantees a level of autonomy, rights and the prospect of future independence to Kachin, Shan, and Chin ethnic areas.
  • July 1947 - General Aung San assassinated
  • Sept 1947 - New constitution is approved. Shan and Karenni groups are granted the right to secede from the Union of Burma after a ten-year period following the declaration of independence. Karen and other groups are given no right to secede.
  • 1948 - Independence from Britain and government formed by Prime Minister U Nu. -Karen launch liberation struggle.
  • 1958 - Shan liberation movement launches struggle.
  • Mar 1962 - Military coup led by General Ne Win ushers in 40 years of oppressive isolationist rule.
  • 1964 - One party socialist state created.
  • 1974 - Government agrees to crack down on the illegal drug trade.
    -Government declares martial law.
  • 1976 - Ethnic liberation groups control over one third of the country.
  • 1988 - Pro-democracy demonstrations crushed by the military.
    -National League of Democracy (NLD) formed by General Aung San's daughter, Aung San Suu Kyi, and others.
    -Ethnic liberation movements come together to establish the Democratic Alliance of Burma.
    -Martial law declared again.
    -U.N. and Western countries halt bilateral aid.
  • 1989 - Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders placed under house arrest.
    -Military increases pressure on ethnic rebel groups.
    -Cease-fire concluded with United Wa State Army, a large ethnic military force and leading drug producers.
  • 1990 - NLD wins a landslide victory in election. NLD leaders again arrested.
  • 1991 - Aung San Suu Kyi is awarded Noble Peace Prize.
  • 1995 - Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest.
  • 1996 - Khun Sa, top druglord and leader of the large ethnic Mong Tai Army (MTA) surrenders to the Burmese military and is offered government protection.
  • 1997 - Burma / Myanmar accepted into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
    - U.S. tightens economic sanctions.
  • 2000 - Cease-fire with United Wa State Army (UWSA) renewed.
    -Aung San Suu Kyi placed under house arrest again.
  • 2001 - Burma / Myanmar becomes world's top producer of opium.
    - Negotiations begin between the Burma/Myanmar military regime and Aung San Suu Kyi
  • May 6, 2002 - Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest.
  • June 2002 - Upsurge in fighting and tension along the Burma/Thailand border involving the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Burma's military forces against ethnic Shan forces.

Information taken from "The Shore Beyond Good and Evil: A Report from Inside Burma's Opium Kingdom" by Hideyuki Takano, Kotan Publishing.


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