Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar - Burma

Myanmar is in South East Asia, also known as Burma and has been called the Golden Land. With an area of 676,578 km² the country is almost twice the size of Germany or slightly smaller than the US state of Texas. Myanmar is bordered in north and north east by China, in the east by Laos and Thailand, in the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal and in the west by Bangladesh and India.

With 5,881m (19,295 ft) Mount Hkakabo Razi in Kachin state on the border tri-point with China and India is the highest elevation in Myanmar and South East Asia's highest mountain. Main rivers are the Chindwin and the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) river.

Myanmar has a population of 52 million people (2014 census). Largest city, former capital, and the economic centre of Myanmar is Yangon, the new capital since 2005 is Naypyidaw. Spoken languages are Burmese.

Taken all together, minorities comprise about 40% of the population of 52 million and most feel disadvantaged to some degree.

 

Background information

The BBC has excellent background and a Myanmar Country Profile on their website which goes into great detail about the history, politics and difficult times Myanmar has undergone while under the rule of an oppressive military junta from 1962 to 2011.

In summary, the generals who ran the country suppressed almost all dissent - symbolised by the house arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi - and stood accused of gross human rights abuses, prompting international condemnation and sanctions. A gradual liberalisation process has been under way since 2010. The country is expected to see a major shift after the government changed hands early in 2016. But the dominance of the largest ethnic group, the Burman or Bamar people, over the country's many minorities has been fuelling a series of long-running rebellions, although a gradual peace process yielded a draft ceasefire deal in 2015.

 

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2016 19.4.16 Hpa Na's temples and caves JPEG (27)