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The Politics of Silence

Myanmar NGOs’ Ethnic, Religious and Political Agenda

The Politics of SilenceLois Desaine
IRASEC, Bangkok
octobre 2011, 122 p.
ISBN : 978-616-7571-02-7
English Language English text

The political regime in Myanmar used to be a seemingly monopolistic structure where power was exclusively in the Army’s hands. A marginal external influence was exercised by businessmen with close ties to the regime while the country is also exposed to the influence of powerful regional states. Since the General Elections in November 2010, the establishment of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar with a parliamentary democracy (which remains under some control of the Army, but with notable civilian representation) is the most noticeable change in Myanmar politics for decades as it may shift the state away from the Army monopoly, although concrete changes remain to be demonstrated.

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Table of Contents


Part One - Religious and ethnic dimensions of Myanmar NGOs

1 - Myanmar NGOs : a multifaceted civil society dominated by ethnic and faith based organisations

1.1 - Methodology of the study
1.2 - Religious and ethnic trends framing Myanmar NGOs and solidarity networks

2 - Religion and ethnicity in Myanmar NGOs : Historical factors and contemporary facts

2.1 - From the first modern professional NGOs to the emergence of a Myanmar civil society
2.2 - Cyclone Nargis : disaster or opportunity for Myanmar NGOs ?

Part Two - Myanmar NGOs : support to the regime or roots of the opposition ?

1 - How powerful are the Myanmar NGOs ?

1.1 - What are the sources of power and legitimacy for NGOs ?
1.2 - Are changes at higher, central levels possible ?

2 - NGOs as actors of decentralization at the local level : case studies in the Kachin State

2.1 - Case studies of two Kachin NGOs
2.2 - Personal trajectories : from NGO involvement to political activism

3 - The role(s) of NGOs in a political transition

3.1 - Individual perceptions and NGOs’ politics
3.2 - “No word, no confrontation”