An escalation in fighting between the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army and the Tatmadaw near the town of Mong Ko on the China border has emptied villages, while inflaming longstanding tensions over who controls the area.
Civil society organisations proliferated with government encouragement after the transition to democracy got underway in 2011 but are struggling under a regime that is squeezing the life out of civic space.
Ethnic armed groups in Shan State have long used intimidation to recruit fighters, but the brutal tactics of the Shan State Progress Party are terrorizing villagers and prompting some to flee their homes.
Hundreds of candidates from 13 parties promise a lively election race in November in Kayah State, where the Karenni State Democratic Party is hoping to end the stranglehold that national parties have enjoyed since 2010.
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.