Buddhist Myanmar (formerly Burma) in Southeast
Asia became independent from colonial power Britain in
1948 after a liberation war. The country was then one of
the most developed in Asia. A decline began in 1962 when
the military took power. Juntan ruled unrestricted until
2010, when a democratization began. Myanmar's most
famous citizen is Aung San Suu Kyi, who was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for his peaceful fight for
democracy. She and her party NLD are in office today.
After a military offensive against the Rohingy people in
Rakhine 2017, Suu Kyi's reputation has dropped.
Brief profiles of Burma, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is located in
Southeast Asia with a coast towards the Bay of Bengal
and the Indian Ocean.
The central plain around the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady)
and Sittang (Sittaung) rivers is completely surrounded
by a horseshoe-like chain of mountains and high plateaus
that delimits the country from Bangladesh and India to
the northwest as well as China, Laos and Thailand to the
The Chindwin and Salween (Thanlwin) rivers cut
through these mountain areas to the west and east
In southern Myanmar, a narrow, woodland strip along
Thailand runs down to the narrowest part of the Malacca
Peninsula. Outside, the Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago
extends with a large number of islands. Irrawaddy and
other rivers have formed fertile delta areas, where most
of the country's rice is grown.
The climate is mainly tropical and influenced by the
southwest monsoon of the Indian Ocean, giving Myanmar
three seasons: a warm rainy season from late May to late
October, a cooler and drier period from October to
mid-February, and a warm dry season from February to
In the highlands, the climate is relatively cool.
Snow occurs in the northernmost mountain areas in
January and February.
FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
678 000 km2 (2018)
Swedish +5.5 hours
Adjacent country (s)
Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, Thailand
Capital with number of inhabitants
Naypyidaw 1,160,000 (Census 2014)
Other major cities
Rangoon (Yangon) 5,210,000, Mandalay 1,230,000, Pegu
(Bago) 490,000, Hpa-an 420,000 (Census 2014)
Hkakabo Razi (5,881 m asl)
Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady), Chindwin, Sittang (Sittaung),
Average Precipitation / month
Rangoon 582 mm (July), 3 mm (Dec – Jan)
Average / day
Rangoon 36 °C (March – April), 18 °C (Jan)
Local elections - with restrictions - in Rangoon
For the first time since 1949, general elections are held to approximately
the corresponding city council in Rangoon. Strict rules mean that only about
400,000 of the city's several million inhabitants have the right to vote. Most
candidates are unknown to the general public. The almost 300 people competing
for 115 places have also undergone rigorous scrutiny and many have been thinned
out in advance. Most higher posts are still added by the authorities.
Obama: "Democracy Process Stagnated"
The cooperation organization Apec holds a summit in Naypyidaw. Before the
meeting, Obama said in an interview that some aspects of Myanmar's political and
economic reforms have stagnated and that decline can be seen in, for example,
restrictions on political prisoners, arrests of journalists and violence against
Rohingya in Rakhine. The United States calls on the Myanmar government to grant
Rohingya citizenship, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon talks about
"serious human rights problems" against the country's 1.1 million Muslims, many
of whom are placed in detention camps.
Asean holds summit in Myanmar
Asean holds a summit in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw. Important topics of
discussion are the conflict in the South China Sea, the Islamic State (IS)
terrorist recruitment campaigns in Muslim Asian countries such as Indonesia and
Malaysia, and the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa. US President Barack Obama is
in Myanmar when the meeting is held and meets with both President Thein Sein and
Aung San Suu Kyi. In addition to the meeting, China and Myanmar conclude a
bilateral agreement to increase trade exchanges in the agricultural sector.
UN Reporter: "Many problems remain"
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, says
before the World General Assembly that some democratization has been achieved in
Myanmar, but that several problems remain, such as the ethnic conflicts,
political prisoners and violence in Rakhine.
Foreign banks receive trading licenses
Myanmar grants trading licenses to nine foreign (Asian) banks in an attempt
to attract foreign investment to the country.
Fill selection is set
The Electoral Commission decides to post planned filling elections to 35
seats in Parliament. The authority refers to the need to save money for a summit
in Asean in November as well as for the 2015 regular elections. In addition, the
Election Commission does not consider that it would make any major difference to
the votes to fill the 35 vacant seats. The opposition party NLD agrees with the
The government is asking relief organizations to return to Rakhine
The government is asking Doctors Without Borders and 23 other international
aid organizations to return to Rakhine, five months after the organizations were
forced to cancel their efforts there. A government spokesman says "we can all
make mistakes" and promises that the government guarantees the security of aid
Media: "rape was a lie"
State media say the alleged rape that triggered riots in Mandalay in July was
a lie. The woman is said to have been paid at police interrogation to accuse her
Muslim employer of raping a cafe.
Media workers are sentenced to long prison terms
Four reporters and the CEO of United Weekly News magazine are sentenced to
ten years in prison each for publishing an article in which the military is
accused of producing chemical weapons. According to Human Rights Watch, the
newly acquired media freedom in Myanmar has come under severe pressure in recent
Ethnic violence is spread to Mandalay
Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims in the country's second largest city
Mandalay are leading to violence. Two people, a Buddhist and a Muslim, are
killed. The riots start after social media reports of a Buddhist woman being
raped by a Muslim man. Buddhist gangs attack Muslim-owned shops and a mosque.
"Some 60 political prisoners remain in prison"
The political prisoners aid organization AAPP says that at least 59 people
are being held for political reasons and 85 people are awaiting trial for
politically motivated charges. Thus, the AAPP rejects the government's data from
December 2013 that all political prisoners in the country were released before
the turn of the year.
The United States extends some sanctions
The United States extends some sanctions against Myanmar by one year. The
reason Washington states is that human rights violations and the military's
influence over politics persist, despite the political reforms.
Rohingy help is stopped
The government stops Doctors Without Borders' assistance to Rohingya in
Rakhine. The organization is accused of prioritizing Rohingy care over
Buddhists. The organization is one of the few that provides medical care to the
Muslim refugees in the state. Rohingy especially need care for malaria, HIV /
AIDS and tuberculosis.
Violence against Rohingya in Rakhine continues
There are reports from several quarters that Buddhists in the state of
Rakhine have killed nearly 50 people belonging to the Muslim minority Rohingy.
The security forces must also have participated in the killing. UN Human Rights
Commissioner Navi Pillay calls on the government to investigate the allegations
quickly. The government dismisses the information as baseless rumors, but
confirms that police officers were killed in violence in Rakhine during the same