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Burma

Burma (East & Southeast Asia)

Introduction ::Burma

Background:

Britain conquered Burma over a period of 62 years (1824-1886) and incorporated it into its Indian Empire. Burma was administered as a province of India until 1937 when it became a separate, self-governing colony; independence from the Commonwealth was attained in 1948. Gen. NE WIN dominated the government from 1962 to 1988, first as military ruler, then as self-appointed president, and later as political kingpin. In September 1988, the military deposed NE WIN and established a new ruling junta. Despite multiparty legislative elections in 1990 that resulted in the main opposition party - the National League for Democracy (NLD) - winning a landslide victory, the junta refused to hand over power. NLD leader and Nobel Peace Prize recipient AUNG SAN SUU KYI, who was under house arrest from 1989 to 1995 and 2000 to 2002, was imprisoned in May 2003 and subsequently transferred to house arrest. She was finally released in November 2010. After the ruling junta in August 2007 unexpectedly increased fuel prices, tens of thousands of Burmese marched in protest, led by prodemocracy activists and Buddhist monks. In late September 2007, the government brutally suppressed the protests, killing at least 13 people and arresting thousands for participating in the demonstrations. Since then, the regime has continued to raid homes and monasteries and arrest persons suspected of participating in the pro-democracy protests. Burma in early May 2008 was struck by Cyclone Nargis which official estimates claimed left over 80,000 dead and 50,000 injured. Despite this tragedy, the junta proceeded with its May constitutional referendum, the first vote in Burma since 1990. Parliamentary elections held in November 2010, considered flawed by many in the international community, saw the junta's Union Solidarity and Development Party garnering over 70 percent of the seats. Parliament is constitutionally mandated to convene within 90 days of the election; the president, two vice presidents, and ministers will be selected at that time.

Geography ::Burma

Location:

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand

Geographic coordinates:
22 00 N, 98 00 E

Map references:

Southeast Asia

Area:

total: 676,578 sq km country comparison to the world: 40 land: 653,508 sq km

water: 23,070 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than Texas

Land boundaries:

total: 5,876 km

border countries: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

Coastline:

1,930 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Climate:

tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoon, June to September); less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter (northeast monsoon, December to April)

Terrain:

central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Andaman Sea 0 m

highest point: Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m

Natural resources:

petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower

Land use:

arable land: 14.92%

permanent crops: 1.31%

other: 83.77% (2005)

Irrigated land:

18,700 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:

1,045.6 cu km (1999)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 33.23 cu km/yr (1%/1%/98%)

per capita: 658 cu m/yr (2000)

Natural hazards:

destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto
Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone
Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical
Timber 94

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

strategic location near major Indian Ocean shipping lanes

People ::Burma

Population:

53,414,374 country comparison to the world: 24 note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2010 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 25.3% (male 6,193,263/female 5,990,658)

15-64 years: 69.3% (male 16,510,648/female 16,828,462)

65 years and over: 5.4% (male 1,121,412/female 1,493,298) (2010 est.)

Median age:

total: 26.5 years

male: 26 years

female: 27.1 years (2010 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.096% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 116

Birth rate:

19.49 births/1,000 population (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 99

Death rate:

8.23 deaths/1,000 population (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 97

Net migration rate:

-0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population country comparison to the world: 134

Urbanization:

urban population: 33% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 2.9% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female

total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 50.76 deaths/1,000 live births country comparison to the world: 50 male: 57.85 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 43.24 deaths/1,000 live births (2010 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 64.52 years country comparison to the world: 167 male: 62.23 years

female: 66.94 years (2010 est.)

Total fertility rate:

2.28 children born/woman (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 106

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.7% (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 64

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

240,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 28

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

25,000 (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: very high

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

water contact disease: leptospirosis

animal contact disease: rabies

note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country; it poses a negligible risk with extremely rare cases possible among US citizens who have close contact with birds (2009)

Nationality:

noun: Burmese (singular and plural)

adjective: Burmese

Ethnic groups:

Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%,
Mon 2%, other 5%

Religions:

Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%

Languages:

Burmese (offical) minority ethnic groups have their own languages

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 89.9%

male: 93.9%

female: 86.4% (2006 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):

total: 9 years

male: 8 years

female: 8 years (2007)

Education expenditures:

1.2% of GDP (2001) country comparison to the world: 181

Government ::Burma

Country name:

conventional long form: Union of Burma

conventional short form: Burma

local long form: Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw (translated by the US Government as Union of Myanma and by the Burmese as Union of Myanmar)

local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw

former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma

note: since 1989 the military authorities in Burma have promoted the name Myanmar as a conventional name for their state; the US Government did not adopt the name, which is a derivative of the Burmese short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw

Government type:

military regime

Capital:

name: Rangoon (Yangon)

geographic coordinates: 16 48 N, 96 09 E

time difference: UTC+6.5 (11.5 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

note: Nay Pyi Taw is administrative capital

Administrative divisions:

7 divisions (taing-myar, singular - taing) and 7 states* (pyi ne-myar, singular - pyi ne)

divisions: Ayeyarwady, Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Yangon

states: Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon, Rakhine (Arakan), Shan

Independence:

4 January 1948 (from the UK)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 4 January (1948); Union Day, 12 February (1947)

Constitution:

3 January 1974; suspended since 18 September 1988; a constitution officially received 92.48% support in a flawed May 2008 referendum that most observers judged fell far short of international standards of free and fair elections; note - a new constitution is to take effect when a parliament is convened possibly in late January 2011

Legal system:

based on English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Sr. Gen. THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992)

head of government: Prime Minister Lt. Gen THEIN SEIN (since 24 October 2007)

cabinet: Cabinet is overseen by the military regime that assumed power 18 September 1988 under the name State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC); changed in 1997 to SPDC (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: none

Legislative branch:

bicameral, consists of the House of Nationalities [Amyotha Hluttaw] (224 seats, 168 directly elected and 56 appointed by the military; members serve five-year terms) and the House of Representatives [Pythu Hluttaw] (440 seats, 330 directly elected and 110 appointed by the military; members serve five-year terms)

elections: last held on 7 November 2010 (next to be held in December 2015)

election results: House of Nationalities - percent of vote by party - USDP 74.8%, others (NUP, SNDP, RNDP, NDF, AMRDP) 25.2%; seats by party - USDP 129, others 39; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - USDP 79.6%, others (NUP, SNDP, RNDP, NDF, AMRDP) 20.4%; seats by party - USDP 259, others 66

Judicial branch:

remnants of the British-era legal system are in place, but there is no guarantee of a fair public trial; the judiciary is not independent of the executive

Political parties and leaders:

All Mon Region Democracy Party or AMRDP; National Democratic Force or NDF [KHIN MAUNG SWE]; National League for Democracy or NLD [AUNG SHWE, AUNG SAN SUU KYI]; note - the party is defunct because it did not register for the 2010 election; National Unity Party or NUP [TUN YE]; Rakhine Nationalities Development Party or RNDP; Shan Nationalities League for Democracy or SNLD [HKUN HTUN OO]; Union Solidarity and Development Party or USDP [THEIN SEIN]; numerous smaller parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Thai border: Ethnic Nationalities Council or ENC; Federation of Trade Unions-Burma or FTUB (exile trade union and labor advocates); National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma or NCGUB (self-proclaimed government in exile) ["Prime Minister" Dr. SEIN WIN] consists of individuals, some legitimately elected to the People's Assembly in 1990 (the group fled to a border area and joined insurgents in December 1990 to form a parallel government in exile); National Council-Union of Burma or NCUB (exile coalition of opposition groups)

Inside Burma: Kachin Independence Organization or KIO; Karen National Union or KNU; Karenni National People's Party or KNPP; Union Solidarity and Development Association or USDA (pro-regime, a social and political mass-member organization) [HTAY OO, general secretary] became the Union Solidarity and Development Party in 2010; United Wa State Army or UWSA; 88 Generation Students (pro-democracy movement); several other Shan factions

International organization participation:

ADB, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO,
ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO
(correspondent), ITU, NAM, OPCW (signatory), SAARC (observer), UN,
UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires HAN THU - note: Burma does not have an ambassador to the United States

chancery: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 332-3344
FAX: [1] (202) 332-4351

consulate(s) general: none; Burma has a Mission to the UN in New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires Larry M. DINGER - note: The United States does not have an ambassador to Burma

embassy: 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, Rangoon

mailing address: Box B, APO AP 96546

telephone: [95] (1) 536-509, 535-756, 538-038
FAX: [95] (1) 650-306

Flag description:

design consists of three equal horizontal stripes of yellow (top), green, and red; centered on the green band is a large white five-pointed star that partially overlaps onto the adjacent colored stripes; the design revives the triband colors used by Burma from 1943-45, during the Japanese occupation

National anthem:

name: "Kaba Ma Kyei" (Till the End of the World, Myanmar)

lyrics/music: SAYA TIN

note: adopted 1948; Burma is among a handful of non-European nations that have anthems rooted in indigenous traditions; the beginning portion of the anthem is a traditional Burmese anthem before transitioning into a Western-style orchestrated work

Economy ::Burma

Economy - overview:

Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, corruption, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the regime's mismanagement, leaving most of the public in poverty, while military leaders and their business cronies exploit the country's ample natural resources. The economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including rising inflation, fiscal deficits, multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat, a distorted interest rate regime, unreliable statistics, and an inability to reconcile national accounts to determine a realistic GDP figure. Burma's poor investment climate hampers the inflow of foreign investment; in recent years, foreign investors have shied away from nearly every sector except for natural gas, power generation, timber, and mining. The business climate is widely perceived as opaque, corrupt, and highly inefficient. Over 60% of the FY 2009-10 budget is allocated to state owned enterprises - most operating at a deficit. The government has recently privatized a number of state owned enterprises, but most of the benefits have accrued to regime insiders and cronies. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries - especially oil and gas, mining, and timber - with the latter two causing significant environmental degradation. Other areas, such as manufacturing, tourism and services, struggle in the face of inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable trade policies, neglected health and education systems, and endemic corruption. A major banking crisis in 2003 caused 20 private banks to close; private banks still operate under tight restrictions, limiting the private sector's access to credit. The United States, the European Union, Canada, and Australia have imposed financial and economic sanctions on Burma, prohibiting most financial transactions with Burmese entities, imposing travel bans on Burmese officials and others connected to the ruling regime, and banning imports of certain Burmese products. These sanctions affected the country's fledgling garment industry, isolated the struggling banking sector, and raised the costs of doing business with Burmese companies, particularly firms tied to Burmese regime leaders. The global crisis of 2008-09 caused exports and domestic consumer demand to drop. Remittances from overseas Burmese workers - who had provided significant financial support for their families - slowed or dried up as jobs were lost and migrant workers returned home. Though the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, better investment and business climates and an improved political situation are needed to promote serious foreign investment, exports, and tourism.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$60.07 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 86 $58.27 billion (2009 est.)

$57.24 billion (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$35.65 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

3.1% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 117 1.8% (2009 est.)

1.1% (2008 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$1,100 (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 209 $1,100 (2009 est.)

$1,100 (2008 est.)

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 43.2%

industry: 20%

services: 36.8% (2010 est.)

Labor force:

31.68 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 18

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 70%

industry: 7%

services: 23% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:

5.7% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 56 4.9% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line:

32.7% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.8%

highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)

Investment (gross fixed):

15.1% of GDP (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 129

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

9.6% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 197 1.5% (2009 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

12% (31 December 2009) country comparison to the world: 34 12% (31 December 2008)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

17% (31 December 2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 33 17% (31 December 2008 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$4.907 billion (31 December 2010 est) country comparison to the world: 89 $4.038 billion (31 December 2009 est)

note: this number reflects the vastly overvalued official exchange rate of 5.38 kyat per dollar in 2007; at the unofficial black market rate of 1,305 kyat per dollar for 2007, the stock of kyats would equal only US$2.465 billion and Burma's velocity of money (the number of times money turns over in the course of a year) would be six, in line with the velocity of money for other countries in the region; in 2009, the unofficial black market rate averaged 1,090 kyat per dollar.

Stock of broad money:

$7.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 108 $6.231 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$8.552 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 98 $6.858 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA

Agriculture - products:

rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane; hardwood; fish and fish products

Industries:

agricultural processing; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; cement, construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; oil and natural gas; garments, jade and gems

Industrial production growth rate:

4.3% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 77

Electricity - production:

6.286 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 105

Electricity - consumption:

4.403 billion kWh (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 113

Electricity - exports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

18,880 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 75

Oil - consumption:

42,000 bbl/day (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 101

Oil - exports:

2,200 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 112

Oil - imports:

18,250 bbl/day (2007 est.) country comparison to the world: 114

Oil - proved reserves:

50 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 78

Natural gas - production:

12.4 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 39

Natural gas - consumption:

3.85 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 66

Natural gas - exports:

8.55 billion cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 22

Natural gas - imports:

0 cu m (2008 est.) country comparison to the world: 198

Natural gas - proved reserves:

283.2 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 41

Current account balance:

$652 million (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 47 $705 million (2009 est.)

Exports:

$7.841 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 94 $6.862 billion (2009 est.)

note: official export figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of timber, gems, narcotics, rice, and other products smuggled to Thailand, China, and Bangladesh

Exports - commodities:

natural gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice, clothing, jade and gems

Exports - partners:

Thailand 46.57%, India 12.99%, China 9.01%, Japan 5.65% (2009)

Imports:

$4.532 billion (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 121 $4.02 billion (2009 est.)

note: import figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of consumer goods, diesel fuel, and other products smuggled in from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India

Imports - commodities:

fabric, petroleum products, fertilizer, plastics, machinery, transport equipment; cement, construction materials, crude oil; food products, edible oil

Imports - partners:

China 33.1%, Thailand 26.28%, Singapore 15.18% (2009)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$3.762 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 79 $3.561 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - external:

$7.145 billion (31 December 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 96 $7.079 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange rates:

kyats (MMK) per US dollar - 1,000 (2010), 1,055 (2009), 1,205 (2008), 1,296 (2007), 1,280 (2006)

Communications ::Burma

Telephones - main lines in use:

812,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 86

Telephones - mobile cellular:

448,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 160

Telephone system:

general assessment: meets minimum requirements for local and intercity service for business and government

domestic: system barely capable of providing basic service; mobile-cellular phone system is grossly underdeveloped with a subscribership base of only 1 per 100 persons

international: country code - 95; landing point for the SEA-ME-WE-3 optical telecommunications submarine cable that provides links to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 2, Intelsat (Indian Ocean) and ShinSat (2009)

Broadcast media:

government controls all domestic broadcast media; 3 state-controlled television stations with 1 of the stations controlled by the armed forces; a fourth TV channel, a pay-TV station, is a joint state-private venture; access to satellite TV is limited with residents required to register and pay a fee for all satellite television receivers; 2 state-controlled domestic radio stations; transmissions of several international broadcasters are available in Burma; the opposition-backed station Democratic Voice of Burma broadcasts into Burma via shortwave (2009)

Internet country code:

.mm

Internet hosts:

172 (2010) country comparison to the world: 197

Internet users:

110,000 (2009) country comparison to the world: 158

Transportation ::Burma

Airports:

76 (2010) country comparison to the world: 72

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 37

over 3,047 m: 12

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 15

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 39

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 11

under 914 m: 23 (2010)

Heliports:

6 (2010)

Pipelines:

gas 2,228 km; oil 558 km (2009)

Railways:

total: 3,955 km country comparison to the world: 44 narrow gauge: 3,955 km 1.000-m gauge (2008)

Roadways:

total: 27,000 km country comparison to the world: 101 paved: 3,200 km

unpaved: 23,800 km (2006)

Waterways:

12,800 km (2008) country comparison to the world: 10

Merchant marine:

total: 26 country comparison to the world: 90 by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 19, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 3, specialized tanker 1

foreign-owned: 3 (Cyprus 1, Germany 1, Japan 1)

registered in other countries: 3 (Panama 3) (2010)

Ports and terminals:

Moulmein, Rangoon, Sittwe

Military ::Burma

Military branches:

Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw): Army (Tatmadaw Kyi), Navy (Tatmadaw
Yay), Air Force (Tatmadaw Lay) (2010)

Military service age and obligation:

18-35 years of age (men) and 18-27 years of age (women) for compulsory military service; service obligation 2 years; male (ages 18-45) and female (ages 18-35) professionals (including doctors, engineers, mechanics) serve up to 3 years; service terms may be streched to 5 years in an officially declared emergency; forced conscription of children, although officially prohibited, reportedly continues (2011)

Manpower available for military service:

males age 16-49: 14,558,921

females age 16-49: 14,539,703 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:

males age 16-49: 10,281,131

females age 16-49: 10,988,695 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:

male: 526,557

female: 510,538 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures:

2.1% of GDP (2005 est.) country comparison to the world: 69

Transnational Issues ::Burma

Disputes - international:

over half of Burma's population consists of diverse ethnic groups who have substantial numbers of kin in neighboring countries; Thailand must deal with Karen and other ethnic refugees, asylum seekers, and rebels, as well as illegal cross-border activities from Burma; Thailand is studying the feasibility of jointly constructing the Hatgyi Dam on the Salween River near the border with Burma; citing environmental, cultural, and social concerns, China is reconsidering construction of 13 dams on the Salween River but energy-starved Burma with backing from Thailand remains intent on building five hydro-electric dams downstream, despite identical regional and international protests; India seeks cooperation from Burma to keep Indian Nagaland separatists, such as the United Liberation Front of Assam, from hiding in remote Burmese Uplands; after 21 years, Bangladesh in January 2008 resumed talks with Burma on delimiting a maritime boundary

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 503,000 (government offensives against ethnic insurgent groups near the eastern borders; most IDPs are ethnic Karen, Karenni, Shan, Tavoyan, and Mon) (2007)

Trafficking in persons:

current situation: Burma is a source country for women, children, and men trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation; Burmese women and children are trafficked to East and Southeast Asia for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced labor; Burmese children are subjected to conditions of forced labor in Thailand as hawkers and beggars; women are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation to Malaysia and China; some trafficking victims transit Burma from Bangladesh to Malaysia and from China to Thailand; Burma's internal trafficking remains the most serious concern occurring primarily from villages to urban centers and economic hubs for labor in industrial zones, agricultural estates, and commercial sexual exploitation; the Burmese military continues to engage in the unlawful conscription of child soldiers, and continues to be the main perpetrator of forced labor inside Burma; ethnic insurgent groups also used compulsory labor of adults and unlawful recruitment of children; the regime's widespread use of and lack of accountability in forced labor and recruitment of child soldiers is particularly worrying and represents the top causal factor for Burma's significant trafficking problem

tier rating: Tier 3 - serious problems remain in Burma, and in some areas, most notably in the area of forced labor, the Government of Burma is not making significant efforts to comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, warranting a ranking of Tier 3; in other areas, particularly with regard to international sex trafficking of women and girls, the Government of Burma is making significant efforts (2010)

Illicit drugs:

remains world's second largest producer of illicit opium with an estimated production in 2008 of 340 metric tons, an increase of 26%, and poppy cultivation in 2008 totaled 22,500 hectares, a 4% increase from 2007; production in the United Wa State Army's areas of greatest control remains low; Shan state is the source of 94% of Burma's poppy cultivation; lack of government will to take on major narcotrafficking groups and lack of serious commitment against money laundering continues to hinder the overall antidrug effort; major source of methamphetamine and heroin for regional consumption (2008)

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