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South-east Asia: Myanmar at a crossroads?

Misconceptions of an enigma

Myanmar is an enigma. Listed in international statistics as the poorest country in Asia and one of the poorest among the world’s 49 least developed countries (LDCs), and politically ostracised because of its continuous record of human rights violations, the self-imposed insulation and the externally created isolation of the country lead to many misconceptions. Gabriele Köhler reports.


With a newly-created parliament having its first sitting on 31 January, there is a spirit of guarded optimism that change may come – that Myanmar may be at a fragile crossroads towards at least marginally more democracy and more equitable economic and social development. What is the current situation?

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