Brief Timeline of Political Events in Burma

2012 January

  • Government signs ceasefire with rebels of Karen ethnic group.
  • Burmese presidential special peace envoy and Rail Transportation Minister Aung Min has offered two exile-based democratic groups to meet for political talks the first week of February, said group leaders.
  • The Karen National Union (KNU) and Burmese government peace delegations signed a cease-fire agreement in Hpaan on Thursday, officially ending the country’s longest-running civil war.
  • The All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF) agreed to have peace talks with the Burmese government.
  • The agreement was signed between the Chin State Government-level peace delegation and the Chin National Front in the presence of the Union-level peace delegation leader Railway Minister U Aung Min and Union-level delegation member Environment and Forestry Minister U Win Htun, Chin State Chief Minister U Hung Ngai and members of the Peace and Tranquillity Committee on 6 January 2012.
  • The historic agreement was signed following talks between a government peace delegation led by Railways Minister Aung Min and KNU representatives led by Gen Mutu Say Poe at the Zwegapin Hotel in the Karen State capital Pa-an.
  • A Burmese government national level peace delegation and the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S) signed an eleven-point peace agreement in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State.
  • The Chin National Front (CNF) signed a cease-fire agreement with a Burmese government peace team led by Railway Minister Aung Min.
  • The Burmese government’s peace team discussed follow-through agreements with the National Democratic Alliance Army-Eastern Shan State (NDAA-ESS) and the United Wa State Army (UWSA) separately.
  • The government and the Kalo Htoo Baw, a small breakaway faction of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, signed a peace agreement on Sunday in Karen State. A seven-member Union level peace-making group led by Lower House MP Aung Thaung and a six-member Kalo Htoo Baw delegation led by Saw Lah Pwe met in Hpaan.
  • Rail Transportation Minister Aung Min led the government team. He met with the Restoration Council of the Shan State/Shan State Army [SSA-S], the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP), the Karen Nation Union [KNU] and the Chin National Front [CNF] on the Thai-Burmese border.
  • Five peace delegates from Mon State arrived in Ye Chaung Phya, the location of the New Mon State Party (NMSP) headquarters.
  • One battalion of the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the Burmese government agreed to a cease-fire, the leader of the battalion said.  Major General Saw La Bwe, aka Bo Moustache, said the cease-fire would go into effect.
  • Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Union Minister Aung Kyi met at a government guesthouse to discuss a prisoners’ amnesty, establishing peace in ethnic areas and economic and financial issues. After the meeting, Minister Aung Kyi read a joint statement and they answered questions from reporters. The following is a translation of the joint statement and the question-and-answer session.
  • The Burmese government and the Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS), the political wing of the Shan State Army-South (SSA-S), have agreed to commence peace talks.
  • The Mong La group will be allowed to reopen its liaison offices following peace talks held with a Union-level peace delegation led by Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) Secretary Aung Thaung.  Since 2009, the government has demanded the transformation of Mong La forces into a Border Guard Force, but during the peace talks the matter was not discussed, said Mong La delegates.
  • A Burmese government delegation held peace talks in China with the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the political wing of the Kachin Independence Army (KIA).
  • Australia’s recent decision to remove some Burmese figures, including former junta ministers and deputy ministers who are no longer in politics, from the sanction list is premature and a wrong signal to Burma’s quasi-civilian regime and the international community.
  • The Philippines has called on the West to end sanctions against Burma, because of its “unprecedented political and economic reforms.”  A staunch critic of the former Burmese military regime, the Philippines said in a foreign affairs statement the recent political prisoners’ amnesty justifies the removal of sanctions.
  • Cambodia, speaking as chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), renewed its calls on Western nations to lift sanctions against Burma. “Myanmar's foreign minister has requested Asean to call for the lifting of economic sanctions against Myanmar.
  • The President Thein Sein has declared an amnesty for 651 prisoners, but it is unknown whether any of those released will be political prisoners. Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Mya Aye and Nilar Thein are among 650 prisoners released on Friday under a new presidential pardon.
  • President Thein Sein has signed a law that amends three key areas of the Political Party Registration Law. Both houses of the Burmese Parliament had previously approved the amendments.
  • The Burmese Election Commission has called all 37 registered political parties to a meeting to explain electoral laws.  Union Election Commission (UEC) chairman Tin Aye urged all 37 registered political parties to take part in working for the lifting of sanctions imposed on Burma by foreign countries at a meeting held in Naypyitaw.
  • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has officially filed to run in the near-rural constituency of Kawhmu on the outskirts of Rangoon in the April 1 by-election. After filing papers to run on Wednesday, she was surrounded by hundreds of by-standers eager to get a glimpse of the 66-year-old democracy icon.
  • Commission (UEC) chairman Tin Aye said the date of the election has been set on April 1st, it is expected to be about 90 days after the start of campaigning.
  • A total of 48 seats at the union or regional level are open. Political parties are free to campaign without informing the EC of their plans, according to sources. There are some constituencies in which there may be no election due to fighting in ethnic areas.
  • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi registered for elections, a sign of how vastly Burma has changed since the junta gave up power after decades of iron-fisted rule.
  • The Danish Minister of Development Christian Friis Bach has announced the opening of a program office in Rangoon following a meeting on Monday with Burmese President Thein Sein. During the meeting, Bach recognized the significant progress Burma has made under Thein Sein's administration, but also called for the release of all political prisoners, free and fair elections and an end to violence in ethnic areas. These are, he said, crucial elements for the EU to consider a relaxation of sanctions. Danish assistance to Burma will double from US $8.5 to 17 million annually.
  • France's foreign minister, Alain Juppé, will visit Burma from Jan. 14 to 16.  His visit is the first ever by a French foreign minister to Burma and the first French ministerial visit since 1988.  Juppé is scheduled to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, other opposition figures and representatives of ethnic minorities in Rangoon before traveling to Naypyidaw for talks with President Thein Sein, his Burmese counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin and other government officials.
  • US Senator Mitch McConnell, the highest-ranking Republican in the Senate and a long-time critic of Burma's former military rulers, make his first visit to the country. McConnell  arrives in Burma on Sunday to meet with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Burmese government officials to discuss political reform in the military-dominated country, bilateral relations and regional security issues.
  • Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and British Foreign Minister William Hague meet in Rangon on January 5, 2012.
  • Daw Aung San Suu Kyi met her first billionaire, philanthropist George Soros, to open the New Year.
  • Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Netalegawa ended discussions with top Burmese officials and visited with Aung San Suu Kyi at her residence in Rangoon on Wednesday.
  • National League for Democracy General-Secretary Aung San Suu Kyi and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa following a meeting in her home in Rangoon on December 28, 2011.
  • Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba arrived in Burma, as Japan considers resuming official economic development to the country that is struggling to emerge from decades of military rule.
  • Two of Southeast Asia’s most prominent women leaders met in Rangoon. Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra talked with Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San SuuKyi for more than 30 minutes at the Thai ambassador’s residence.
    Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi has reached out to the Chinese ambassador in Rangoon,
  • A senior director of the U.S.-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED) met with National League for Democracy (NLD) leaders on Tuesday to discuss Burma’s economy and law enforcement. NLD Vice Chairman Tin Oo said NLD leaders met with Brian Joseph, the senior director for Asia and global programs, to brief him on Burmese affairs.
  • As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up her visit to Burma, she met leaders of ethnic political parties and social organizations to hear first-hand what’s it like to deal with the new Burmese government. She welcomed the Burmese government’s promise to break off its military relationship with North Korea and it’s commitment to keep implementing democratic reforms.
  • The speaker of the Burmese Lower House Thura Shwe Mann said that he made a pledge to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that all political prisoners across Burma will be released. Clinton also meets with Upper House Speaker Khin Aung Myint, parliamentary committees and 30 leaders including ethnic representatives and independent MPs in Naypyitaw.
  • Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa arrived in Burma to scout out Burma to decide whether it should be granted the Asean chair for 2014. During his visit, he will go to Naypyitaw, the capital of Burma, and meet with Burmese government officials.
  • Harn Yawnghwe, the youngest son of Burma’s first president, Sao Shwe Thaik, met with five pro-democracy parties, in a visit to promote peace.  The meeting was held in the National Democratic Force (NDF) office in Rangoon. The NDF, Democratic Party (Myanmar), Democracy and Peace Party (DPP),  Wunthanu NLD and Union Democratic Party (UDP) attended the meeting.
  • The U.S. Special Representative and Policy Coordinator for Burma, Ambassador Derek Mitchell, met with Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Burma has called for concrete action from the Burmese government in dealing with human rights abuses in the country’s ethnic states.

2011 December

  • US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits, meets Aung San Suu Kyi and holds talks with President Thein Sein. US offers to improve relations if democratic reforms continue.
  • President Thein Sein signs law allowing peaceful demonstrations for the first time; NLD re-registers as a political party in advance of by-elections for parliament due to be held early in 2012.
  • Burmese authorities agree truce deal with rebels of Shan ethnic group and orders military to stop operations against ethnic Kachin rebels.

2011 November

  • Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she will stand for election to parliament, as her party rejoins the political process.

2011 October

  • Some political prisoners are freed as part of a general amnesty. New labour laws allowing unions are passed.

2011 September

  • President Thein Sein suspends construction of controversial Chinese-funded Myits one hydro-electric dam, in move seen as showing greater openness to public opinion.

2011 August

  • President Thein Sein meets Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw.

2011 March

  • Thein Sein is sworn in as president of a new, nominally civilian government.

2011 January

  • Government authorizes internet connection for Aung San Suu Kyi.

2010 November

  • Main military-backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), claims resounding victory in first election for 20 years. Opposition groups allege widespread fraud and the election is widely condemned as a sham. The junta says the election marks the transition from military rule to a civilian democracy.
  • A week after the election, Aung San Suu Kyi - who had been prevented from taking part - is released from house arrest.

2010 October

  • Government changes country's flag, national anthem and official name.

2010 March

  • Government announces that long-awaited election laws have been passed, with provisions for an electoral commission hand-picked by the junta.
  • NLD votes to boycott polls. Splinter party - National Democratic Front (NDF) - later gains legal status and plans to compete in polls.
  • UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, visited Myanmar for the third time.

2010 February

  • The authorities free NLD vice-chairman Tin Oo. Aung San Suu Kyi's deputy had spent more than a decade in prison or under house arrest.
  • The Secretary-General said that he was disappointed that Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal against house arrest was rejected by the Supreme Court.

2009 October

  • Aung San Suu Kyi begins talks with Burma's military leaders and is allowed to meet Western diplomats.

2009 September

  • US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announces plans for engagement with military rulers.

2009 August

  • Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is convicted of breaching conditions of her house arrest, following visit by an uninvited US national in May. The initial sentence of three years' imprisonment is commuted to 18 months' house arrest.
  • A Myanmar court sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to three years hard labour, which was commuted to 18 months house arrest following an order signed by Myanmar leader, General Tan Shwe.
  • Myanmar police said that it had arrested 15 dissidents over a plot to carry out bombings during the Secretary-General’s visit in early July.
  • The Secretary-General met with the Group of Friends for Myanmar.

2009 July

  • The Myanmar court postponed its verdict until 11 August saying they needed more time to review the case due to technical legal issues.
  • The Secretary-General met with the Myanmar permanent representative to the UN.
  • ASEAN reiterated its call on the Myanmar government to immediately release all those under detention including Aung San Suu Kyi so that they can participate in the 2010 elections.
  • Final testimonies the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi were given.
  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visits Myanmar and met with senior officials but his request to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi was denied.

2009 May

  • The EU extends the 2006 sanctions for another year, but adds that they can be reviewed in the event of moves towards democracy.
  • UN and aid agencies say hundreds of thousands in the Irrawaddy Delta still need assistance a year after Cyclone Nargis. The UN says Burma now allows it to bring in all the staff it needs.
  • An American, John Yettaw, allegedly swam across the lake uninvited to Aung San Suu Kyi's house and remained there overnight, resulting in the arrest of Yettaw and SuuKyi, who are currently being held in Insein prison near Yangon.  As a result, Suu Kyi is being charged with violating the terms of her house arrest, and faces a sentence of up to 5 years.  Suu Kyi's current house arrest term was due to end on May 27, 2009.

2009 April

  • The National League for Democracy (NLD) main opposition group offers to take part in planned elections if the government frees all political prisoners, changes the constitution and admits international observers.

2009 March

  • Senior US State Department official Stephen Blake visits for talks with Foreign Minister Nyan Win in what the US calls a routine visit. The Burmese government said it was notable given his seniority.

2009 February

  • Special Rapporteur on the situation on human rights in Myanmar, Tomás Ojea Quintana, visited Myanmar, met with a number of political prisoners and called for the “progressive release of prisoners of conscience”. 
  • Ibrahim Gambari briefed the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General, in remarks to the press following the meeting, noted the amnesty announced by Myanmar on 20 February but reiterated his call for the release of all political prisoners including Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Myanmar granted amnesty to 23 political prisoners.

2009 January

  • Thailand expels hundreds of members of Burma's Muslim Rohingya minority who appeared off its coast. Burma denies the minority's existence. Several hundred Rohingyas are subsequently rescued from boats off the coast of Indonesia.
  • UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari meets opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for the first time in a year.

2008 December

  • Government signs deal with consortium of four foreign firms to pipe natural gas into neighboring China, despite protests from human rights groups.
  • Nine supporters of Aung San Suu Kyi were arrested for holding a protest in Yangon calling for her release.
  • The Secretary-General met with the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on Myanmar and acknowledged frustration that the UN's efforts had not yielded results.
  • 112 former government leaders wrote to the Secretary-General urging him to visit Myanmar and pressing for the release of political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • 270 activists including monks, student leaders and National League for Democracy members were sentenced to long jail terms for their roles in anti-junta protests in 2007 and for helping victims of cyclone Nargis in May.

2008 November

  • Dozens of political activists given sentences of up to 65 years in series of secretive trials.

2008 September

  • The Secretary-General convened the first high-level meeting of the Group of Friends of the Secretary-General on Myanmar.
  • The junta freed seven political prisoners and members of the National League of Democracy, including Win Tin, a 79-year old journalist, who had been imprisoned since 1989.

2008 August

  • The Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council, Tomas Ojea Quintana, visited Myanmar for the first time.
  • Five activists were jailed for taking part in a demonstration marking the twentieth anniversary of the crack-down on a mass uprising against military rule on 8 August 1988.
  • Ibrahim Gambari visited Myanmar. He was not given access to General Tan Shwe, head of the SPDC. Aung San Suu Kyi declined to see him, though he met twice with representatives of her party, the National League of Democracy.

2008 July

  • The referendum to adopt a new constitution was held for those parts of the country affected by Cyclone Nargis.  Humanitarian personnel begin to arrive in Myanmar.
  • The Group of Friends for Myanmar (India, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, the five permanent members of the Council, Australia, Norway, Japan, Republic of Korea and the EU presidency) held its fourth meeting.
  • UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes made a second visit to Myanmar at the end of July to assess the situation two months after Cyclone Nargis (his first visit was in the aftermath of the cyclone, 19-21 May).

2008 May

  • Cyclone Nargis hits the low-lying Irrawaddy delta. Some estimates put the death toll as high as 134,000.
  • Referendum on new constitution proceeds amid humanitarian crisis following cyclone. Government says 92% voted in favor of draft constitution and insists it can cope with cyclone aftermath without foreign help.
  • Junta renews Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest.
  • France asked the Council to agree to a briefing from Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes. France’s request was supported by the US and the UK but rejected by some other members. France invoked the concept of “responsibility to protect” as the basis for Council action to get aid into Myanmar.  This proposal was met with considerable resistance.
  • The Myanmar government’s referendum to adopt a new constitution went forward in spite of the humanitarian crisis in the south of the country.  The only concession was to postpone voting in the worst hit areas for two weeks.
  • The Secretary-General convened a meeting of key donors and representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to discuss options for speeding up aid delivery to the cyclone victims.
  • OCHA said a second catastrophe resulting from an outbreak of infectious diseases could occur unless more access was granted. They noted that less than one-third of the people who needed help had been reached.
  • Louis Michel, the EU Commissioner for Development and Aid, was allowed to visit Myanmar for two days. Thai prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, visited Myanmar but failed to convince the government to let in foreign aid workers.
  • The Secretary-General went to Myanmar to try to persuade the Myanmar government to accept international aid. They agreed to accept humanitarian personnel, and that the aid effort should be led by ASEAN. This resulted in the formation of an “ASEAN-UN-Myanmar tripartite mechanism.”

2008 April

  • Government publishes proposed new constitution, which allocates a quarter of seats in parliament to the military and bans opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi from holding office.

2008 March

  • Ibrahim Gambari visited Myanmar where he met with Myanmar's foreign minister and several other ministers, members of the Convention involved in drafting the constitution, individuals planning the referendum and several political parties, including the National League for Democracy.  He also held two meetings with Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on Myanmar, reported to the HRC that the Myanmar government had accelerated rather than stopped unlawful arrests and that around 1,850 political prisoners were behind bars as of January 2008.

2008 February

  • Two dozen members of the National League for Democracy protested outside their headquarters calling for the release of political prisoners and asking for genuine dialogue towards reconciliation.
  • The Myanmar government announced that in May 2008 it will hold a referendum on a new constitution written under military guidance, and "multi-party democratic" elections in 2010.
  • Nine Nobel laureates, led by Desmond Tutu, urged the Council and the international community to impose arms and banking sanctions on Myanmar for failing to move towards democracy.
  • The US expanded personal and business sanctions imposed on individual family members of Myanmar's ruling State, Peace and Development Council (SPDC) after the crack-down last year.

2008 January

  • A series of bomb blasts hits the country. State media blame "insurgent destructionists", including ethnic Karen rebels.

2007 November

  • The Myanmar government asked Charles Petrie, head of the UNDP in Myanmar, to leave in reaction to a UNDP statement urging the government to listen to dissenting voices and warning of a "deteriorating humanitarian situation."
  • Ibrahim Gambari visited the country, meeting with the new Prime Minister, General TheinSein, Aung San Suu Kyi, foreign diplomats, the International Red Cross and some ethnic minorities.
  • While in Singapore on his way back to New York from Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambarirelased a statement on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi in which she sadi that she was ready to cooperate with the government to make the dialogue process a success and expressed her commitment to pursuing the path of dialogue constructively.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to meet with members of her party, the National League of Democracy.  She told them she was "very optimistic" about the UN's efforts to start talks between the government and pro-democracy forces.
  • The Human Rights Council's Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, traveled to  Myanmar for the first time in four years.

2007 October

  • Normality returns to Rangoon amid heavy military presence. Monks are absent, after thousands are reportedly rounded up.
  • The Council adopted its first presidential statement on Myanmar.
  • US added more military leaders to its sanctions list and tightened further sanctions on US exports. EU also banned imports of Burmese timber, gemstones and precious metals.
  • Aung San SuuKyi was allowed out of her house to meet with a liaison officer appointed to "smooth relations" with her.
  • After some delay, UN Security Council deplores military crackdown on peaceful protesters.

2007 September

  • Military government declares 14 years of constitutional talks complete and closes the National Convention.
  • Buddhist monks hold a series of anti-government protests. Aung San Suu Kyi is allowed to leave her house to greet monks demonstrating in Rangoon. It is her first public appearance since 2003.
  • Authorities begin to crack down on protests, but demonstrations continue.
  • UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari meets opposition leader Aung San SuuKyi.
  • The Myanmar government completed the first stage of its "roadmap to democracy" producing guidelines for a new constitution.  Observers noted that a constitution based on these guidelines would legitimize military rule.
  • Buddhist monks held a peaceful protest in Pakokku in support of the demonstrations that began in August. Tensions between government officials and the monks escalated when several monks were hurt by officials during the Pakokku protest.  The monks reacted by briefly kidnapping security officers and burning their cars. The government then posted police in front of monasteries in key cities.
  • Ibrahim Gambari, the Secretary-General's Special Advisor on Myanmar, said in a press conference that the crackdown by Myanmar's government called into question its commitment to democratization and made it more difficult to maintain international support for Myanmar.
  • At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Indonesian President SusiloYudhoyono and US President George W. Bush agreed on the need to get countries in the region involved in resolving the Myanmar crisis.
  • Protest marches occurred involving hundreds of monks and civilians. Tear gas was used on demonstrators in Sittwe.
  • Protests occurred in over 25 cities and towns, with an estimated 50,000 - 100,000 protestors in Rangoon alone.
  • The Security Council held an emergency meeting during which it supported the Secretary-General's decision to send Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari to the region.

2007 August

  • Demonstrations began in reaction to the government's steep hike in fuel prices.Wave of public dissent sparked by fuel price hikes. Dozens of activists are arrested.
  • Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon issued a statement calling on all parties "to exercise maximum restraint in responding to protests" and to avoid "provocative action."

2007 June

  • In a rare departure from its normally neutral stance, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) accuses the government of abusing the Burmese people's rights.  International Committee of the Red Cross  (ICRC) publicly censured Myanmar's government accusing it of committing serious abuses against detainees and civilians.

2007 May

  • Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest is extended for another year.

2007 April

  • Burma and North Korea restore diplomatic ties, 24 years after Rangoon broke them off, accusing North Korean agents of staging a deadly bomb attack against the visiting South Korean president.

2007 January

  • China and Russia veto a draft US resolution at the UN Security Council urging Burma to stop persecuting minority and opposition groups.  Burma and North Korea restore diplomatic ties, 24 years after Rangoon broke them off.

2006 November

  • Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari visited Myanmar for a second time in 2006 and emphasised to government officials the importance of taking concrete steps toward democracy.

2006 September

  •  Myanmar was formally added to the Council's agenda.

2006 May

  • Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambari visited Myanmar and held high-level talks with the Myanmar government and opposition leaders.  He also was allowed to meet for an hour with Aung San SuuKyi.
  • Myanmar extended Aung San SuuKyi's house arrest for another year.
  • Naypyidaw becomes the new administration capital.

2005 December

  • The Security Council held its first ever briefing on the situation in Myanmar.

2005 November

  • Burma says its seat of government is moving to a new site near the central town of Pyinmana.

2005 July

  • Asean announces that Burma has turned down the 2006 chairmanship of the regional grouping.
  • The Government of Myanmar released 249 political prisoners.

2005 June

  • The US raised concerns about Myanmar at the Council's closed consultations under "other matters."

2005 February

  • Constitutional convention resumes in February, but without the participation of the main opposition and ethnic groups.

2004 November

  • Leading dissidents are freed as part of a release of thousands of prisoners, including Min Ko Naing, who led the 1988 pro-democracy student demonstrations.

2004 October

  • Khin Nyunt is replaced as prime minister amid reports of a power struggle. He is placed under house arrest.

2004 May

  • Constitutional convention begins, despite boycott by National League for Democracy (NLD) whose leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest. The convention adjourns in July.

2004 January

  • Government and Karen National Union - most significant ethnic group fighting government - agree to end hostilities.

2003 November

  • Five senior NLD leaders released from house arrest after visit of UN human rights envoy.

2003 August

  • Khin Nyunt becomes prime minister in August. He proposes to hold convention in 2004 on drafting new constitution as part of "road map" to democracy. Than Shwe remained head of the State Peace and Development Council. He proposes to hold convention in 2004 on drafting new constitution as part of "road map" to democracy.

2003 May

  • Aung San Suu Kyi and a convoy of supporters were attacked by a militia outside Mandalay. SuuKyi was arrested shortly after.

2002 May

  • Pro-democracy leader Aung San SuuKyi released after nearly 20 months of house arrest.
  • Aung San SuuKyi taken into "protective custody" after clashes between her supporters and those of government.

2001 November

  • Chinese President Jiang Zemin visits, issues statement supporting government, reportedly urges economic reform.

2001 June

  • Thai Prime Minister Shinawatra visits, says relations are back on track.

2001 February

  • Burmese army, Shan rebels clash on Thai border.
  • Ruling council releases some 200 pro-democracy activists. Government says releases reflect progress in talks with opposition NLD leader Aung San SuuKyi who remains under house arrest.

2000 December

  • Paulo SérgioPinheiro of Brazil became the Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, succeeding RajsoomerLallah.

2000 October

  • Aung San SuuKyi begins secret talks with ruling council.

2000 September

  • Ruling council lifts restrictions on movements of Aung San SuuKyi and senior NLD members.Aung San SuuKyi was again placed under house arrest.

2000 August

  • Aung San SuuKyi and a convoy of National League for Democracy members faced off with police. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on the government to engage in political dialogue with the National League for Democracy.

2000 April

  • The Secretary-General appointed Razali Ismail of Malaysia as his Special Envoy for Myanmar, replacing Alvaro de Soto.


  • Aung San SuuKyi rejects ruling council conditions to visit her British husband, Michael Aris, who dies of cancer in UK.


  • 300 NLD members released from prison; ruling council refuses to comply with NLD deadline for convening of parliament; student demonstrations broken up.


  • Burma admitted to Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) on June 23rd of this year.  The National Convention continues to convene and adjourn. Many major political parties, particularly the NLD, have been absent or excluded, and little progress has been made at this time.
  • The ruling party, the State Law and Order Restoration Council, changed name to State Peace and Development Council. Burma admitted to Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean); Slorc renamed State Peace and Development Council (SPDC).
  • The Secretary-General appointed Alvaro de Soto of Peru as his Special Envoy to Myanmar.


  • Aung San SuuKyi attends first NLD congress since her release; Slorc arrests more than 200 delegates on their way to party congress.
  • A national constitution convention closed without drafting a new constitution.
  • RajsoomerLallah of Mauritius became the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar.


  • Aung San SuuKyi is released from house arrest after six years.
  • National League for Democracy members walked out of the national constitutional convention because of restrictions on debate.


  • The government started a national constitutional convention.


  • Than Shwe replaces Saw Maung as Slorc chairman, prime minister and defence minister. Several political prisoners freed in bid to improve Burma's international image.
  • The Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1992/58, established a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. Yozo Yokota of Japan was named to the post.


  • Aung San SuuKyi awarded Nobel Peace Prize for her commitment to peaceful change.SuuKyi receives the Nobel Peace Prize; however, the government of Burma does not allow her out to accept the award.
  • The General Assembly passed resolution46/132, deploring the fact that the Government of Myanmar had not fulfilled commitments to taking steps toward the establishment of a democracy and expressed concern at the seriousness of the human rights situation in the country.


  • Aung San Su Kyi continues to denounce oppression and human rights violations and encourages peaceful protest across the country. Responding to international pressure and tightening economic sanctions, the ruling junta calls for a free general election, the first in 30 years.
  • Opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) wins landslide victory in general election, but the result is ignored by the military.  SuuKyi's party wins 392 out of the 492 seats. But the military government refuses to recognize the election and begins arresting opposition leaders, including SuuKyi. Other opposition figures flee into exile and try to build political support abroad.


  • Slorc declares martial law, arrests thousands of people, including advocates of democracy and human rights, renames Burma Myanmar, with the capital, Rangoon, becoming Yangon. NLD leader Aung San SuuKyi, the daughter of Aung San, is put under house arrest.
  • The military government changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar.


  • Unrest over economic mismanagement and political oppression by the government led to widespread pro-democracy demonstrations throughout the country known as the 8888 Uprising.   Security forces killed thousands of demonstrators, and General Saw Maung staged a coup d'état and formed the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). In 1989, SLORC declared martial law after widespread protests. The military government finalized plans for People's Assembly elections on 31 May 1989.  With the country close to chaos, Ne Win resigns as chairman of the BSPP. But, instead of loosening its military hold, the ruling council uses the unrest to impose martial law and to form the ultra-repressive State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).


  • Currency devaluation wipes out many people's savings and triggers anti-government riots.


  • Law designating people of non-indigenous background as "associate citizens" in effect bars such people from public office.


  • Ne Win relinquishes the presidency to San Yu, a retired general, but continues as chairman of the ruling Socialist Programme Party.


  • Opposition National Democratic Front formed by regionally-based minority groups, who mounted guerrilla insurgencies.


  • New constitution comes into effect, transferring power from the armed forces to a People's Assembly headed by Ne Win and other former military leaders; body of former United Nations secretary-general U Thant returned to Burma for burial.


  • U Nu's faction ousted in military coup led by Gen Ne Win, who abolishes the federal system and inaugurates "the Burmese Way to Socialism" - nationalising the economy, forming a single-party state with the Socialist Programme Party as the sole political party, and banning independent newspapers.Ne Win rules as general and later as a civilian until 1988.


  • U Nu's party faction wins decisive victory in elections, but his promotion of Buddhism as the state religion and his tolerance of separatism angers the military.


  • Caretaker government, led by army Chief of Staff General Ne Win, formed following a split in the ruling AFPFL party.


  • U Nu, together with Indian Prime Minister Nehru, Indonesian President Sukarno, Yugoslav President Tito and Egyptian President Nasser co-found the Movement of Non-Aligned States.


  • Burma becomes independent with U Nu as prime minister.


  • Aung San and six members of his interim government assassinated by political opponents led by U Saw, a nationalist rival of Aung San's. U Nu, foreign minister in Ba Maw's government, which ruled Burma during the Japanese occupation, asked to head the AFPFL and the government.


  • Britain liberates Burma from Japanese occupation with help from the AFPFL, led by Aung San.


  • Japan invades and occupies Burma with some help from the Japanese-trained Burma Independence Army, which later transforms itself into the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL) and resists Japanese rule.


  • Britain separates Burma from India and makes it a crown colony.


  •  Britain captures Mandalay after a brief battle; Burma becomes a province of British India.


  • Britain annexes lower Burma, including Rangoon, following the second Anglo-Burmese war.


  • First Anglo-Burmese war ends with the Treaty of Yandabo, according to which Burma ceded the Arakan coastal strip, between Chittagong and Cape Negrais, to British India.


  • Alaungpaya founds the Konbaung dynasty.


  • Toungoo dynasty, with Portuguese help, reunites Burma.


  • Mongols under Kublai Khan conquer Pagan.


  • King Anawrahta founds the first unified Burmese state at Pagan and adopts Theravada Buddhism.


Get Updates