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 claimed over 138,000 dead and tens of thousands injured and homeless. 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 75% of the seats. Parliament convened in January 2011 and selected former Prime Minister THEIN SEIN as president. The vast majority of national-level appointees named by THEIN SEIN are former or current military officers.
Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand
Area land: 653,508 sq km
Area water: 23,070 sq km
Coastline: 1,930 km
Country name conventional long form: Union of Burma
Country name conventional short form: Burma
Country name former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma
Age structure: 0-14 years: 27.5% (male 7,560,859/female 7,278,652); 15-64 years: 67.5% (male 18,099,707/female 18,342,696); 65 years and over: 5% (male 1,184,291/female 1,533,599) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 1.084% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 19.31 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 8.16 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.31 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 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 (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 49.23 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 56.16 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 41.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 64.88 years; male: 62.57 years; female: 67.33 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.26 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.6% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 240,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 18,000 (2009 est.);
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 (official) 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.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $60.07 billion (2010 est.); $58.27 billion (2009 est.); $57.24 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $35.65 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 3.1% (2010 est.); 1.8% (2009 est.); 1.1% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $1,100 (2010 est.); $1,100 (2009 est.); $1,100 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 43.2%; industry: 20%; services: 36.8% (2010 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);
Labor force: 31.68 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 70%; industry: 7%; services: 23% (2001);
Unemployment rate: 5.7% (2010 est.); 4.9% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $1.369 billion; expenditures: $2.951 billion (2010 est.);
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.);
Electricity - production: 6.286 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 4.403 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
Displaying 1 to 4 of 31 items.
The elections are over and the transition towards a democratic government in Myanmar is currently underway. However, the sailing isn't smooth.
In the wake of newfound freedoms in Myanmar, recent clampdowns on the press show signs of backsliding toward practices of the old regime.
Human rights abuses have plagued Burma over the past five decades of military rule, but the NHRC says that investigating allegations would be premature.
Following reforms and the release of several hundred political prisoners in Myanmar, U.S. relations with the country continue to move forward.