Terminology

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Terminology 2015-04-14T07:45:53+00:00

In 1989, a year after thousands were killed in the suppression of the 8888 uprising, the military government (known as SLORC at the time) made several name changes, including changing the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar, Rangoon to Yangon, Karen to Kayin, and Karenni to Kayah. Burma Link does not accept the legitimacy of the name changes and we continue to use the old names Burma, Rangoon, Karen, and Karenni.

Burma Link refers to the majority group as Burman (also called Bamar) in order to separate it from the nationality Burmese (encompassing all peoples of Burma) as well as the Burmese language. We generally refer to all the people in the country as “people of Burma.”

We also prefer to use the term ethnic nationality when referring to Burma’s non-Burman ethnic groups, as ethnic communities generally prefer this term over ethnic minority.

We use the term non-state armed groups to refer to all armed groups in Burma that are not under the full and direct control of the regime. These include groups that have surrendered to the government but retain soldiers and arms, groups that have ceasefire agreements with the government and act as proxy armies at least partially under the Burmese army control, and armed groups that have no ceasefire agreements.