lerdoh3@googlemail.com

 

 
Ashley South is an independent writer and consultant. He has a PhD from the Australian National University and an MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London), and is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Ethnic Studies and Development at Chiangmai University.

Main research interests: ethnic conflict and peace processes in Myanmar/Burma and Mindanao, politics of language and education, humanitarian protection and forced migration (refugees and Internally Displaced People).

 

Latest Publications

April 2016 - From Rebels to Rulers: The Challenges of Transition for Nonstate Armed Groups in Mindanao and Myanmar - with Christopher M. Joll (Critical Asian Studies, 48:2, 168-192) - PDF

ABSTRACT: This article presents a critical comparison of the ongoing peace processes in the southern Philippines and Myanmar (Burma). It does so by examining two key armed groups: the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Mindanao, and the Karen National Union (KNU) in Myanmar. We identify common elements that help to explain the relative—albeit incomplete—success of these two groups in navigating their respective peace processes. The MILF and KNU are ethnonationalist armed groups struggling for self-determination against states that are experienced by ethnic minority communities as culturally alien, and economically and politically dominant. Both conflict actors are characterized by complex combinations of “greed” and “grievance” factors but nevertheless enjoy significant (albeit contested) political legitimacy among the communities they seek to represent. We explore the complex relationships between armed ethnic groups, conflict-affected communities, and civil society actors. We argue that engagement with civil society is a key element of success in the Mindanao peace process, which could be replicated in Myanmar. We examine the roles and changing nature of the state in the Philippines and Myanmar, and contrast the degrees of international involvement, as key variables in these peace processes. We observe that negotiations of comprehensive peace settlements are threatened by “the tyranny of elections” in Myanmar (2015) and the Philippines (2016), and observe the importance of including national parliaments in peace processes in a timely manner. The peace process between Manila and the MILF represents a rare example of a Muslim minority pursuing its political objectives through structured dialogue. The article focuses on the challenges faced by armed groups moving from insurgency to reinvent themselves as credible political actors and governance authorities. Our analysis draws on peace-building literature, specifically the phenomenon of “rebel governance.”

 


Books

  • 2008 [second edition 2010] – Ethnic Politics in Burma: States of Conflict (Routledge)
  • 2003 [second edition 2005] – Mon Nationalism and Civil War in Burma: The Golden Sheldrake (RoutledgeCurzon)

 

Chapters in edited volumes

  • 2015 - Governance and Political Legitimacy in the Peace Process (in 'Myanmar: the dynamics of an evolving polity', Lynn Reiner, ed. David Steinberg)
  • 2014 - 3 Chapters in 'Burma/Myanmar: where now?', NIAS Press Copenhagen, eds Mikael Gravers & Flemming Ytzen - PDF [with Charles Petrie] - PDF & PDF
  • 2010 – Karen Legitimacy and Conflict (in ‘Ruling Myanmar’, Australian National University/ISEAS Singapore, eds Trevor Wilson, Monique Skidmore & Nicholas Cheesman)
  • 2007 – Conflict and Displacement in Burma/Myanmar (in ‘Myanmar: The State, Society and the Environment’, Australian National University/ISEAS Singapore, eds Trevor Wilson & Monique Skidmore)
  • 2007 – Ceasefires and Civil Society: The Case of the Mon (in the ‘Exploring Ethnic Diversity in Burma’, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, ed. Mikael Gravers) – PDF

 

Peer-reviewed academic articles

  • 2016 - From Rebels to Rulers: The Challenges of Transition for Nonstate Armed Groups in Mindanao and Myanmar [with Christopher M. Joll] ('Critical Asian Studies', Vol.48, No.2) - PDF
  • 2016 - Language, Education and the Peace Process in Myanmar [with Marie Lall] ('Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol.38, No.1) - PDF
  • 2015 – Forced Migration: typology and agency in Southeast Myanmar [with Kim Jolliffe] (‘Contemporary Southeast Asia’ Vol.37, No.2) – PDF
  • 2013 – Comparing Models of Non-state Ethnic Education in Myanmar: the Mon and Karen national education regimes [with Marie Lall] (‘Journal of Contemporary Asia’)
  • 2012 – The Politics of Protection in Burma: beyond the humanitarian mainstream ('Critical Asian Studies', Vol.44, No.2, pp. 175-204): www.criticalasianstudies.org
  • 2008 – Civil Society in Burma: The Development of Democracy Amidst Conflict (East-West Centre, Washington – ‘Policy Studies’ series No. 51) 
  • 2007 – Karen Nationalist Communities: The ‘Problem’ of Diversity (‘Contemporary Southeast Asia’ Vol.29, No.1 - ISEAS/National University of Singapore) – PDF
  • 2007 – Burma: The Changing Nature of Displacement Crises (Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University, Working Paper No. 39) – PDF
  • 2004 – Political Transition in Myanmar: A New Model for Democratization (‘Contemporary Southeast Asia’ Vol. 26, No. 4 – ISEAS/National University of Singapore) – PDF

 

Reports

  • February 2016 - Schooling and Conflict: ethnic education and mother tongue-based teaching in Myanmar [with Marie Lall] - The Asia Foundation -

    - PDF: Schooling and Conflict: Ethnic Education and Mother Tongue-based Teaching in Myanmar  

    - Burmese translation: Schooling and Conflict: Ethnic Education and Mother Tongue-based Teaching in Myanmar (Burmese)

    - Executive Summary, Kachin translation (Jingphaw)

    - Executive Summary, Mon translation

    - Executive Summary, Karen translation (Sgaw)

  •  March 2015 - Forced Migration and the Myanmar Peace Process [with Kim Jolliffe] - UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service (New Issues in Refugee Research, Paper No. 274) - PDF

  • April 2014 - Lessons Learned from MPSI's Work Supporting the Peace Process in Myanmar, March 2012 to March 2014 - Myanmar Peace Support Initiative - PDF & Burmese translation
  • March 2013 – Mapping of Myanmar Peacebuilding Civil Society [with Charles Petrie] - paper prepared for the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office, as background for the meeting entitled ‘Supporting Myanmar’s Evolving Peace Processes: What Roles for Civil Society and the EU? (Brussels on 7-3-2013) - PDF
  • March 2012 – Myanmar/Burma: Local agencies and Global donors (Local to Global Protection initiative: www.local2global.info) - PDF
  • December 2012 – Prospects for Peace in Myanmar: opportunities and threats (Peace Research Institute Oslo Working Paper) - PDF; Burmese language version - PDF
  • February 2012 – Local to Global Protection in Myanmar (Burma), Sudan, South Sudan and Zimbabwe [co-authored] (Overseas Development Institute Network Paper No.72) - PDF
  • October 2011 – Myanmar – Surviving the Storm: self-protection and survival in the Delta [co-authored] (Local to Global Protection initiative: www.local2global.info) – PDF
  • March 2011 – Burma’s Longest War: anatomy of the Karen conflict (Transnational Institute/Burma Centre Netherlands)PDF
  • September 2010 – Conflict and Survival: self-protection in south-east Burma [co-authored] (Chatham House/ Royal Institute of International Affairs, Asia Programme Paper ASP PP 2010/04; Local to Global Protection initiative) – PDF
  • December 2007 – Displacement and Dispossession: Forced Migration and Land Rights in Burma (Center on Housing Rights and Evictions) – PDF
  • September 2002 – Internally Displaced People and Relocation Sites in Eastern Burma (Burmese Border Consortium, Bangkok)

 

Shorter articles

  • January 2014 – Inside the Peace Process, 'The Myanmar Times' - PDF
  • September 2012 – From Ceasefires to Lasting Peace?, 'The Myanmar Times' - PDF
  • September 2012 – China as a New Aid Actor, 'The Global Times' 11-9-2012 - PDF [this is the original article, the published version being somewhat shorter]
  • March 2012 – Resolving Ethnic Conflicts in Burma - Ceasefires to Sustainable Peace,‘The Irrawaddy’ - PDF
  • June 2011 – Burma’s New Challenge , ‘Pacific Forum CSIS’ (PacNet#32) – PDF
  • December 2010 – Post-Election Politics in Burma - Glimmers of Hope? , ‘The Irrawaddy’ – PDF
  • November 2010 – Voting, But Not As We Know It, ‘The World Today’ (Chatham House) – PDF
  • July 2010 – Making the Best of a Bad Election, ‘The Irrawaddy’ – PDF
  • May 2010 – Burma's Electoral Dilemmas, 'The World Today' (Chatham House) - PDF
  • March 2010 – Self-protection and Survival in Southeast Burma, ‘Humanitarian Exchange’ – PDF
  • November 2008 – Economics Crisis and Human Rights, ‘The World Today’ (Chatham House) – PDF
  • August 2008 – Electoral Dilemmas, Independent Mon News Agency commentary (4-8-2008) – PDF
  • July 2008 – Burma after the Cyclone: Making a Disaster Out Of the Cyclone, ‘The World Today’ (Chatham House) – PDF
  • April 2008 – Humanitarian Aid to IDPs in Burma: activities and debates, ‘Forced Migration Review’ (Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford University) – PDF
  • March 2008 – Prospects for Burma’s New Constitution, Independent Mon News Agency commentary (17-3-2008) – PDF
  • February 2008 – Mahn Sha La Phan: Resistance leader of Burma’s Karen people, ‘The Guardian’ obituary (18-2-2008) – PDF
  • December 2007 – Crisis on the Burma Border, ‘The Nation’ (20-12-2007) – PDF
  • October 2007 – Mon Nationalist Movements: insurgency, ceasefires and political struggle – paper presented at ‘Seminar on Discovery of Ramanndesa’, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, (11-10-2007), published by Mon Unity League (Bangkok, January 2008) – PDF
  • August 2007 – What lies ahead for Burma’s cease-fires, ‘The Nation’ (8-1-2007) – PDF
  • October 2006 – The Quest for Karen Unity, ‘The Irrawaddy’ – PDF
  • October 2006 – Border-based Insurgency: Time for a Reality Check, ‘The Irrawaddy’ online – PDF
  • September 2004 – Beyond the National Convention, ‘The Irrawaddy’ – PDF
  • November 2001 – Burma’s  Ex-Insurgents: The Mon Ceasefire and Political Transition, ‘Burma Debate’ (Vol. VIII, Fall 2001) – PDF