Ashley South has 20 years’ experience as an independent author, researcher and consultant. He has a PhD from the Australian National University, and an MSc from SOAS (University of London), and is a Research Fellow at Chiang Mai University, Center for Ethnic Studies and Development.

Main research interests: ethnic armed conflicts and peace processes in Burma/Myanmar and Mindanao (politics of legitimacy and governance); politics of language and education; climate change, resilience and varieties of adaptation.

 


My latest

INTRODUCING - The Dogmeat Diaries

blog for the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies:

http://beta.niaspress.dk/category/dogmeat-diaries/ 

 

 

Reflections on the 1995 New Mon State Party Ceasefire

with Martin Smith, Nai Banya Hongsar and Nai Kasauh Mon; Preface by NMSP Chairman Nai Hongsa

June 29th 2020 marks 25 years since the New Mon State Party (NMSP) agreed a ceasefire with the military government of the State Law and Order Restoration Council in Myanmar. At the time, this was greeted as a landmark moment, bringing to an end over four decades of conflict between successive central governments and the Mon armed resistance. The ceasefire has endured, but reform progress has stalled. Today the NMSP is just one of over a dozen ethnic armed organisations engaged in one of the longest-running peace processes in the world. 
 
The political future remains uncertain. The country is in the midst of a troubled and protracted transition in which the 1995 ceasefire has become a key element. Given their symbolic importance, the events surrounding the NMSP agreement deserve attention and analysis. Since 1995, there have been relatively few armed clashes. But human rights abuses, civilian displacement, land-grabbing and the marginalisation of Mon cultural and political rights have all continued. At the same time, a new generation has grown up as the first to know peace in half a century. Despite the lack of political progress, the ceasefire has created a space within which a revitalisation of Mon culture and society has taken place. Mon educators, researchers and civil society actors have all stepped up efforts to achieve social and political progress. There has not been a political breakthrough. But the landscape of the Mon region is tangibly different today.
 
This publication marks a commemoration of the ceasefire day. The essays collected here reflect a diversity of reflections and opinion. Different aspects of the Mon people’s struggle for self-determination are discussed within the context of the 1995 ceasefire. Until the present day, the NMSP has retained a significant degree of legitimacy in Mon politics and society. The study begins with a preface by Nai Hongsa, the present-day NMSP chairman. Martin Smith offers a historical, cultural and political account of Mon nationality movements. Ashley South presents an assessment of the NMSP’s ceasefire achievements and challenges, with emphasis on the social, political and security trends. Nai Kasauh Mon provides a critical analysis of the ceasefire years, highlighting both successes and failures. And Banya Hongsar discusses the challenges that the NMSP and Mon movement continue to face in a country still entrapped within a cycle of conflict and ceasefire.

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Books

 

  • 2020 - Fragments of Myanmar: ethnicity, legitimacy, resilience in Burma (NIAS Press Copenhagen, forthcoming)

 

  • 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’, NIAS Press, ed. Mikael Gravers) – PDF

 

Peer-reviewed academic articles

  • 2018 - Power Dynamics of Language and Education Policy in Myanmar’s Contested Transition [Marie Lall and Ashley South] ('Comparative Education Review', vol. 62, no. 4)
  • 2018 - Daoism and Peacebuilding: Toward an Agenda for Research and Practice ('Journal of Daoist Studies', Vol.11) -

    http://www.lulu.com/shop/jds-editors/journal-of-daoist-studies-vol-11/paperback/product-23500610.html

  • 2017 - “Hybrid Governance” and the Politics of Legitimacy in the Myanmar Peace Process ('Journal of Contemporary Asia') - http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/n8dKEPuynMeC3I6r6vAe/full
  • 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): www.criticalasianstudies.org
  • 2008 – Civil Society in Burma: The Development of Democracy Amidst Conflict (East-West Centre, Washington – ‘Policy Studies’ 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

  • 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

  • April 2020 - The dream of a Kayan homeland ('Frontier Myanmar' 19-4-2020)

           https://frontiermyanmar.net/en/the-dream-of-a-kayan-homeland

          Burmese language version: https://frontiermyanmar.net/mm/news/17253

            Burmese translation: https://frontiermyanmar.net/mm/news/12518#.XAM8ctLqb84.facebook

  • 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