IISH is developing as a depository of material on the social history of Burma (Myanmar). It has begun collecting published and unpublished material on social life, political parties, regional movements and civil organisations in the country, as well as material on diaspora groups. It is also collecting material on the various human rights and pro-democracy campaigns concerning the country which have been developing from the late 1980s. 

Some of the collections we acquired the last years:

- National Health and Education Committee (NHEC)
Earlier this year (2008) the Institute received the archives of the National Health and Education Committee (NHEC)
The National Health Committee (NHC) and the National Education Committee (NEC) were formed in 1992 and 1993 respectively, comprising those responsible for health and education in the opposition organizations making up the Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) together with the NLD (Liberated Area) and National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). The two committees were combined into a single committee - the National Health and Education Committee (NHEC) - on 21st December 1995.
There are at present 28 members and affiliated organizations operating in the country and along the Thailand-Burma border, China-Burma borders, India-Burma border, and Bangladesh-Burma border.
The main function of NHEC is to facilitate the humanitarian needs of its member and affiliated organizations and their operating areas especially in health and education. In the past, the activities of NHEC were mainly focused on fundraising for health and education programs of member organizations, distribution of materials, monitoring and reporting.

- Burma Peace Foundation (Geneva)
A new acquisition to add to our Burmese holdings: the collection of the Burma Peace Foundation. The Burma Peace Foundation (BPF) was formed in London in 1987 by David Arnott and U Rewata Dhamma, a Burmese Buddhist monk, initially to act as a mediating body between the generals in Rangoon and the non-Burman ethnic groups. Its first concrete activity, however, was to bring money, malaria medicine and moral support to the students and monks who had fled to the Thailand-Burma border in the wake of the suppression of 1988. From 1991 to 1996, it was based in New York where it acted as a conduit for human rights and other information on Burma from the monitors in the field to the UN and other actors and from 1996 to 2007 it carried out similar activities in Geneva. In 2001 BPF launched the Online Burma/Myanmar Library (OBL) (http://www.burmalibrary.org) which is now the Internet's largest single depository of online material on Burma/Myanmar, with over 15,000 full-text documents, including a number of unique archives. From 2005, BPF established an office in Mae Sot, Thailand, in parallel with the Geneva office, and in 2007 gave up the Geneva base in order to concentrate on activities in the region.

In the course of these 20 years, BPF/OBL has accumulated a paper and electronic archive dealing with a wide range of issues relating to Burma. A large proportion of the documents relate to multilateral, bilateral and transnational involvement with the country and include not only official documents (which may also be found elsewhere) but also working papers, different stages of draft resolutions etc.
Access to the collection is restricted

- Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
IISH is happy to announce the acquisition of the archives of the Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG). The KHRG archive includes a complete set of the more than 300 text and photographic reports we have released since 1992, in hard copy and on compact disc. It also includes many of the raw materials these reports are drawn from: thousands of cassette tapes of interviews with villagers, townspeople, escaped military porters, and soldiers (in S'Gkaw Karen, Burmese, and Pwo Karen), English translation transcripts of many of these tapes (in hard copy or in electronic form), original order documents sent to villages by the Burmese military and other authorities, situation reports written in S'Gkaw Karen by our field researchers, original photos, and handwritten research notes. Most of these materials date from 1992 to 2003 because KHRG still holds the most recent materials for its ongoing use, but newer materials will be added to the archive once they are a few years old.
Access to the collection is restricted.

- All Burma Students' Democratic Front - North
Recently the Institute received rich audiovisual collections from the Northern office of the All Burma Students' Democratic Front. The material covers their political and social activities from roughly 1989 until 2000. Access to the collection is restricted.

- Htein Lin
Earlier this year Burmese artist Htein Lin deposited a large collection (around 230) of his prison paintings at IISH.
Htein Lin (born 1966 in Ingapu, Irrawaddy Division) studied for a BL at Rangoon University took part in the 1988 political protests in Burma and spent four years in exile on the Indian border and in Kachin state, before returning to complete his law degree. He worked as an artist and comic actor, and pioneered performance art in Burma. In 1998, he was arrested on fabricated political charges, but while in jail, he managed to both paint and perform. Since his release in November 2004, he has had three solo shows in Yangon, '00235' which showed his prison paintings, 'Recycled', an exhibition accompanied by 'Standstill', a daily performance comprising four hours of standing meditation, and Come Rain or Shine, an exhibition of recent working including some very large canvases, at River Gallery in June 2006.
In May 2005, Htein Lin and colleagues were detained briefly following their street performance 'Mobile Art Gallery and Mobile Market'.

- Collection Events in Burma around 1988-1989
Last year the Institute received a collection of documents concerning the events of 1988. The collection consists of different kinds of documents (flyers, statements, letters, pamphlets) from a broad spectre of groups from Burmese society (almost fifty alltogether), and is now available for consultation at IISH.
A preliminary list of the collection can be found here: Events in Burma 1988-89 (pdf, 89 kb.)

- Burma. Collection Personal Papers
Some of the smaller Burmese collections consisting of single manuscripts or a small amount of letters are now brought together in one collection of 'personal papers'. Details on the collection can be found under: http://www.iisg.nl/archives/en/files/b/11005291.php

- Myo Win
Recently the IISH received the personal archive of burmese activist Myo Win.
Myo Win (born 1965, Tavoy) was in his final year at the Rangoon Institute of Techonology when the '88 uprisings broke out and he subsequently moved to the border where he joined the All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF).
He currently holds the following positions: Vice Chairperson in ABSDF, Secretariat Member of NCUB, Joint General Secretary of DAB and Policy Forum Member of FDB (Forum for Democracy in Burma)
The collection contains amongst others: minutes of meetings, internal policy debates, correspondence, and a collection of diaries.
Access to the collection is restricted.

- Rangoon University Students Union (RASU)
Earlier this year the IISH obtained a small collection of documents on the Rangoon University Students Union.
The collection contains correspondence, press releases, reports and other archival materials from the period 1988-1989.
Access to the collection is restricted. See: Rangoon University Students Union

- Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB)
The Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB) recently handed over part of their archives to IISH. The DAB was founded on November 18, 1988 at the Thai border and is an alliance of pro-democracy exile organizations and ethnic insurgent organizations. DAB includes The National Democratic Fron, The All Burma Students' Democratic Front (ABSDF), The Committee for Restoration of Democracy in Burma, The All Burma Young Monks' Union (ABYMU), The Chin National Front (CNF) and many other groups. The aim of DAB is to free Burma of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and to establish peace, human rights and democracy.
The archive contains records of meetings, press releases, commemorative booklets, reports and other archival materials from the period 1989-1995.
Access to the collection is restricted.

- Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP(B))
A new addition to our Burmese collections is the archive of the AAPP(B).
As the name already suggests the AAPP(B) is a support organisation for political prisoners and their families set-up by former political prisoners in exile. Faced with marginalization and deprived of economic and educational opportunities by the military, after their release many ex-political prisoners saw themselves forced to go into exile.
Many of them who previously gave assistance to their fellow political prisoners wanted to continue these activities. In order to be effective and efficient in performing these activities, and to honour student leader Min Ko Naing who has been held under detention by the military regime since March 23,1989, former political prisoners established AAPP on the 11th anniversary of Min Ko Naing's arrest. (Min Ko naing was recently released from prison by the Burmese military after more than 15 years imprisonment.)
Access to the collection is restricted.

- Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP)
The International Institute of Social History received the archives of the the Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP). The KNPP is a political organisation (with an armed wing) established in 1957 who focuses on the re-establishing of the right of independence for the Karenni people. Their right of secession (after 10 years) was originally guaranteed in the Burmese Constitution of 1947, but taken out of the Constitution with the military coup of Ne Win in 1962.
In 1995, the KNPP entered into a cease-fire with the State Law and Order Council (SLORC) which broke down within months. In 2004 the KNPP started new negotiations on a cease-fire agreement with the SPDC government.
The archives contain minutes of meetings, papers on the cease-fire negotiations, KNPP rules & regulations etc, mainly from the decade from 1990 till 2000.
Access to the collection is free.

- U Htay Aung's Diaries
The Institute received a collection of 23 diaries and notebooks from U Htay Aung. The diaries cover the period from 1988-1999 and contain lots of information on political and social events from this period.
Access to the collection is restricted.

See Also

Recent acquisitions Burma
Burma Archives Project
Burmese Periodicals at the IISH (pdf, 76 kb.)