Background: Despite democratic elections in 1990, in which the main opposition party won a clear victory, the country’s ruling military junta refused to hand over power to it. The main opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, AUNG San Suu Kyi, who had been under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, was placed under house arrest again in September 2000; its supporters continue to be harassed or imprisoned.
Location: Southeast Asia, on the coast of the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Myanmar Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 22° 00′ N. latitude, 98° 00′ E
Reference map: Southeast Asia.
Area: total: 678,500 square kilometers; land surface area: 657,740 km2; water surface area: 20,760 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of Texas.
Land borders: total length: 5,876 km; with neighboring states: with Bangladesh 193 km, with China 2,185 km, with India 1,463 km, with Laos 235 km, with Thailand 1,800 km.
Coastline: 1,930 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: 200 nautical miles or to the outer limits of the continent; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical monsoon; cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers (southwest monsoons from June to September); less cloudy with occasional rainfall, cooler, less wet winters (Northeast monsoons December to April).
Terrain: central lowland, surrounded by steep, precipitous hills.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Andaman Sea 0 m; highest point: Mount Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m
Natural Resources: oil, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower resources.
Land use: arable land: 15%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 1%; forests and plantations: 49%; others: 34% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 10,680 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: destructive earthquakes and cyclones; floods and landslides, often occurring during the rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts.
Current environmental issues: deforestation; air, water and soil pollution by industrial waste; unsanitary living conditions of the population and lack of control over water quality, contributing to the spread of diseases.
International Environmental Treaties: Member: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 1983, Tropical Timber 1994; signed but not ratified: no.
Geography note: strategically important location close to the main sea lanes of the Indian Ocean.
Population: 41,994,678; note: estimates for this country take into account rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 29.14% (male 6,245,798; female 5,992,074); 15 to 64 years old: 66.08% (male 13,779,571; female 13,970,707); over 65: 4.78% (male 895,554; female 1,110,974) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.6% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 20.13 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 12.3 deaths/1000 people (2001 est.).
Migration: -1.84 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.99 male/female; over 65: 0.81 male/female; for the general population: 0.99 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 73.71 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 55.16 years; men: 53.73 years; women: 56.68 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.3 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 1.99% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 530,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 48,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Burmese; adjective: Burmese.
Ethnic groups: Burmese 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakin 4%, Chinese 3%, Mon 2%, Indian 2%, other 5%.
Believers: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, Animist 1%, other 2%.
Language(s): Burmese; small ethnic groups have their own languages.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 83.1%; men: 88.7%; women: 77.7% (1995 est.); note: these are official statistics; the real literacy rate of the population is closer to 30% (1999 est.). State Name:
Common long form: Union of Burma;
Common short form: Burma local long form: Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw (translated by the US government as the Union of Myanma). local short form: Myanma Naingngandaw former: Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma
State structure: military regime.
Capital: Rangoon (ruling regime leaders call the capital Yangon)
Administrative divisions: 7 regions* (yin) and 7 states (pyine): Ayeyarwady*, Bago*, Kayin, Kachin, Kaya, Magwai*, Mandalay*, Mon, Rakin, Sagain*, Tanintarii*, Chin, Shan, Yangon*.
Independence: January 4, 1948 (before 1948 – a British colony).
National holiday: Independence Day, January 4 (since 1948).
Constitution: adopted January 3, 1974 (suspended September 18, 1988); On January 9, 1993, the national convention began meeting to draft a new constitution, but the process stalled.
Legal system: no compulsory ICJ jurisdiction recognized.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
head of state: Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Council for Peace and Development, General THAN SHWE (since 23 April 1992); note – the prime minister is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: Prime Minister and Chairman of the State Council for Peace and Development, General THAN SHWE (since April 23, 1992); note – the prime minister is both head of state and head of government;
Government: State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); the military junta, which adopted this name on November 15, 1997, came to power on September 18, 1988, with the name State Council of Law and Order Restoration; the cabinet of ministers is subordinate to the SPDC; elections: not held; The prime minister came to power after the resignation of the former prime minister.
Legislature: unicameral National Assembly (485 members elected by popular vote for a four-year term); elections: last held on 27 May 1990, but the assembly has never met; election results: distribution of votes by parties – no data; distribution of seats by party – NLD 392, SNLD 23, NUP 10, others 60.
Judiciary: there are rudiments of the British judiciary, but no fair trial guarantees; the judiciary is not independent of the executive branch.
Political parties and leaders: National League for Democracy (NLD) (AUNG SHWE, Chairman, AUNG SUN SUU KIY, General Secretary); National Unity Party (NUP) (pro-government) (THA KYAW [THA KYAW]); Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) (pro-government social and political organization) (THAN AUNG, Secretary General); eight smaller parties.
Political influence groups and their leaders: All Burmese Student Democratic Front (ABSDF); Kachin Independence Army (KIA); National Kareni Union (KNU); National Coalition Board of the Union of Burma (SEIN WIN [Dr. SEIN WIN]), consisting of persons legally elected by members of the People’s Assembly, but not recognized by the military regime; the group fled to the border zone and in December 1990 joined forces with the rebels to form a parallel government; several Shan factions; Wa United State Army (UWSA).
Participation in international organizations: ARF, AsDB, ASEAN, CCC, CP, ESCAP, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador U LINN MYAING; office: 2300 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 332-9044;, fax: [C (202) 332-9046; consulates general: New York.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Chargé d’Affaires Priscilla A. CLAPP; embassy: 581 Merchant Street, Rangoon (GPO 521); mailing address: Box B, ARO AR 96546; phone:  (1) 282055, 282182; fax:  (1) 280409.
Description of the flag: red with a blue rectangle in the upper corner near the hoist, bearing 14 white five-pointed stars surrounding a white cogwheel containing a white rice stalk; The 14 stars represent the 14 provinces of the country.