There is no accurate information about the number of Indigenous Peoples in Myanmar, partly due to a lack of understanding of the internationally recognised concept of Indigenous Peoples. The government claims that all citizens of Myanmar are “Indigenous” (taing-yin-tha), and on that basis dismisses the applicability of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to Myanmar. Indigenous Peoples' rights activists use the Burmese language term hta-nay-tain- yin-tha in describing Indigenous Peoples, based on international principles; using the criteria of non-dominance in the national context, historical continuity, ancestral territories and self-identification.
The government recognises eight ethnic groups as national races or taung-yin-tha: Kachin, Karen, Karenni, Chin, Mon, Burman, Arakan and Shan. According to the 1982 Citizenship Law, ethnic groups who have been present in the current geographical area of Myanmar since before 1823 (the beginning of the first British annexation) are considered taung-yin-tha. However, there is a number of ethnic groups that are considered or see themselves as Indigenous Peoples, such as the Naga, that would not identify with any of those groups.
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) strongly condemn the violence used by security forces in Myanmar against peaceful protestors.
1 February 2021
International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) strongly condemn the military coup and attack on civilian rule in Myanmar that took place on 1 February 2021.