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In this report "child" means any person under the age of eighteen years.

In 1989 the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council, since renamed the State Peace and Development Council, SPDC) military junta changed the name of the country from "Burma" to "Myanmar Naing Ngan," and altered the English versions of place names to Burmanized versions; for example, Rangoon became Yangon and Moulmein became Mawlamyine. The elected government does not recognize these changes, and the non-Burman ethnic groups view them as part of the government's efforts to Burmanize national culture. This report uses the old names, primarily for reasons of clarity and familiarity to readers. This report uses the adjective `Burman' as an ethnicity, while `Burmese' refers to the nation state of Burma; however, some of those quoted use `Burmese' to indicate Burmans or the Burman language.

Tatmadaw translates literally as "armed forces," and is made up of the Army (Tatmadaw Kyi), Air Force (Tatmadaw Lay), and Navy (Tatmadaw Ye). In English we have used the term "Burma army" for the Tatmadaw Kyi, because "SPDC army" is not an accurate description and "Burmese army" is taken by some to imply that the army is strictly an ethnic Burman institution, which it is not.

This report uses the terms "armed opposition groups" or "opposition armies" to refer to all armed groups in Burma that are not under the direct control of the regime. This includes groups which have ceasefire agreements with the SPDC (and which vary in the extent of their cooperation with the regime), and those which have no ceasefire agreements. The latter are additionally also referred to as "resistance groups" or "resistance armies" in the report.

Unless otherwise specified, "recruitment" is used in this report to encompass all forms of gaining recruits into armed forces or groups, including voluntary recruitment, coercion, and legal or extralegal conscription. 

The school system in Burma begins with two years of kindergarten, generally referred to as KGB and KGA. This is followed by ten years of schooling, First Standard up to Tenth Standard. Primary school is KGB to Fourth Standard, middle school is Fifth to Eighth Standards, and high school is Ninth and Tenth Standards. This is occasionally followed by a year or two of some form of post-secondary studies, but is more commonly followed by university studies. 
The value of the kyat, the Burmese currency, is officially set at six kyat to one U.S. dollar. However, most exchange occurs on the black market where one U.S. dollar is presently worth approximately 850 kyat; the rate is volatile and has recently fluctuated between 800 and 1,000. Day laborers in Burma commonly earn one hundred to three hundred kyat per day. A Burma army private's salary is 4,500 kyat per month. This report also makes reference to the Thai baht, which presently exchanges at about forty-two to the U.S. dollar, and Chinese yuan, which presently exchanges at about nine to the U.S. dollar.

Some acronyms and other abbreviations that appear in this report are listed below. Please note that this list is not intended to be complete.

Burma Government and Army

SPDC State Peace and Development Council, ruling military junta 
SLORC State Law and Order Restoration Council, former name of the SPDC until 1997
IB Infantry battalion
LIB Light infantry battalion
LID Light infantry division, ten battalions for offensive operations
Sa Ka Ka Abbreviation for SPDC's Military Operations Commands, ten battalions each
Pyitthu Sit "People's Army": militia formed and controlled by the Burma army
NCO Non-commissioned officers: lance corporals, corporals and sergeants
Su Saun Yay Literally "gathering place": the Burma army's holding camps for new recruits
Ye Nyunt "Brave Sprouts", a network of camps for boys within Burma army camps, used as a way to channel young boys into the Burma army

Other Armed Groups

ABSDF All-Burma Students' Democratic Front
AIG Anti-Insurgent Group (former Karen soldiers working with Burma army)
ARIF Arakan Rohingya Islamic Front
ARNO Arakan Rohingya National Organization
BPA Burma Patriotic Army
CNF/CNA Chin National Front/Chin National Army
CPB Communist Party of Burma
DKBA Democratic Karen Buddhist Army
HRP/MRA Hongsawatoi Restoration Party/Monland Restoration Army
KDA Kachin Democratic Army
KIO/KIA Kachin Independence Organization/Kachin Independence Army
KNDO Karen National Defense Organization (militia of the KNLA)
KNLP Kayan New Land Party
KNPLF Karenni Nationalities People's Liberation Front
KNPP/KnA Karenni National Progressive Party/Karenni Army
KNU/KNLA Karen National Union/Karen National Liberation Army
KPA Karen Peace Army
MDA Mongko Region Defense Army
MDUF Myeik-Dawei United Front
MNDAA Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army
MTA Mong Tai Army
NDA-K New Democratic Army - Kachinland
NMSP/MNLA New Mon State Party/Mon National Liberation Army
NSCN [I-M] National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Isaac-Muivah faction
NSCN [K] National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Khaplang faction
PDF People's Democratic Front
PNO/PNA Pa'O National Organization/Pa'O National Army
PSLP/PSLA Palaung State Liberation Party/Palaung State Liberation Army
RCSS Restoration Council of the Shan State, political wing of SSA-South
RSO Rohingya Solidarity Organization
SSA-South Shan State Army (South)
SSNA Shan State National Army
SSNPLO Shan State Nationalities People's Liberation Organization
SSPC Shan State Peace Council (SSA-North + SSNA)
SSPP/SSA Shan State Progressive Party/Shan State Army (North)
UWSP/UWSA United Wa State Party/United Wa State Army
WNO/WNA Wa National Organization/Wa National Army


AK47 Often abbreviated as "AK", Kalashnikov assault rifle common among opposition armies; most AK47s in Burma came from China via the Vietnam and Cambodian wars
BA64 Alternative name for the Burmese-made G4
BA72, BA63 Alternative names for the Burmese-made G2 and G3 respectively
BA93 Burma army-issue shoulder-fired grenade launcher
G2, G3 Standard-issue German-designed Burma army assault rifles; notoriously big, heavy, and prone to jam, they are gradually being superseded by the MA series
G4 Standard-issue Burma army 7.62mm machine gun; gradually being superseded by the lighter MA2
MA1 - MA4 Chinese-designed assault rifles now being made in Burma to replace the German-designed G2 and G3; modeled on the AK47 but firing NATO-caliber ammunition, the MA1 has a solid stock, the MA3 a folding stock, and the MA4 has a grenade launcher mounted under the barrel
MA11 - MA14 A newer line of assault rifles intended to become standard issue in the Burma army, reportedly based on Israeli Galil designs
M16 Assault rifle common among opposition armies; most M16s in Burma are former U.S. army weapons from Vietnam, or were bought on the black market from South East Asian countries armed by the U.S.
M79 Grenade launcher common among opposition armies, mainly U.S. army surplus
RPG Rocket-propelled grenade fired from a shoulder launcher, most commonly RPG-7 and RPG-2

General Terms

Baht Thai currency; U.S.$1 = 42 baht at time of writing
Bowl/Pyi Volume of rice equal to eight small condensed milk tins; about two kilograms /4.4 pounds
Kyat Burmese currency; U.S.$1 = six kyat at official rate, 850-1,000 kyat at market rate
Loh ah pay Pali term for labor contributed to the community to earn religious merit, but now used by the SPDC and the Burma army to call villagers for forced labor
Pa Take Burmanisation of the word "practice"; used by Burmese soldiers to refer to the non-military labor that they must perform for their officers
Viss Unit of weight measure; one viss is 1.6 kilograms or 3.5 pounds
Yuan Chinese currency; U.S.$1 = nine yuan at time of writing

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