Emily Fishbein

Freelance journalist using a collaborative approach with local journalists, photographers and artists to cover human rights, social justice, armed conflict, forced displacement and environmental issues in Myanmar. I especially seek to write in-depth reports which highlight underrepresented voices and underreported stories.

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Myanmar military coup

Reporting about the impacts of the February 1, 2021 military coup

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Reporting projects

Article series produced in collaboration with local reporting partners

Edited Articles

Articles I edited in collaboration with local journalists and activists from Myanmar

As war dynamics change, localisation is now vital for effective aid in Myanmar’s Rakhine

Resistance forces have made sweeping gains in Myanmar, prompting forecasts of a possible junta demise. But with the intensifying war, humanitarian needs are also rapidly rising, making it imperative that international aid groups more effectively back the community groups that are the backbone of the response effort.

An informal ceasefire officially came to an end in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State on 13 November, when the Arakan Army, one of the nation’s most powerful ethnic armed groups, launc

‘Is the world listening?’: the poets challenging Myanmar’s military

It has now been a year since the military coup, and the breeze of democracy has become a dead wind in Myanmar. People breathe the air of fear and pass nights of rage and despair as men and women are shot or burnt alive at the hands of the Myanmar military. Villagers leave their loved ones at home and take refuge in the forest. Once-vibrant city streets have become rows of haunted houses. The whole country is trapped in a shadowland.

As Rohingya refugees, we are all too familiar with the militar

Ready for war: my journey from peaceful poet to revolutionary soldier

Days after the military coup in February 2021, demonstrations erupted across Myanmar. The military responded by shooting unarmed protesters with live rounds. People were beaten, arbitrarily detained and imprisoned.

On the frontlines of protests in Yangon in February and early March, I witnessed soldiers and police firing live rounds into crowds, and on 8 March, I was one of hundreds of protesters who were barricaded overnight on Kyun Taw Road in Yangon’s Sanchaung township, where soldiers and p

Kachin

Reporting on Kachin State, Myanmar

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Environmental reporting

Reporting on environmental issues and natural resource economies in Kachin State, Myanmar

‘Afraid of the gun’: Military coup fuels Myanmar resource grab

A political crisis triggered by the military takeover makes life even more dangerous for those fighting to protect the environment.

Htu Seng has spent the past decade defending the land and environment of her native Kachin State but it was only after the military seized power in a coup in February 2021 that she began fearing for her life.

Forcibly relocated from her village near the river confluence known as Myitsone in 2011, to make way for a China-backed hydropower project that was suspended

Kachin public calls on KIO to address gold mining crisis

Unwilling to accept military rule, many in Kachin are looking to the Kachin Independence Organization to fill a void in governance. As the KIO strengthens its influence, it is facing mounting pressure to regulate environmentally destructive gold mining.

Bawk Nu* has spent the last 11 years dreaming of the day she could safely return to her village of Nam San Yang. She is one of more than 100,000 people who fled their homes following a resumption in fighting between the military and the armed wi

In the Wake of Coup, Gold Mining Boom Is Ravaging Myanmar

With a military junta retaking power last year, a gold rush is increasingly despoiling rivers in the Myanmar state of Kachin, polluting water with mercury, destroying riverbanks and farmland, and disrupting the traditional way of life of the region’s ethnic groups.

He traveled 60 miles west, passing through verdant forests, rice paddies, and small villages of bamboo houses. Reaching Bhamo, a town on the banks of the Irrawaddy, Myanmar’s longest river, he began mining gold and earning $4 per day

Kachin tycoon draws controversy over gold mining at Myitsone

Local people call for community leaders to do more to stop one of Kachin State’s most influential businessmen and his company from digging up and destroying land near the famed river confluence.

Sut Mai* started mining gold from the bank of Kachin State’s Mali River in 2013, when he was 18. He uses a shovel, generator-powered suction pipes, a sluice pan and a tray. “Local people have been mining gold for a long time, but it’s difficult and there’s not much profit,” he said.

He hails from Tang

Kachin State’s yemase jade miners and dealers demand a more equitable industry

Myanmar’s deadliest mine collapse in recent history caught the world’s attention in July, but local frustration with an industry controlled by outside companies has been growing for years.

This article was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

It was the deadliest landslide in Myanmar’s recent history – about 200 jade miners buried in rainwater and mud when a dam of mining waste collapsed in Kachin State’s Hpakant Township on July 2.

Haunting images of strewn bodies and grievin

After Another Mining Disaster, Ethnic Minorities Lose Patience With Myanmar’s Leadership

YANGON, Myanmar—On July 2, a landslide in the jade mines of the Hpakant region in Myanmar’s Kachin state claimed around 200 lives. Myanmar is the world’s largest single source of jade, most of which comes from Hpakant, and its extraction comes at a high human cost. While the July 2 disaster was the deadliest on record, fatal incidents occur annually.

Each one brings renewed calls from rights groups and transparency advocates to reform Myanmar’s jade industry, which is dominated by powerful mili

The many-sided fight over northern Kachin’s forests

The derailing of Hkakabo Razi’s World Heritage bid reveals a multifaceted battle of interests spanning international conservation, commercial exploitation, party politics and local desires to wrest back forest management.

This story was produced with support from the Rainforest Journalism Fund, an initiative of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

In late 2018, ethnic Rawang in Kachin State’s northern Hkakabo Razi region turned against the Forest Department and its international partner, t

‘All the fish died’: Kachin communities alarmed at impact of banana plantations

Communities in Kachin State are increasingly alarmed about the environmental impact of chemical runoff from burgeoning banana plantations.

ON THE afternoon of February 6, fish started dying in two streams near a banana plantation in Kachin State’s Waingmaw Township.

Residents of two nearby villages, Aung Myay One and Aung Myay Two, collected and ate the fish, which were taken from the Nam Myin Hka and Nan Lone Hka streams.

On February 15, the Kachin State Environmental Conservation Department

‘It would destroy everything’: Thousands protest against Myitsone Dam

MYITKYINA — Thousands of people marched peacefully in the Kachin State capital Myitkyina on Thursday against the Myitsone Dam, raising their voices in unison to the words, “Our rights! We don’t want it!”

The two-hour march began at 9am at the Kachin National Manau Park and progressed through the commercial heart of the city. The crowd, estimated by participants at around 7,000, held handwritten posters and vinyl banners with slogans including “Dams on the Irrawaddy will cut off Burma’s Lifebloo

Rakhine

Reporting on armed conflict between the Arakan Army and Myanmar military as well as the impacts of Cyclone Mocha on Rakhine communities

Myanmar/ Mizoram border

Reporting on armed conflict between the Myanmar military and resistance groups in Myanmar's northwest and the humanitarian impacts including displacement to Mizoram, India

Myanmar’s striking civil servants: Displaced, forgotten, but holding on

Mizoram, India – From the patio of a concrete house overlooking the verdant mountains stretching from the Indian state of Mizoram to her native Chin State in neighbouring Myanmar, Grace wistfully recalls her days working for her country’s education department.

“Even though the salary was low, I really valued that work,” she said. “I stayed in the office more than my own home, and I felt closer to it.”

But when the military seized power in a coup in February 2021, she could not bring herself to

In India’s Mizoram, ethnic ties drive response to Chin conflict

Thousands fled Myanmar after the coup to India’s northeastern border state, where the local authorities and communities have offered protection and help despite a lack of central government support, but the response is under increasing strain.

In mountains close to Aizawl, the capital of India’s northeastern Mizoram state, 27 families have spent the past year sheltering in bamboo longhouses 800 kilometres from their homes.

The families fled Matupi Township in Myanmar’s Chin State because junta

Fears of escalation after Myanmar air raids near India border

Five people were killed in the attacks, which targeted the headquarters of the Chin National Front, an ethnic armed group.

On the afternoon of January 10, Van Bawi Mang, a member of an armed resistance group fighting against the Myanmar military, was resting in his barracks at a camp on the country’s northwestern border with India when a loud explosion jolted him back to the reality of war.

He scrambled into a nearby ditch as jet fighters flew overhead, glass shattering with the reverberation

Internet blackouts are hiding an ongoing human rights catastrophe

When he lost internet access in late September 2021, Salai Kyaw Moe began riding his motorbike from his home in Chin state to a town on the border with the neighboring Magway region, where he could pick up a faint 2G signal.

The Myanmar military shut down the internet hours before it seized power in a military coup in February 2021. Since then, it has routinely disrupted access across the country. In September, the junta blocked access in 25 townships in northwestern and central Myanmar’s Manda