ABSTRACT: This article describes how divisive groups have taken advantage of Myanmar’s new political and media freedoms to pursue an agenda that will limit the civil and political rights of the country’s Muslim population. The article argues that enforcement of the four Protection of Race and Religion Laws will disadvantage Myanmar’s already politically marginalized Muslim residents by creating a de facto religious test for full Myanmar citizenship rights. The article examines both the positive and negative aspects of Myanmar’s liberalizations, the nature of the ‘Protection of Race and Religion’ legislative package and how this will interact with Myanmar’s citizenship laws.
‘It’s a genocide’, was the conclusion of two recent research reports about the treatment of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims. Yet despite disturbing conclusions both reports have been criticised for their use of inflammatory language and their pre-election timing. Some argue the publication of a ‘genocide’ conclusion makes it harder to resolve the underlying causes of the Rohingya’s persecution. This article suggests these reports, despite the criticisms, highlight a human rights tragedy that needs to be publicised but that solving this tragedy must involve going beyond labels. Instead, a resolution and peace require working with both major ethnic communities in Rakhine State. Read my full article at E-IR here:http://www.e-ir.info/2016/01/24/reports-on-genocide-in-myanmar-highlight-the-need-for-change/
My paper, “Holding Back the Tide: Can Myanmar’s Democratic Political Leaders Prevent a de facto Religious Test for Full Citizenship Rights?” addressed the rise of Buddhist nationalism, discriminatory government policies and how I believe this is changing the nature of Myanmar citizenship. It was part of the Ethnic Politics and Minorities panel, chaired by Dr Jacques Leider, with Dr Matthew Walton acting as discussant.
Discussants Derina Johnson and Dr Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi at the International Conference of Burma/Myanmar Studies, Chiang Mai
Dr Daw Khin Mar Mar Kyi and Derina Johnson @Derina_Johnson were discussants in the panel Crossing Frontiers: Multiplication of Burmese Migration in Asia.
More details about the conference including links to draft conference papers can be found here.
First published by Mizzima Weekly on May 14 and online May 20.
Recent events reveal surprising insights into which national political figures are most engaged with the democratic challenge of Myanmar’s ‘vote winning’ process. These insights challenge the expectation of the national election is a lopsided political battle between U Thein Sein’s government and an overwhelmingly popular Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led opposition, with ethnic minority parties campaigning principally on the periphery.
At this point in the electoral cycle, President U Thein Sein appears the most politically savvy of the major players as he actively engages in winning domestic support and votes—suggesting a sincere commitment to the democratic process. Meanwhile, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy should be mindful that they have the most to lose if they stick to their strategy of threatened electoral non-participation without constitutional change.