Kofi Annan’s advisory commission offered some sensible ways to tackle issues in Rakhine State, Ronan Lee writes, but will they be heard above the violence? Read the full article at PolicyForum.net here.
Here is a link to my latest article “The Dark Side of Liberalization” published in the journal Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09596410.2016.1159045
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/
New article by me and Dr Anthony Ware about how tapping into the reserves of goodwill that still exist in Rakhine State could be key to ending the Rohingya conflict. Article available at The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/Reserves of goodwill-new-leaders-could-end-rohingya-conflict-by-tapping-into-reserves-of-goodwill-51465
Very happy to have delivered a paper at the recent International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies at Chiang Mai University ‘Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges’.
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.
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.
You can read my piece for The Conversation ‘Between the devil and the deep blue sea: the Rohingya’s dilemma’ 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.
Read the full article at Mizzima.com here.
Here is a link to my latest article. Published in the journal Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/AIExfyxdwswI6nJRRBAc/full#.U3yq8CyKCP8
ABSTRACT: In Myanmar (also known as Burma), the Rohingya are a persecuted Muslim minority living mainly in northern Rakhine State. Aung San Suu Kyi, the iconic leader of Myanmar’s opposition party the National League for Democracy (NLD), is championed as the voice of the people. However, on the matter of the Rohingya’s persecution she has been notably silent. This article examines the possible reasons for Suu Kyi’s silence and argues that Buddhist–Muslim political relations in Myanmar are central to understanding the reasons behind Suu Kyi’s position on the Rohingya. It is suggested that various factors, including the history of the Rohingya in Myanmar, the NLD’s attitude towards the Rohingya, Suu Kyi’s sense of obligation to her father’s political legacy, and Suu Kyi’s views on ethnicity, are creating a political environment in which Suu Kyi is presented with pragmatic political reasons for staying silent. Given Suu Kyi has the potential to become a future national leader, an understanding of her behaviours towards a sizeable persecuted Muslim minority is important. This is particularly the case when consideration is given to the contemporary pressures on Muslims to embrace radical politics and the implications this could have for Myanmar and the region.