Myanmar, Republic of the Union of

Myanmar, Republic of the Union of

Videos

Myanmar: Democracy Wins

United Nations - After almost 50 years of military rule, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma in Southeast Asia, is witnessing sweeping change. 

To access the video, please follow the link: Myanmar: Democracy Wins

video

Policy and Research Papers

The Myanmar Elections: Results and Implications

The 8 November elections were a major waypoint in Myanmar’s transition from authoritarian rule. Holding a peaceful, orderly vote in a context of little experience of electoral democracy, deep political fissures and ongoing armed conflict in several areas was a major achievement for all political actors, the election commission and the country as a whole. The victorious National League for Democracy (NLD) needs to use the four-month transitional period before it takes power at the end of March 2016 wisely, identifying key appointees early so that they have as much time as possible to prepare for the substantial challenges ahead.

Full report available: The Myanmar Elections: Results and Implications

Paper

Myanmar’s Peace Process: Getting to a Political Dialogue

Capture

After almost 70 years of armed conflict that has targeted and devastated the lives of minority communities, the new government of Myanmar, which took power on 30 March 2016, inherited a peace process.

Seeking for a political settlement, the efforts are currently oriented towards the negotiations to convince the armed groups to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) in order to have a broader political dialogue. To ensure such goal, the government is recommended to demonstrate a less unilateral approach to the process in general and to guaranty that the civil society women and youth are fully and equally involved.

However, several challenges are facing this process including the weak capacity of the National Reconciliation and Peace Centre (NRPC), the forceful posture of the military on the ground, the difficulty to include  all the parties of the political society and the fragility of the political and security environment.

This paper presents in its first part an overview on the roots of the peace process and its framework as well as the role played by the NCA. The second part will be devoted to the features of the new approach which has been set up and followed by the current government in order to tackle in priority the peace process. This intention had been clear through the “Union Peace Conference” during which nearly all armed groups were presented.

Finally, the paper attempts to highlight the fundamental doubts concerning the peace process such as the possibility of implementing a negotiated federal solution, the concerns of sub-minorities and the question of the legitimacy of the negotiated solutions.

To access the Myanmar’s Peace Process: Getting to a Political Dialogue kindly follow the link.

Paper

Understandings of Justice in Myanmar

The multitude of justice challenges confronting people in Myanmar means that there is significant scope for, and interest in, rule of law and access to justice programmes among both foreign and domestic actors. While attention to justice concerns is welcome, there is a danger of taking for granted that there are shared and agreed understandings about the meaning of justice and its role in society.

For full access to the report Understandings of Justice in Myanmar, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Myanmar’s Plural Justice System

Understanding justice provision in Myanmar requires grappling with the universe of providers that people use to resolve disputes. There is no single justice provider with recognised authority to enforce the rule of law throughout Myanmar. Long-running political conflicts and plural power structures mean providers and systems are distinct in some places and overlap in others. This briefing maps the different justice chains people follow, providing an ‘end-user’ perspective on how they navigate justice providers.

For full access to the report Myanmar’s Plural Justice System, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Debt Disputes in Myanmar

People in Myanmar face a wide range of justice problems, from land disputes to drug trafficking to violence against women. Yet in MyJustice research, debt disputes emerged as the most common dispute people spoke of, affecting large numbers of people in both Mon State and Yangon Region (Denney et al., 2016). Yet debt disputes have been largely overlooked to date. They highlight the importance and challenge of equitable access to credit in a transitioning country like Myanmar, without which there are both justice and developmental consequences. As with most justice problems, debt disputes and a lack of formal credit access affect the poor and vulnerable most acutely.

For full access to the report Debt Disputes in Myanmar, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Myanmar: A New Muslim Insurgency in Rakhine State

This report examines the emergence of a new form of organised violent resistance in the Muslim-majority northern parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine State. It is important to know and acknowledge the perspectives of Rakhine Buddhists and their strongly-felt grievances. The current violence, however, is qualitatively different from anything in recent decades and has fundamental implications for the situation in the troubled state and potentially for Myanmar’s transition as a whole. The report looks at the establishment of a new armed group, its objectives and international links; the response of the government and security forces; and the implications for the people of Rakhine State and the country.

For full access to the report Myanmar: A New Muslim Insurgency in Rakhine State, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar

Extreme Buddhist nationalist positions including hate speech and violence are on the rise in Myanmar. This article argues that rather than ineffective bans on broad-based groups like the Association for the Protection of Race and Religion (MaBaTha), the government should address underlying causes and reframe the debate on Buddhism’s place in society and politics.

For full access to Buddhism and State Power in Myanmar, kindly follow the link.

Paper

Reframing the Crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

This paper focuses on the two competing narratives that have emerged in the aftermath of the attacks in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. One frames the attacks as a critical threat to national security and the majority cultural-religious status quo. The second focuses on the human cost of the clearance operations, particularly for the largely stateless Rohingya. In any interpretation, it is clear that the situation is a threat to regional stability moving forward, necessitating a coordinated political and humanitarian response.

For full access to the paper, Reframing the Crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, kindly follow the link. 

Paper

Security Integration in Conflict-affected Societies: Considerations for Myanmar

Myanmar's peace process has brought to the fore critical debates about the future of the country’s security sector and the establishment of a federal system of government. This paper, draws on the experiences of countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to offer technical and political insights for Myanmar.

In the second in Saferworld's security integration in Myanmar series, this report examines three themes:

  • sustaining security sector negotiations and making them more inclusive;
  • the institutional features of security sectors in federal countries;
  • and the integration of non-state armed groups with national security bodies.

The paper aims to support reflection and promote discussion on how to develop a more inclusive security sector in Myanmar – one that will meet the needs of the country’s diverse ethnic and religious communities and help consolidate long-term peace and stability. It provides insights that can hopefully be drawn upon by those both inside and outside the Myanmar peace process to influence and inform the security integration debate and to make it more inclusive.

For full access to the paper, Security Integration in Conflict-affected Societies: Considerations for Myanmar, please follow the link. 

Paper

"If Not Now, When?": The Responsibility to Protect, the Fate of the Rohingya and the Future of Human Rights

In this occasional paper from the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Dr. Simon Adams tests the resilience of the international community's commitment to defending human rights and upholding its Responsibility to Protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The paper highlights the failure to respond to patterns of discrimination that eventually led to a genocide in Myanmar (Burma) during 2017. But it also draws attention to other recent situations, such as in the Gambia, when the international community seized the moment to respond in a timely and decisive manner to an emerging threat of devastating conflict. In doing so, Adams emphasizes that even when bodies such as the UN Security Council appear paralyzed and inert, a mobilized international community can still act to prevent atrocities, protect vulnerable populations, and hold the perpetrators accountable.

To access the full paper, "If Not Now, When?": The Responsibility to Protect, the Fate of the Rohingya and the Future of Human Rights, kindly follow the link. 

Paper

Security, justice and governance in south east Myanmar: a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey in Karen ceasefire areas

Saferworld and the Karen Peace Support Network present unprecedented insights into people's perceptions of security, justice and governance in south east Myanmar.

In 2017 and 2018, Saferworld and the Karen Peace Support Network spoke to over 2,000 people across 72 villages across south east Myanmar about their experiences during the 69-year-old armed conflict between the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw) and the Karen National Union.

They found that people in Myanmar’s Karen ceasefire areas face severe insecurity amid protracted armed conflict, routine violence, abuse and exploitation. Eighty per cent of households stated experiences of violence or abuse by the authorities, such as shootings and burning of villages. The survey also found relatively high levels of legitimacy of the KNU controlled areas, low levels of trust in the peace process, and fairly high levels of anxiety that fighting will break out again.

Their survey constitutes a unique evidence base to support more conflict-sensitive humanitarian and developmental assistance. It is intended to support efforts to address the root causes of conflict and insecurity.

To access the full paper, Security, justice and governance in south east Myanmar: a knowledge, attitudes and practices survey in Karen ceasefire areas, kindly follow the link. 

Paper

Justice provision in south east Myanmar: experiences from conflict-affected areas with multiple governing authorities

Myanmar’s south east has long been characterised by conflict between the central government and various ethnic armed organisations (EAOs), including the Karen National Union (KNU). The resulting patchwork of governance structures – including those of the government, the KNU, or a mix of the two – has meant that people access justice services in very different ways.

This report, explores how justice is provided and accessed in four locations under different governance arrangements, and shows how this varies from place to place. The locations included in the research include an urban ward under government control, a village fully administered by the KNU, a village officially administered by the government but which is influenced by two EAOs, the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army and the KNU, and a militia group, and a village under mixed KNU and government administration.

The findings are meant to inform international aid agencies with a detailed account of how people perceive and experience justice in their communities, and how these systems function in practice. It should also help inform policy and practice around justice in south east Myanmar.

To read the full report Justice provision in south east Myanmar: experiences from conflict-affected areas with multiple governing authorities, please follow the link provided.

Paper

Democratising Myanmar’s security sector: enduring legacies and a long road ahead

Drawing on extensive research and interviews, this new report identifies three areas where steps can be taken to democratise the security sector in Myanmar: giving more power to elected civilians as representatives of the people; transforming the security culture; and protecting and building civic space. The work ahead is best viewed as a multi-decade challenge, and sustained action from a wide range of organisations and individuals is needed to bring about generational change.

For full access to the report Democratising Myanmar’s security sector: enduring legacies and a long road ahead, please follow the link. 

Paper

Democratising Myanmar’s security sector: enduring legacies and a long road ahead

Drawing on extensive research and interviews, this new report identifies three areas where steps can be taken to democratise the security sector in Myanmar: giving more power to elected civilians as representatives of the people; transforming the security culture; and protecting and building civic space. The work ahead is best viewed as a multi-decade challenge, and sustained action from a wide range of organisations and individuals is needed to bring about generational change.

For full access to the report Democratising Myanmar’s security sector: enduring legacies and a long road ahead, please follow the link. 

Paper

Books

The Protection and Promotion of Human Security in East Asia

This book is part of the Palgrave Macmillan Critical Studies of the Asia Pacific series.

Although many of the states of East Asia have achieved startling success, not all have benefited from the region's development. Many of the most vulnerable sections of East Asian populations still face tremendous challenges in their daily lives, have yet to enjoy the rewards of the Asian Century, and may even be further imperiled as a result of the forces of development. Brendan Howe examines the measurements of success in East Asian development and governance from a human-centered perspective. He assesses obstacles to the protection and promotion of human security and development through detailed case studies of the most challenged states in the region, including Burma, Timor-Leste, Japan and North and South Korea. He looks at the roles that East Asian actors can play, and have been playing, in protecting and promoting human security at the theoretical and practical level.

Chapter 1: Human Security: Challenges and Opportunities in East Asia

Chapter 2: Human Security and Good Governance

Chapter 3: East Asian Perspectives on Human Security and Governance

Chapter 4: Human Security and National Insecurity in North Korea

Chapter 5: Conflict Drivers in Muslim Mindanao

Chapter 6: Human Insecurity and Underdevelopment in Laos

Chapter 7: Transforming Conflictual Relationships in Myanmar/Burma

Chapter 8: Rebuilding Human Security in Timor-Leste

Chapter 9: Human Security and Japanese Strategic Aid

Chapter 10: South Korea’s Contribution to the Promotion of Human Security

Chapter 11: Future Contributions to East Asian Human Security

Book

Other Documents

Myanmar at a Crossroads

KOFF Newsletter 142

From the editorial:

On 15 October, the heads of eight Burmese armed groups signed a ceasefire with the Myanmar Government. Although this agreement, which was signed after more than two years of intense negotiations, is historical, it is also an admission of defeat for President U Thein Sein, who wanted a nationwide ceasefire to be agreed with all armed ethnic groups before the general elections that are scheduled for 8 November. The elections also constitute a significant event for Myanmar as they mark a key stage in its political, social, and economic transition. They are also the first elections that can be classed as transparent and inclusive since the country gained its independence in 1948. If these two events, inextricably linked, seem set to permanently mark Myanmar’s future, they also give rise to great challenges.

This edition enables us to learn more about the main issues faced by the international community involved in this context and presents some of the actions undertaken by the Swiss administration and civil society to address these challenges.

DCAF’s Contribution to Police Reform in Myanmar, page 7.

Read Myanmar at a Crossroads

Other Document

Myanmar Constitution 2008

Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar

Other Document

Myanmar - National Ceasefire Agreement 2015 - English Version

Myanmar National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)

Other Document

Peace and Electoral Democracy in Myanmar

Myanmar’s 2020 polls are a chance to consolidate electoral democracy in the country. Yet many ethnic minorities doubt that voting gives them a real say. To preempt possible violence, the paper states that the government and outside partners should work to enhance the ballot’s inclusiveness and transparency.

For full access to the document Peace and Electoral Democracy in Myanmar, kindly follow the link.

Other Document