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Myanmar: January 2020 update

Published Tuesday, January 7, 2020

After a brief period when Myanmar was viewed by the rest of the world as an inspiring 'success story', the country is once again the target of strong international criticism over the Rohingya crisis. This briefing surveys developments since the beginning of 2018.

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Over the last two years the Myanmar authorities have sought to limit the damage caused to their reputation by the crisis in Rakhine State, which in 2017 triggered the forced displacement into Bangladesh of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya. While at home they may have had some success, the UN and Western governments have not been appeased – although critics argue that they have not responded robustly enough.  

A range of initiatives have begun in search of accountability for international crimes committed in the context of the Rohingya crisis, most notably through the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s and the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) government’s efforts to manage the Rohingya crisis have distracted them from the pursuit of other important initiatives – for example, the ongoing nationwide peace process (known as Panglong) with minority ethnic armed groups.

The next national elections are due in 2020.

For further background, see our January 2018 briefing on Myanmar.

Note: in our previous briefings, the term ‘Burma’ – which until 1989 was the official name of the country – has been predominantly used. However, from this briefing onwards we will predominantly use ‘Myanmar’, which has been the official name of the country since that year.

UK governments have continued to use ‘Burma’ in most of their public announcements about the country. However, they have increasingly used the name ‘Myanmar’ in UN fora.

 

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