icon caret Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Line Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Crisiswatch Alerts and Trends Box - 1080/761 Copy Twitter Video Camera  copyview Youtube

Myanmar

Crisis Group is monitoring the volatility in this multi-ethnic, multi-religious country during its transition away from military rule. In Rakhine state, longstanding communal tensions and government discrimination against the Rohingya Muslim minority have morphed into a major crisis. In August 2017, following militant  attacks, the military drove more than 750,000 Rohingya into neighbouring Bangladesh. This human catastrophe is also a potential driver of transnational jihadist group mobilisation or recruitment. Meanwhile, armed conflict has escalated in both Rakhine and Shan states, and the peace process with some 21 ethnic armed groups has lost momentum as it collides with political and electoral realities. Through field research and advocacy, Crisis Group works to mitigate the impact of armed conflict, strengthen the peace process and promote improved communal relations.

CrisisWatch Myanmar

Unchanged Situation

Clashes between Arakan Army (AA) and military continued and conflict seems to have expanded to new parts of southern Rakhine State, while Ethnic Armed Organization (EAO) leaders renewed peace process dialog ahead of Nov 2020 general election. AA and military continued to clash across central and northern Rakhine State; several improvised explosive devices 7 and 8 Jan detonated in Rakhine State’s Toungup and Kyaukpyu townships. AA 4 Jan claimed that in 2019, they have engaged in 681 clashes with Tatmadaw, killing or injuring 3,562 soldiers, though figures cannot be corroborated by other sources. EAO leaders 7-8 Jan convened in capital Naypyitaw for meeting of their Peace Process Steering Team; followed by meeting with govt under auspices of Joint Implementation Coordination Meeting (JICM), apex body through which signatories can raise issues with implementation of Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement; concerns from EAO leaders that govt attention to peace process will wane in lead-up to general election prompted Karen National Union and Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) to shift their positions and allow JICM to take place for first time since March 2018. In first visit to Myanmar by Chinese head of state since 2001, President Xi Jinping 17-18 Jan met with President, State Counsellor and Commander-in-Chief, focusing discussions on planned China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, also discussed support to peace process. International Court of Justice 23 Jan, in unanimous decision, imposed provisional measures on Myanmar pending final decision on case brought by Gambia under Genocide Convention; Court ordered Myanmar to abide by its obligations to prevent and punish acts of genocide against Rohingya, to preserve relevant evidence, and to submit six-monthly reports on all measures taken, with first report due by 23 May.

Continue reading

Reports & Briefings

In The News

18 Jan 2020
The overall impression is that Myanmar is being cautious about Chinese investment, especially ahead of elections planned later in the year. ABC

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
5 Dec 2019
[Aung San Suu Kyi] likely feels that she must do all she can to defend the national interest against what most people in Myanmar see as biased and politically-motivated charges. Reuters

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
29 Nov 2017
The Pope was aware that inserting himself too strongly into a situation with a lot of religious undertones could inflame tensions further in Myanmar. ABC

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
26 Nov 2017
[Buddhist] monks feel the [Myanmar] government is weak on the protection of Buddhism and keeping the morals of the country intact. CNN

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
5 Sep 2017
The [Myanmar] military and government should be careful not to assume all Rohingya are sympathizers or supporters [of jihadis]. Deutsche Welle

Anagha Neelakantan

Former Program Director, Asia
29 Aug 2017
It should be in the government’s power to create the conditions in which to implement some of these recommendations [of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State in Myanmar]. RFI

Anagha Neelakantan

Former Program Director, Asia

Latest Updates

Briefing / Asia

An Opening for Internally Displaced Person Returns in Northern Myanmar

In 2011, fighting between Myanmar’s military and Kachin rebels displaced more than 100,000 people. Now they might be able to go home. The military and insurgents should both cease fire while the government arranges for the internally displaced persons’ safe, voluntary return or resettlement.

Also available in Burmese
Briefing / Asia

Building a Better Future for Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is hosting nearly a million Rohingya refugees who have little hope of going home any time soon. The government should move to improve camp living conditions, in particular by lifting the education ban and fighting crime. Donors should support such steps.

Commentary / Asia

Myanmar: Humanitarian Crisis and Armed Escalation

Ethnic armed conflict, the ongoing Rohingya crisis and thriving illegal business are preventing Myanmar from solving the country’s protracted conflicts. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to sustain aid and diversify its peacebuilding initiatives.

Briefing / Asia

A New Dimension of Violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Ethnic Rakhine insurgents have attacked four police stations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, provoking a military counteroffensive. Escalation could imperil both prospects for Rohingya repatriation and the country’s transition toward civilian rule. All sides should step back from confrontation and pursue talks about Rakhine State’s future.

Also available in Burmese
Report / Asia

Fire and Ice: Conflict and Drugs in Myanmar’s Shan State

Civil strife has turned Myanmar’s Shan State into a crystal methamphetamine hub. The richer the traffickers get, the harder the underlying conflicts will be to resolve. Instead of targeting minor offenders, the military should root out corruption, including among top brass, and disarm complicit paramilitaries.

Also available in Burmese

Our People

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
rshorsey