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Myanmar

CrisisWatch Myanmar

Unchanged Situation

International criticism of govt’s response to Rohingya crisis and treatment of jailed journalists continued, as did sporadic clashes between ethnic armed groups and military in north. Yangon court 3 Sept sentenced two local Reuters journalists to seven years’ prison with hard labour for violating Official Secrets Act, despite credible evidence that police had set them up and prosecution failing to make convincing case; journalists had been investigating killings of ten Rohingya by security forces and local villagers at time of their arrest in Dec 2017; case widely seen internationally as miscarriage of justice and bellwether for Myanmar’s declining press freedom. Speaking at World Economic Forum event in Vietnam 13 Sept, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi backed court’s action; also acknowledged that situation in Rakhine state “could have been handled better” and took responsibility for “political aspect” but declined to criticise what she termed “military aspect”. International Criminal Court 6 Sept ruled that it had jurisdiction over alleged forced deportation of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh, even though Myanmar is not a state party, since part of the alleged crime occurred on territory of a state party (Bangladesh). Myanmar govt “resolutely rejected” ruling, calling it “the result of faulty procedure”, “manifest bad faith”, and “of dubious legal merit”. UN continues to express frustration at its lack of access to northern Rakhine state, despite MoU agreed by govt in May; on 12 Sept began two-week assessment in 23 villages in area selected by govt. In Rakhine State, tensions continued between authorities and Rakhine Buddhist majority; Sittwe court 10 Sept decided to confirm high treason charges, which carry life imprisonment, against Rakhine political leader and former lawmaker Dr. Aye Maung. Armed clashes involving ethnic groups remain relatively limited, in part due to monsoon; sporadic fighting occurred in northern Shan State early Sept between troops of National Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)-signatory Restoration Council of Shan State and non-signatory Ta’ang National Liberation Army, also in northern hills of Kayin State between military and Fifth Brigade of Karen National Union, an NCA signatory.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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

Consultant, 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

Consultant, 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
31 Mar 2017
Most [political] transitions end badly like the Arab spring. [They] are always bumpy and I think Myanmar is going through a particularly bumpy moment in its transition. The Guardian

Richard Horsey

Consultant, Myanmar
3 Feb 2017
The threat is not because of [Harakah al-Yaqin's] military strength, it's because of what they represent, the potential of [Myanmar] facing a very well organized, violent jihadist movement. CNN

Richard Horsey

Consultant, Myanmar

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Asia

Rohingya Deserve Non-violent Leadership

Originally published in Asia Times

Commentary / Asia

Myanmar/Bangladesh: A Humanitarian Calamity and a Two-country Crisis

More than one million Muslim Rohingya forced to flee from Myanmar now live in camps in south-eastern Bangladesh. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to increase funding for refugee assistance and use diplomatic leverage to find a compromise on the issue of refugee repatriation.

Op-Ed / Asia

Will Rohingya Refugees Start Returning to Myanmar in 2018?

Most went back home from Bangladesh in two earlier exoduses, but this time is different.

Originally published in Nikkei Asian Review

Commentary / Asia

Rohingya Crisis: A Major Threat to Myanmar Transition and Regional Stability

The international community’s failure to address Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis has resulted in massive displacement from Rakhine state. The crisis poses a clear threat to Myanmar’s democratic transition. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2017 – Third Update early warning report for European policy makers, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to support strong Security Council action and push for multilateral and bilateral engagement with Myanmar’s civilian and military leaders.

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Richard Horsey

Consultant, Myanmar
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