Myanmar

Rohingya refugees

As Rohingya Flee Myanmar, Bangladesh Bans Three Muslim Aid Groups

October 20, 2017

In what some are describing as the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya minorities have fled Myanmar since this August. As neighboring Bangladesh continues to accept refugees, however, it has begun to screen aid organizations in the name of security.

The Rohingya people have long faced discrimination in Myanmar, where they are both a religious and ethnic minority. Tensions peaked in late August when a group of Rohingya insurgents ...

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Relationship with Other Nation States

Tensions between Myanmar and Bangladesh center in large part upon the vast number of Muslim Rohingya who have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the 1970s. Some 300,000 Rohingya are presently living in Bangladesh, which has not granted them refugee status and objects to doing so on legalistic grounds, pointing out that they have signed no international agreements obligating them to accept refugees. More recently, Buddhists from Bangladesh have been allowed to settle in Myanmar, further destabilizing life for the Rohingya inside of Myanmar and increasing the threat of communal tension...

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Religion and Political and Legal Structures

The legislative branch is comprised of a National Parliament (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw), itself separated into a House of Representatives (Pyithy Hluttaw) and Senate (Amyotha Hluttaw). The House of Representatives has 440 seats, 330 of which are elected representatives and 110 of which are reserved for military personnel appointed by the Commander in Chief of the Defense Services. The Senate has 224 seats, including 168 elected representatives and 56 military appointees.1

Burmese law is derived from English common law, customary law, the Constitution of Myanmar, and...

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Independence and Modern Rule (1948–present)

Independence & Civilian Government (1948–1962)

General Aung San negotiated with the badly weakened post-WWII British government for independence, which was achieved in 1948. Aung San and other Burmese nationalists viewed Burmese identity as inherently Buddhist, a view he exhibited in 1946 during his famous anti-colonial speech on the steps of the Shwedagon Pagoda, an important Buddhist reliquary.1 However, Aung San maintained that an independent Burma should continue to separate religion and state, and had he not been assassinated in 1947, Buddhism...

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The Colonial Era (1885-1948)

The Early Years

Prior to the arrival of the British, education took place within the Sangha and most young men passed through monasteries as novice monks. In addition to providing an education and a religious vocation, the Sangha garnered respect for the monastic community. The arrival of British colonial policy in Burma fundamentally undermined this system, and is at the heart of contemporary intercommunal and interreligious violence. By undercutting Burmese political and religious authority, the British marginalized the Burman community while granting ethnic...

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Myanmar

Myanmar (formerly “Burma”) is a majority- Buddhist nation in Southeast Asia, and home to more than 135 different ethnic groups, each with its own history, culture and language. The majority Burmese ethnicity is the Burmans, making up approximately two-thirds of the population. The 2014 census, the first in three decades, put the population at 51.5 million, but accurate numbers are elusive; the government categorizes people into ethnic designations based on geography, not all of which were counted in the most recent census. The country is divided into seven regions, mostly inhabited by...

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