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Myanmar Crisis and issue of Rohingya's - Explained

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Myanmar, right at the easternmost border of India, earlier known as Burma, has been in turmoil since the coup led by army last year. Various reports say, as of October, Myanmar’s junta (army) had arrested 98 journalists, 46 of whom remained in detention, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners and as per the reports from various newspapers, between February and November, police and military had killed at least 1,200 protesters and bystanders, including approximately 75 children, and have detained over 8700 government officials including its leader Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, many other activists, journalists, and civil servants are also detained.

Let's know about the situation there and its history?

Brief about Myanmar

It is situated in South East Asia and was previously known as Burma. Its neighbors are Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China and India. It gained independence from Britain in 1948 and was ruled by the armed forces from 1962 until 2011. After that people of Myanmar saw new government in building with return of civilian rule slowly.

The ruling military changed the name from Burma to Myanmar in 1989 and since then this name is used widely for the country. In the past too, the military have crushed democracy movements in the year 1988 and 2007.

About its democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi came to power as state councilor in 2016 after the country’s first fully democratic vote in decades. In 2015, the National League for Democracy, Myanmar’s leading civilian party, had won 83 percent of the available seats.

Aung San Suu Kyi, is the daughter of the country’s independence hero General Aung San and had spent more than 15 years under house arrest in her lifetime for which she was made an international icon and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize as well in the year 1991.

In 2019, she also represented Myanmar at a trial in the International Court of Justice, at which she defended it against accusations of Rohingya killings by army.

In January, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was convicted of violating import restrictions after walkie-talkies were found in her villa compound. She was also found guilty of violating coronavirus pandemic rules. After the coup her lawyers were banned from speaking to media, because army said, their communications could “destabilize the country.”

Recent turmoil and coup

Now the Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who is said to have a patronage network and is well connected with in the country is behind the coup. The military State Administration Council (SAC) junta led by Senior Gen., soldiers and police rounded up hundreds of members of parliament and arrested Aung San Suu Kyi and senior NLD party members, President U Win Myint, cabinet ministers, the chief ministers of several regions, opposition politicians, writers and activists and held them in arbitrary detention for months and many of them were in detention at undisclosed locations.

There has been wide protest in the country and the people are doing an expanded civil disobedience movement which is said to have has paralyzed the banking system and made it difficult for the military to get much done.

On February 21, 2021, the junta stated in the state’s Global New Light of Myanmar: “Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youth, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life.”

Many women had reported being beaten by security forces during their arrests, and some reported sexual violence and humiliating treatment by security forces during their detention.

Constitution of Myanmar reserves 25% of seats in both upper house and lower house for military appointees. Any party not affiliated with the military must win over two-thirds of the remaining seats to form a majority in the parliament, while military-affiliated parties need to win just over one-third of the seats to obtain an effective majority. And since the outflow of rohingya's, it has been alleged the election of 2020 which led Ms. Aung to power was flawed as many of them were barred from voting and many jailed for criticizing the government and also lack of fair election commission was the reason cited.

Media reports said, The election commission had cancelled voting in parts of Chin, Kachin, Karen, Mon, Rakhine, and Shan States because of fighting, but provided no detailed explanations as to why specific areas were affected. No voting took place in Wa State, an autonomous region. Many political parties were censored by the commission in their speeches on national television and radio stations.

International response to the crisis

Gambia has moved genocide issue at the International court of Justice for violations of the Genocide Convention. Many countries such as India, USA have asked the junta for curb in violence and hearing the peoples voice and give chance to democracy in the country. Also, China has been a supporter of the military rule as it hasn't made any statements despite being immediate neighbor of the country.

ASEAN grouping have criticized the killings, and the National Unity Government (NUG) of elected politicians who were overthrown by the military and coup opponents, as well as rights groups, are calling for more concrete action, as Myanmar is part of the group. The Army General of SAC was called in ASEAN specially called meeting in Jakarta last year and was called to end violence but it hasn't shown any difference on the ground.

What are Problems for India?

It is said that when Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi was released by military in 2010 she cooperated with military and defended them against their atrocities on Rohingya's, which is a Muslim ethnic minority group and is also a menace for India as they have illegally come across into India from the north eastern border which have become serious national security concern and is also a waste of Indian resources as India had to take care of the huge illegal population of some other country. Human rights of the citizens in the country could become a concern as they grow and crime rate rises as most of them are illiterate.

Rohingya's can also make up the majority in areas on Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur in future making the people over their, a minority group due to huge illegal inflow of Rohingya's from Myanmar as well as the Bangladesh.

Back then, thousands of Rohingya were killed and more than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh following an army crackdown in 2017. As per reports ther are 1,30,000 Rohingyas living in camps in their own country and many have been sent to Bhasan Char, an island in Hatiya Upazila, Bangladesh.

Now the recent coup has led large amount of people trying to cross border illegally to save themselves from local militias and the military. India have had peace in the northeastern states after long and this could disturb the process and also lead to new kind of crisis in the region which could destabilize the area and affect the lives of local population.

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