For some people living in the Ampang district in eastern Kuala Lumpur, self-isolation is nothing new. The area is known for its concentration of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, nestled in the grimy apartments and neighbourhoods of this former tin mining centre, and they haven't been going out for a
For Myanmar, the onset of Covid-19 has sparked a renewed crackdown in Rakhine and Chin states. These developments may not capture widespread attention – particularly as relations with China become increasingly fraught – yet they cannot be ignored, and must be recognised as a serious
As Thailand shut down its border last month, a wave of migrant workers jostled shoulder-to-shoulder back through the Myawaddy crossing to Myanmar. Some 45,498 Myawaddy migrant workers have reportedly been placed in quarantine – a total of 50,731 people were in isolation as
The Indian Air Force last week evacuated 112 people stranded in Wuhan, one of several operations by India to the the Chinese city at the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. But while India is one of many countries to help its citizens in need, what was also striking about this particular mission&
Ethnic and religious nationalism has increasingly gripped Myanmar since intercommunal violence broke out between Burmese Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in 2012. Viral disinformation, including videos of alleged terrorist attacks and anti-Rohingya propaganda linked to military accounts, has spread on
Last month, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague announced a decision ordering that Myanmar’s Rohingya people be protected from further atrocities. Myanmar rejected the ruling on the very same day. Never mind that in September the United Nations–backed International Independent
One would think that, after 100 years, the International Court of Justice would know about administering international justice. To the extent that the “world court” does or doesn’t understand international justice really depends on your interpretation of the term. The ruling on Myanmar’s
If there were any doubts around China’s thinking about where to direct its money and influence in Southeast Asia, they were dispelled by the recent announcement that Xi Jinping would visit Myanmar on 17 and 18 January, the first state visit by a Chinese leader to its southern neighbour in 19 years
This week, the world was treated to an extraordinary sight. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner once hailed as “the bravest and most moral person in the world ... the immaculate heroine who allows us all to feel a little better about human nature”, sat in the International Court
Yesterday, Gambia commenced its arguments in the case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, relating to the application of the Genocide Convention and the Rohingya. After filing its application on 11 November, in which The Gambia initiated the case at the ICJ and also asked the
Since Malaysia’s remarkable election last year delivered a victory to the Pakatan Harapan coalition, Malaysia’s Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has been struggling to navigate a region increasingly defined by great power competition, whether in trade or the South China Sea. On a trip to
International law proceedings targeting the alleged genocide of members of the Rohingya group in Myanmar are gathering force. The Republic of The Gambia has submitted an application to institute proceedings against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, with the support of
The role of social media, particularly Facebook, in facilitating hate speech and spreading disinformation in countries such as Myanmar has undermined assertions by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that his platform promotes “well-being”. Nevertheless, the United Nations has argued that internet
More than 700,000 men, women, and children, many identifying as Rohingya, crossed the border from Myanmar’s Rakhine State into Bangladesh in 2017, fleeing violence at the hands of the military and security forces. A UN Fact-Finding Mission was established to determine the facts and circumstances
Myanmar’s former military regime often used new issues of the country’s postage stamps to send political signals, not only to its own people but also to the international community. It appears that this practice is also being followed by Aung San Suu Kyi’s quasi-democratic
It has been two years since the forced exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar, and for about a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, there is no sign of returning in the foreseeable future. The growing uncertainty of repatriation, diminishing international aid, and an aggrieved local host community have
A rare image on social media of Indonesian paratroopers dropping into the troubled West Papua province this month was a stark reminder that, even in the age of 24/7 news, governments are good at keeping the cameras, and the world’s attention, away from persecuted communities.
West Papua – the
In March this year, Myanmar’s Defence Ministry submitted a proposal to parliament to establish a national coastguard. Given strong support for the idea from the main political parties, the armed forces, and the public, it is expected that the necessary legislation will be passed without undue
In January 2018, the Arakan Army, the newest ethnic-based militia in Myanmar, released a video on YouTube and elsewhere of its cadres kitted out in camouflage, armed with modern weapons, and looking extremely disciplined.
“The Arakan Army are soldiers from the indigenous population of Arakan
Bangladesh is now facing a serous dilemma over the future of 1.2 million Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar. Its efforts to contain and isolate them from the mainstream community risk creating an alienated, extremist community. Australia has played an important role in helping to meet immediate
Human rights advocates had a rare chance to celebrate on Tuesday as two local Reuters journalists in Myanmar were released from prison. Their situation is viewed by the international community as a test case of the political reform process in the country.
For the international community, the
It has been more than two years since military “clearance operations” against Myanmar’s Rohingyas began in October 2016. Since then, the international community has relied on public criticism, unilateral sanctions and a range of measures in the United Nations and International Criminal Court
This week, diplomats from Australia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will gather in Malaysia for the 31st ASEAN-Australian Forum. Even with the Australian government so keenly focused on the upcoming federal election, the meeting is an opportunity to discuss ASEAN’s role in tackling
When Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) took office in 2016, a wave of euphoria swept over Myanmar, shared by many people in other parts of the world.
At the time, there was a rather naive belief that everything would suddenly be transformed. It was widely assumed, for
On my recent visit to Myanmar, I attended the commemoration ceremony of U Ko Ni, the former lawyer and legal advisor to the National League for Democracy. He was among the most vocal of advocates for constitutional change in Myanmar.
While some aspects of political and social life in Myanmar have
Last week the UN Security Council was briefed yet again on the situation in Myanmar.
This time the message was presented by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener. She talked, among other things, about the importance of accountability for Myanmar’
Talking to business owners across a variety of sectors in Yangon in January this year, the mood was universally glum.
Big-spending Western tourists were staying away in droves, concerned over human rights abuses. Bureaucratic red tape was clogging up business and investment, and the country
In 2000, China, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand concluded an agreement to begin clearing the Mekong River of obstacles so that cargo vessels could travel from southern Yunnan to the old royal capital of Laos, Luang Prabang. Neither Cambodia nor Vietnam, the other two riverine countries, were
Some have called Myanmar a struggling beauty. Without a doubt, the country is beautiful, home to a number of unique heritage sites. Yet it is also a country that claims it has been widely misunderstood.
The basis to sustaining democratisation of the country is dependent on appeasing the military
The National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB) was made up of exiled pro-democracy leaders who were elected to the national parliament in 1990 (which was subsequently annulled) in one of the military junta’s very brief flirtations with democracy. I worked with them – largely
It has been a bad year for press freedom across Southeast Asia. Myanmar has been no exception.
Media freedom fell to new lows this month as a self-proclaimed anti-Rohingya supporter, American Rick Heizman, was welcomed with open arms in Myanmar. Heizman, a little-known musician and
People go to the polls on Saturday in Myanmar, or at least some of them do.
On 3 November 2018, the Union Election Commission will coordinate by-elections across 13 electorates. Most are to fill seats from vacancies due to deaths of senior members of parliament.
There are two reasons these
In a park in downtown Yangon, a mix of passers-by and snack venders milled about, watching curiously as a pack of reporters jostled amongst themselves for a position.
The focus was fixed on several dozen people standing in rows, some holding black balloons, others holding signs. One sign read “
This is the final in a series of three articles on the Rohingya crisis, featuring Morten Pederson on the domestic drivers of conflict, and Nicholas Farrelly on the consequences for neighbouring Bangladesh.
There have been a small number of militant Muslim groups in
This is the second of a series of three articles on the Rohingya crisis, featuring Morten Pederson on the domestic drivers of conflict, and Andrew Selth on the potential danger from transnational terrorist networks.
Most of the Rohingya who were forced from their homes in
This is the first of a series of three articles on the Rohingya crisis, with subsequent articles by Nicholas Farrelly and Andrew Selth to discuss the situation in Bangladesh and the potential danger from transnational terrorist networks.
The Report of the Independent International Fact-
The arrest in Myanmar of two Reuters journalists, accused of possessing secret government papers, has put the spotlight on the freedom of the press and the country’s weak justice system. A court last week upheld the charges and the case will shortly go to trial.
The case looks set to only
For months, Myanmar has sought a deal with the United Nations, to validate its assertions that is prepared to facilitate the “safe, voluntary, and dignified return” of Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh. In an arrangement struck late Thursday night, two UN agencies agreed to work with Aung
Last month, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Swiss diplomat Christine Schraner Burgener as his Special Envoy on Myanmar, marking the start of a new chapter in long-standing efforts by the UN to mediate Myanmar’s internal conflicts and promote human
After two years in the job, Myanmar’s President U Htin Kyaw resigned last Wednesday. The 71-year-old has been in poor health for some time. A close confidante of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, U Htin Kyaw was a steady and stable hand. His resignation highlights the growing problem of ageing leadership
Jubaida is one of a million refugees in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. When she thinks back six months, her memories of playing marbles with friends rest oddly alongside episodes of torture, death, and images of the burning home her family fled.
She is 11. Jubaida, her parents, sister, and three
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Myanmar recently in a clear display of Moscow’s pragmatism.
Many Western observers, especially from the US, present Vladimir Putin as either a Machiavellian mixer with almost superhuman abilities – he who put Donald Trump in the White House and
It is one year since U Ko Ni, a prominent lawyer and advocate for constitutional reform, was assassinated in Myanmar. This was one of many incidents in 2017 that indicated a sharp decline in freedoms not only in Myanmar but also across South East Asia. U Ko Ni’s death is an example of how efforts
In July, shortly before an escalation of clashes in Rakhine state intensified the exodus of Rohingya people from Myanmar, Elliot Brennan wrote of Myanmar:
Naypyidaw has failed to enable moderates in Rakhine state and an emergent yet hitherto weak Muslim insurgency has emerged. The situation must
Myanmar and Bangladesh recently announced an agreement for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh to return to Myanmar. After Pope Francis visited both countries last week, international attention has again focused on chances of a breakthrough to this crisis – envisioning
Imposing sanctions always creates challenges. Sanctions provide targeted states with an excuse to shift blame onto outside forces. They tend to concentrate wealth into the hands of the most politically connected. They are rarely powerful enough to shift behaviour, especially when the behaviour being
Myanmar links South and Southeast Asia and lies on maritime shipping routes from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. A key pillar of its national development agenda is establishing an efficient and integrated transport system to become Asia's newest maritime hub.
Recent political and economic reforms
Over the last month, almost half a million Rohingyas have fled from Rakhine State in Myanmar to Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. That represents approximately half of the entire Rohingya population in Myanmar. There are now 600,000 to 800,000 Rohingya refugees (officially designated as Undocumented
Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party took power in Myanmar promising change, but are yet to deliver. The problems faced by the incoming administration were considerable, and now the Rohingya crisis has prompted some calls for this fallen idol to hand back her Nobel Peace