While we all support the return of democracy in Myanmar, condemn the military coup on the 1st of February and stand with those resisting the military action on the streets, let us not forget the threat to the Rohingya and other minority ethnic groups in the country. As the Myanmar military poses a particular existential threat to the Rohingya’s.
Having been active in the previous partially successful attempts to push them out of the country,
who is to say they will not try again with the remaining 700,000 Rohingya’s in Rakhine state. This
needs to be of paramount concern now for all those concerned for the future of Myanmar and its
many peoples. Indeed the man now in charge of Myanmar, General Min Aung Hlaing, is the very
commander who led the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya’s in 2017.
It was Burma’s first military coup in 1962, led by General Ne Win, that laid the foundation of the
religious and cultural persecution of minorities that have persisted for more than five decades.
Under Ne Win, the Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship and subject to human rights
abuses under the military’s “Operation Dragon King” in the late 1970’s aiming to expel them from
We also have the need for The National League of Democracy to tackle the ingrained Burman racism
behind many of the country’s many internal conflicts. So while naturally we are all supportive of the National league for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar after their election victory last November, it was an election that excluded many minority groups like Chins, Kachin and Rohingya. We trust they see fit to now include these minority groups who have all been under sustained military attacks in their various regions within Myanmar for many years like there are now on the streets of Rangoon and cities.
They need to craft a progressive agenda across ethnic lines, centred on inequality and the development as well as peace and justice. They will need to reshape society as well as restructure the state. Myanmars young people have inherited such terrible legacies. Hopefully they will reject them now as the future is in their hands.