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Abstract and Keywords

Myanmar has been linked to alleged past and potential future mass atrocities by international non-governmental organizations and, at times, the UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights. To date there has been no international commission of inquiry, let alone any referral to the International Criminal Court. Looking beyond controversial efforts to justify the forcible delivery of assistance following Naypyidaw’s problematic response to Cyclone Nargis, this chapter contextualizes and describes the extent of alleged R2P atrocities in Myanmar, outlines how the Myanmar government as well as the United Nations and regional organizations such as ASEAN and other key actors in the international community have implemented R2P either directly or indirectly, and offers a provisional explanation as regards the limited nature of the international community’s response to concerns that Naypyidaw has at least at times failed to exercise its R2P in the contexts of internal armed conflict and communal violence.

Keywords: responsibility to protect, Myanmar, United Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, armed conflict, communal violence

The academic literature on the responsibility to protect (R2P) and Myanmar1 has to date focused largely on France’s unsuccessful invocation of the norm in order to justify coercive international intervention, following what policy-makers in Paris (and elsewhere) judged to be a wholly inadequate response by Myanmar’s authorities to the humanitarian crisis in the wake of Cyclone Nargis in May 2008 that caused well over 130,000 deaths and affected the livelihoods of many more.2 In the event, this appeal was rejected by members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and also considered misplaced by UN officials.3 The reason was that although R2P applies to Myanmar as it does to any other state at all times, its agreed scope was seen as circumscribed by the 2005 World Summit Outcome consensus. The consensus regarding R2P sees the principle as concerned with only four acts: genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The episode of Cyclone Nargis aside, how has the responsibility to protect been implemented by and vis-à-vis Myanmar? This question is very relevant given allegations that civilians and entire populations within Myanmar have been subjected to mass atrocities. Such claims have pertained to the era of military rule under the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), and its immediate successor, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), as well as the more recent period of nominally civilian government. They have mostly arisen in two contexts: first, the armed conflict prosecuted by Myanmar’s armed forces (tatmadaw) against multiple ethnic nationalities in the country’s borderlands, and, second, the complex, volatile, sometimes explosive situation in Rakhine State, a situation characterized by some as a ‘slow-burning genocide’.4

The purpose of this chapter is threefold: first, to contextualize and describe the extent of alleged R2P atrocities apparently committed in Myanmar, not least from the mid-2000s; second, to outline how the government and international actors have implemented the responsibility to protect; and, third, to offer a provisional explanation as to why implementing the principle of the R2P in the case of Myanmar has not resulted in coercive measures by the international community.

(p. 802) From Systematic Violence to Mass Atrocities in Burma/Myanmar?

That Myanmar could have experienced possible R2P-related crimes will not surprise. Mass atrocities are most likely to transpire in the context of armed intra-state conflict, the occurrence of which is mostly linked to ethnic insurgency, serious economic stagnation or decline, or the perceived violation of justice claims regarding economic and political arrangements. Also, the likelihood of R2P-related crimes is said to be highest in non-democratic states, or in states undergoing a transition to democracy where high levels of factionalism yield political instability. These criteria all apply in Myanmar’s case. The country has been caught up in insurgency and armed ethnic conflict since the dawn of independence. Also, flawed economic policies instituted by the military government following the 1962 coup led Burma down the path towards becoming a least developed economy by the 1980s. Since 2011, Myanmar has undergone a political transition from military dictatorship to a hybrid regime in which the military retains institutional autonomy and a key role in national politics. This section briefly surveys the country’s long-standing problems of insurgency and armed ethnic conflict, as well as the significant communal tension that has long existed between Buddhists and Muslims. Both have provided a potential platform for mass atrocities.

Insurgency and Armed Conflict

The context in which debates about apparent R2P atrocities are taking place has evolved over decades. Since the late 1940s, Burma/Myanmar’s political history has been clearly linked to the military’s focus on advancing state-building, maintaining national unity, and preserving both the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. But so it is to many insurgencies, not least those by armed ethnic organisations eager to attain political autonomy and federal arrangements that to some extent aim to resurrect the mythical spirit of the 1947 Panglong Agreement.5 If the 1962 coup by General Ne Win succeeded in averting a perceived possible break-up of the Union of Burma, it clearly failed to end armed conflict. Indeed, the 1960s saw a confusing array of ethnic forces aligned against both the military government and each other. Some insurgencies fed off external support. The Communist Party of Burma (CPB), for instance, received support from Beijing for approximately two decades, allowing it to pose a formidable military challenge in Burma’s northeast that was underpinned by ethnic armies recruited in the country’s border region with the PRC. However, the state remained at war with armed ethnic groups across several parts of the country. The loss of life was significant. From independence to the late 1980s, Martin Smith has estimated a figure of 10,000 deaths per year to be a ‘probably fairly accurate’ figure.6

(p. 803) In the attempt to militarily prevail against the many insurgent groups—Communist and ethno-nationalists—the tatmadaw adopted from the 1960s onwards a new military strategy. Drawing presumably on UK and US methods in counterinsurgency operations, the tatmadaw met the challenge of military insurrection by resorting to the so-called ‘Four Cuts’. This counterinsurgency strategy focused on cutting the main links between insurgents, their families and local populations (in terms of food supplies, funds, intelligence, and recruits) and in practice involved population relocation in line with the logic of US strategic hamlets, as well as a scorched earth policy. Apparently introduced initially in Pegu (Bago) and the Arakan (Rakhine) Yomas, the ‘Four Cuts’ strategy was applied to more outlying parts of the country from the mid-1970s. By the 1980s, very brutal campaigns were led against the Karen and Mon and these were continued into the post-1988 era of renewed military rule.

SLORC/SPDC Rule, Armed Conflict, and Violations

When the CPB collapsed at the end of the Cold War Burma’s incoming military regime –the SLORC—grasped the opportunity to conclude a substantial number of ceasefires, initially with the CPB’s constituent forces. The political price paid for these arrangements became obvious only later, as the so-called special regions on the border with China were able to evolve with a high degree of de facto autonomy, most notably the territory held by the United Wa State Army.7

Meanwhile, armed conflict along the eastern periphery of the country continued mostly unabated. In the event, replenished weapons stocks, purchased from China, and divide and rule tactics allowed the military government to increasingly subdue non-ceasefire groups on the border with Thailand. In January 1992, for instance, the tatmadaw set out to capture Mannerplaw (then the headquarters for Karen National Union (KNU), National Democratic Front (NDF), and Democratic Alliance of Burma (DAB)) leading to ‘the greatest set-piece battle ever witnessed along the Burma–Thailand frontier’.8 The Karen headquarters eventually fell in 1995 on the back of a split between the KNU and the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA), which became a perceived government proxy. In Shan State, the notorious Mong Tai Army of Khun Sa was forced to surrender in early 1996. Various other groups or breakaway groups returned to the ‘legal fold’. Every success in this regard brought the tatmadaw closer to achieving the fifth of the ‘unified eras’ in Myanmar’s political history to date.9 But in human rights terms the relentless campaigns against ethnic groups induced significant suffering for local populations. For instance, the intense fighting prompted the outflow of many tens of thousands of Karen, Karenni, and Shan refugees into Thailand.

The further strengthening of Western sanctions following the attack on Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s vehicle convoy near Depayin in May 2003, followed by the subsequent political demise of Premier General Khin Nyunt, who had advocated opening up somewhat to the West, left in power by 2004 an uncompromising military leadership under Senior General Than Shwe that was prepared to further intensify military campaigns against non-ceasefire groups. Military operations in the country’s eastern regions in the mid-2000s produced a significant number of new internally (p. 804) displaced persons (IDPs),10 precisely at a time when the protection of civilian populations received increasing attention and UN Member States moved towards a consensus on R2P. The Thai Burma Border Consortium, for instance, suggested that in 2005 about 200,000 of 540,000 IDPs were either hiding in so-called free-fire areas, or were based in relocation sites.11 Most of those apparently caught up in free-fire areas lived in Karen State. By the end of the decade, the Consortium maintained that more than 3,500 villages had been relocated since 1996, making for a scale of displacement deemed comparable to Darfur.

Under President Thein Sein

Under the new nominally civilian administration armed conflict has continued even though new ceasefires were agreed and old ones reconfirmed. In June 2011, the 17-year-old ceasefire accord between the military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) collapsed. Since then, the tatmadaw has not only fought the KIA, but also smaller ethnic armies, such as the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) or the Arakan Army. In prosecuting its military operations in Kachin State, the tatmadaw has even drawn on the unprecedented use of heavy artillery and airpower, as illustrated by the Laiza campaign at the end of 2012. The civilian population has also been affected. By some estimates, 60,000 people, mostly Kachin, were internally displaced by 2012, with perhaps 35,000 who were difficult to access in territory controlled by the KIA. By 2014, these estimates were revised to approximately 100,000 IDPs in Kachin and northern Shan State.

International Assessments

The tatmadaw’s military operations have for many years been seen to involve systematic violations of human rights. Issues such as arbitrary arrest, torture, or forced labour already focused the work on Myanmar by human rights organizations in the 1980s, and these and many other apparent human rights violations to some extent continue to preoccupy the United Nations. However, in the 1990s even critical accounts of the tatmadaw’s military operations did not generally charge Myanmar’s junta with mass atrocities. This changed in the 2000s, as the focus of international concern shifted towards the tatmadaw’s military offensives then waged in Kayin (Karen) State and Bago Division, seen as primarily targeting civilians and involving sexual violence, shelling by army artillery, forced portering through battle zones, and forced recruitment of locals as human de-miners (‘atrocity de-mining’). Burma’s self-proclaimed exile government in 2003 sought to involve the UNSC to address this situation, in the process invoking the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) report on the responsibility to protect.12 Human Rights Watch argued that forced relocations by the tatmadaw ‘clearly’ amounted ‘to a campaign of ethnic cleansing’.13 And by October 2005, the organization not only called on the UNSC to place (p. 805) the situation in Myanmar on its agenda, but also demanded a UN Commission of Inquiry to examine possible war crimes and crimes against humanity.14 Unusually, in 2007 the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also issued an attack on the Myanmar government for widespread violations of International Humanitarian Law, including the destruction of food supplies and means of production of civilian populations in armed conflict areas. A year later, Amnesty International (AI) held that military operations to relocate ethnic Karen civilians constituted crimes against humanity because violations of human rights and humanitarian law were ‘preceded or accompanied by consistent threats and warnings by the tatmadaw that they would take place’.15 Other critics charged that the destruction of villages far surpassed the requirements of normal counterinsurgency campaigns.16

The UN’s Special Rapporteurs became equally concerned about the reported systematic and widespread nature of abuses. Although prevented from visiting Myanmar between November 2003 and November 2007, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro referred to ‘the killing, terrorizing or displacement of civilians’ as part of a ‘deliberate strategy’ of the tatmadaw.17 For him, the commission of crimes against humanity included the large-scale displacement of the civilian population and the military’s use of torture, rape, and arbitrary detention. Given the context of armed conflict, the atrocities in his view constituted both crimes against humanity and war crimes. His recommendations then included that the General Assembly should consider calling on the UNSC to respond to the situation of armed conflict. Upon leaving his position, Pinheiro himself called on the UNSC to form a commission of inquiry to hold to account those responsible for crimes against ethnic minorities and to rupture the culture of impunity to deter future mass atrocities.18

Tomás Ojea Quintana, who succeeded Pinheiro in May 2008, also posited that certain human rights violations in Myanmar might entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes under the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Calling also for a commission of inquiry, he suggested that one of the purposes of such a body could be to analyse abuses in a specific geographic area and time period, such as seemingly occurred during the major military offensives in eastern Myanmar from 2005 to 2008.

Post-March 2011 military operations conducted in Kachin State by the tatmadaw have also led to reports of various human rights abuses, such as sexual offences, arbitrary detention, torture, extra-judicial executions, forced displacement, and the destruction of property. Some have strongly argued that the torture of Kachin civilians has amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity.19 The tatmadaw’s escalation of fighting at the close of 2012 accentuated concerns about impending mass atrocities among international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), as illustrated by Genocide Watch issuing an (updated) Genocide Emergency Alert for Kachin State.20 However, the UN Special Rapporteur did not explicitly frame actions undertaken by Myanmar’s military against ethnic groups in terms of mass atrocities. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary-General pointed also to Myanmar for various conflict parties ignoring their obligation to protect civilians in armed conflict.

(p. 806) Communal Tension

The geographical scope of instability and conflict in Burma/Myanmar from independence also extended to the western border. In Arakan (now Rakhine State) the situation was particularly volatile politically, with an incendiary potential of serious inter-communal violence between Muslim and Buddhist communities. Without trying to do justice to the full complexity of the conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in modern-day Rakhine, it is useful to note that these communities generally have quite different views in relation to what in part seems to be a shared history. Negative if not xenophobic attitudes towards one another have long existed, as even decades ago the two communities derogatorily referred to each other as Buddhist-Magh (bandit) or Muslim-Kala (foreigner).21

By the early 1940s, the separate identities of Buddhist and Muslim communities were reinforced by growing inter-communal struggles, especially over land, which then exploded as the British withdrew from advancing Japanese forces, not least in the form of a massacre of local Muslims. In the context of Pakistan (1947) and Burma (1948) winning independence, militant, nationalist Muslims in northern Arakan sought secession and even independence. Eventually, a Mayu Frontier District was established and put under direct control of central government, but this was folded up under General Ne Win. With the military takeover in 1962, the Muslim population in Rakhine experienced growing discrimination as the state’s concerns about unfettered illegal immigration increased, especially after the formation of Bangladesh. As state security measures followed, Muslims in northern Rakhine in particular experienced in the view of some ‘the complete absence of security’.22

In 1978, Operation ‘Naga Min’ or Dragon King aimed to classify all residents, prompting about 200,000 Muslim villagers to cross the border into Bangladesh. The then ruling Burma Socialist Programme Party government also passed a new citizenship law in 1982. According to this legislation full citizenship is available only to members of the main nationalities and ethnic groups that settled in any of the territories within the state as their permanent home before 1823 (i.e. before the First Anglo-Burmese War). It stands in contrast with the 1948 citizenship law, which provided two routes to citizenship, namely membership of one of the indigenous races, and naturalization. Notwithstanding the controversy over how the state related to them in the more immediate post-independence era, the Rohingya, at least from the contemporary state perspective, have not been recognized as one of the country’s 135 indigenous ethnic groups or races. Notably, the passing of the 1982 Act, which is perceived by critics as an act of political exclusion, was in part justified as an attempt to deal with problems in implementing the previous 1948 citizenship law, not least because many persons who settled in the territory of the Union of Burma and who had been eligible to apply for citizenship apparently failed to do so. Two other forms of citizenship–associate and naturalized–were thus also specified in the 1982 Act. However, unable to prove their status, many Muslims in Rakhine State are in effect stateless. Not surprisingly, the self-identifying Rohingya are seeking recognition as an (p. 807) indigenous national race and as citizens but they have thus far not succeeded, not least because of the significant opposition from among the Buddhist Bamar and Rakhine communities and an overwhelming number intent on denying both.

Buddhist–Muslim tensions have not played out solely in Rakhine State. For instance, the destruction of the famous statues in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in March 2001, triggered anti-Muslim violence by Buddhists between May and October 2001—initially in Taungoo, then also in Prome, Pegu/Bago as well as in Rakhine State. But tensions in Rakhine State have been particularly severe for years and finally exploded in June 2012, several months into the reforms initiated by President Thein Sein. A case of sexual violence and murder committed by Muslim men triggered mob attacks against Muslim communities and brutal retaliation by Rakhine Buddhists. According to initial official releases 77 died (46 ‘Bengali’, 31 Rakhine) and nearly 5,000 buildings (1,150 Rakhine; 3,672 ‘Bengali’, including 17 mosques and 14 monasteries) were destroyed, with most casualties and violence occurring in Sittwe, Maungdaw, and Rathedaung.23 A state of emergency imposed by Naypyidaw helped restore a semblance of social order, but a second wave of violence then quickly spread in October 2012 that led to a similar level of violence, not least in terms of the number of dead and the extent of the destruction of property.24 Approximately 140,000 people ostensibly still live in camps, separated and segregated. Meanwhile Myanmar has also experienced the rise of violent Buddhism nationalism or chauvinism more generally, as witnessed in places such as Meikhtila, Lashio, and Mandalay. This violence has occurred in the context of widely shared perceptions among Burmans that Buddhism is under threat by Muslims and that the Buddhist community needs defending.25

There are some organizations and individuals who believe that mass atrocity crimes have already occurred in Rakhine State, while others would not necessarily discount the possibility of such crimes in the future. The Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO), which integrates several Rohingya groups, has unsurprisingly articulated a dim view of the situation in Rakhine State, switching between ‘ethnocide’ and ‘genocidal onslaught’ as well as ethnic cleansing to describe the violence and policy moves, perceived to amount to collusion, by Buddhist Rakhine and the Thein Sein government. Even some Burmans argue that abuses against the self-identifying Rohingya come with the intention to destroy this group and thus constitute genocide, not just ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.26 Most INGOs do not necessarily conclude that genocide has already taken place, but warn that it might happen.27 Some claim that the ‘Rohingya’ have been subjected to crimes against humanity. For Human Rights Watch, for instance, Myanmar’s security forces failed to stop the violence against Rakhine Muslims or were even implicated in its perpetration. In 2014, Tomás Ojea Quintana similarly held that ‘recent developments in Rakhine State are the latest in a long history of discrimination and persecution against the Rohingya community which could amount to crimes against humanity’.28

Despite these allegations, Myanmar’s former or current political-military leaders have not faced significant scrutiny or pressure from international organizations and the major powers. No independent international commission of inquiry (COI) has been established to investigate. Interestingly, even the Obama administration, which had (p. 808) indicated its support and, as laid out by Secretary Clinton, articulated its public endorsement for a COI days in advance of Myanmar’s 2010 elections, ultimately quietly dropped its stance. Not surprisingly therefore, the UNSC also never came close to referring the situation in Myanmar to the ICC. Indeed, notwithstanding significant concerns in relation to the issue, the international community has yet to conclude that Myanmar at any point has manifestly failed in exercising its R2P. To be sure, the General Assembly has adopted resolutions, which have included a call to protect civilians and to put an end to the military operations targeting civilians in the ethnic areas.29 Also, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in the 2000s strengthened its message of concern, but ultimately it only called on Naypyidaw to undertake a full, transparent, effective, impartial, and independent national investigation into all reports of human rights violations and to bring to justice those responsible in order to end impunity. As such, the HRC did not follow Quintana’s explicit call for an international independent COI. Nor for that matter did the UN Secretary-General. The question thus remains: how have Myanmar and the international community exercised their respective R2P?

Myanmar: Not Quite Meeting its Responsibility to Protect?

Myanmar’s UN ambassador may in 2009 have agreed that implementing R2P should entail a focus on prevention, but it is not clear the SPDC leadership actually considered how in practice Naypyidaw would attempt to avert atrocity crimes. Its overriding preoccupation between 2009 and early 2011 was to complete the roadmap to a ‘discipline-flourishing democracy’, especially the organization of the November 2010 elections, and thus to cement the military’s future continued leadership role in national politics.

By comparison, the nominally civilian government of President Thein Sein (16 March 2011) opted for policies that in principle have potential to strengthen resilience against mass atrocities. First, it concentrated on a nationwide ceasefire.30 This remains elusive at the time of writing, but some important developments and successes in the pursuit of this goal are notable. For instance, Myanmar’s longest-running insurgency was halted when Naypyidaw and the KNU concluded a ceasefire in early 2012. The government also reached a truce with other former non-ceasefire groups, such as the Shan State Army-South. Moreover, with representatives from the executive, parliament, and the tatmadaw, the government’s Union Peacemaking Work Committee (UPWC) entered into substantial but also quite drawn-out collective peace talks with the Nationwide Ceasefire Coordination Team (NCCT), a body comprising 16 armed ethnic organizations. Various target deadlines for a nationwide ceasefire passed due to important differences between the two sides. However, in February 2015 a deed of commitment for peace and national reconciliation was signed with some armed ethnic groups (e.g. KNU) in a demonstration that despite the difficulties in moving forward, Naypyidaw would promote a union (p. 809) based on democratic and federal principles. At the end of March 2015, the UPWC and NCCT finally agreed tentatively on a single text of a national ceasefire accord. The agreement was achieved against the backdrop of continued armed conflict in Kachin and Shan States, as well as efforts by Myanmar’s armed forces to put down an attack by Kokang’s Myanmar National Defence Alliance Army (MNDAA) that had been staged in February 2015. In mid-October 2015, in what constituted only a partial success, the government and eight armed groups finally signed a ‘nationwide’ ceasefire accord.

Second, the Thein Sein government also sought to address Myanmar’s poor human rights record. In the context of moving towards the 2010 elections and constitutional government, Myanmar had participated in the UN universal periodic review and then agreed with some of the 190 recommendations received from various members, while also promising to study others concerning, for instance, the ratification of core human rights conventions. While Naypyidaw is yet to accede to major international human rights instruments (such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)), the government has for instance signed the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict. It has also addressed international concerns regarding, for example, forced labour. Already in September 2011, the government created a 15-member Myanmar national human rights commission. To qualify, while the OHCHR does have a presence in Myanmar, there has been no follow-through on Naypyidaw’s 2012 invitation to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish a field office in Myanmar owing to differences about its mandate. Also, Myanmar’s leadership has argued that the country has reached the ‘middle tier of the human rights ladder’, and should no longer remain on the agendas of the HRC and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.31

Third, in response to international concerns about sectarian violence in Myanmar, not least the perceived impunity for violations and crimes, the President personally formulated in London in 2013 a ‘zero tolerance approach’ against those fuelling ethnic hatred.32 To give effect to this commitment, state authorities apparently detained numerous individuals in connection with inter-communal violence since 2012, including Buddhists from various communities. Following what happened in Meikhtila in March 2013, the President suggested he would not hesitate to use force against ‘political opportunists and religious extremists’ in order to protect lives and properties. The government certainly did not hesitate to use constitutional provisions concerning the declaration of a state of emergency (e.g. Meikhtila, Lashio) to restore order.

Specifically as regards Rakhine State, in the wake of the deadly clashes in 2012 the Myanmar government offered access to affected areas to a host of international actors, including UN agencies, foreign diplomats and policy-makers, and INGOs. Thein Sein wrote to the UN Secretary-General, laying out his thoughts on possible measures to avoid future violence. Also, the government responded to the violence by establishing the Rakhine Investigation Commission. This commission did not include representation from the Rohingya but conducted extensive fact-finding on the ground and offered several recommendations relating to shelters, resettlement, livelihoods of (p. 810) IDP populations, population growth, citizenship, the economy, as well as security and administration.33 The recommendations filtered into the work of the Central Committee for the Implementation of Stability and Development in Rakhine State. Subcommittees were formed to work on the rule of law, security and law enforcement, immigration and a review of citizenship, temporary resettlement and reconstruction, international cooperation, social and economic development, and strategic planning.

With the President keen to both create a ‘harmonious society’ and to achieve economic development, the government then adopted a multidimensional approach. In some instances, it went beyond the recommendations made by the Rakhine Investigation Commission. For instance, the notorious Border Area Immigration Control forces, known as NaKaSa, which had been blamed for numerous human rights violations and for failing to provide impartial protection during the 2012 violence, was disbanded in July 2013.

To address the political and communal tensions in Rakhine State, the government has moreover worked on numerous drafts of a Rakhine State Action Plan. In this context, the government in July 2014 initiated a pilot citizenship verification process in Myebon township. Given that the Rohingya are not considered as one of the 135 ‘national races’ and in many cases remain de facto stateless, the issue of citizenship continues to receive particular attention not only among the self-identifying Rohingya but also internationally. According to Thein Sein descendants of ‘Bengalis’ who entered Burma before 1948 would qualify for citizenship, but not those who arrived after independence. In the event, about 20 per cent of those gaining citizenship (209) in the trial process were awarded full citizenship, including persons self-identifying as Rohingya. For the remainder, it led to naturalized citizenship.34 The trial verification process was, however, subsequently suspended because of local and international opposition, but the government seemed clear that it could no longer leave those concerned in a quasi-permanent limbo as regards their status. Moreover, the government outlined multiple socio-economic development measures to generate long-term stability including through the establishment of a new industrial zone in Rakhine State. This shows how the post-junta hybrid government saw social stability and improved communal relations as dependent on a wide-ranging developmental strategy.

While the Thein Sein government thus took several steps that could be seen to demonstrate a willingness to address Myanmar’s hitherto poor record on implementing R2P, its record is actually quite ambiguous, particularly as regards the ‘Rohingya’. Indeed, Myanmar’s government is still not any closer to recognizing the Muslim population that self-identifies as Rohingya as an indigenous ethnic minority within Myanmar. Indeed, as the government has put it: ‘[W]‌e do not accept the term “Rohingya” which has never existed in the country’s history … The term has been maliciously used by a group of people with wider political agenda. The people of Myanmar will never recognize the term.’35

This perspective is essentially one shared with wider segments of the population and the Buddhist Rakhine, many of whom maintain that the Rohingya are really descendants of what the British classified as ‘Chittagonians’. Domestic pressure ensured that Naypyidaw refused at the eleventh hour to entertain Rohingya self-identification in (p. 811) the 2014 internationally funded census. In November 2014, the Union Parliament (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw) even adopted a motion admonishing the UN Secretary-General for using the word Rohingya.36 Rakhine State Chief Minister Maung Maung Ohn also turned to Ban Ki-moon arguing that the UN’s continued use of the term ‘Rohingya’ was alienating the Rakhine population. The draft Rakhine State Action Plan obliged the self-identifying Rohingya to register for the citizenship verification process as ‘Bengali’, just as for the earlier census. Those objecting were apparently to be considered illegal immigrants. Moreover, the President first called for so-called white card holders (individuals whose citizenship is yet to be determined) to be able to vote in the 2015 referendum on constitutional amendments seemingly to meet foreign criticism that affected individuals would otherwise be disenfranchised, but a storm of nationalist protests quickly led the government to declare the early expiration of temporary registration cards by the end of March 2015.

Second, in the immediate aftermath of the June 2012 riots, President Thein Sein had suggested the illegal Rohingya should either be placed in UNHCR refugee camps or resettled abroad. This view aligned with that of chairman of the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP), Dr Aye Maung, who has favoured their relocation. Although ostensibly designed to prevent renewed bloodshed and to maintain stability, segregation measures since implemented by the authorities have created anxiety and anger and are understood by critics as a possible precursor to deportation.

Third, the government has reacted to international concern about communal violence and especially the ‘Rohingya’ with a mixture of frustration and a degree of venom. For instance, responding to suggestions of state involvement as concerns the riots in Rakhine State, the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission delegation pointedly concluded in July 2012 that the government was not responsible for abuses. Also, Myanmar’s government rejected Ojea Quintana’s intervention in relation to Du Chee Yar Tan in January 2014, and spurned the idea that the UN HCR should want to establish an investigation even before the President had launched one himself.37 Indeed, it accused the former Special Rapporteur of having ‘blatantly interfered’. While the government initially commended the current Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, for also taking into account the concerns of the Rakhine community, it has since also complained about her approach. While the Thein Sein government may well have had a point in some respects, its brusqueness and trenchant criticism raise questions about the extent to which it was serious about implementing its R2P.

Fourth, in late 2014 Thein Sein submitted to parliament a controversial set of draft laws on interfaith marriages, religious conversion, population control, and polygamy that had been supported by the influential monk-led organization which by the Burmese acronym is called ‘Ma Ba Tha’ (Association for the Protection of Race and Religion).38 The Religious Conversion bill was designed to make it mandatory for those aspiring to convert to appear before a township registration board and obliges those interested in conversion to study other religions in some depth (as regards, for instance, divorce, property division customs, and inheritance). Critics have argued that the law discriminates against non-Buddhists, especially Muslims. Others even fear that it could stoke (p. 812) violence against Muslims and Christians. The UN Special Rapporteur has suggested that the Religious Conversion Law is inconsistent with the freedom of religion and discriminates against non-Buddhists. Her public remarks predictably infuriated the outspoken Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu and highlighted the extent to which Myanmar’s communal tensions continue.

International Assistance

The UN Secretary-General has exercised from 1994 a mandate from the General Assembly to offer Myanmar his good offices to promote national reconciliation, a return to democracy, as well as human rights.39 With the importance placed on R2P by the Secretary-General, as well as the sustained political pressure from Naypyidaw’s many critics among global civil society and certain UN Member States, he and his advisers/envoys have sought to encourage meaningful political change and to defuse conflict situations in Myanmar. As far as the latter is concerned, the UN’s attention has focused in particular on developments in Kachin and Rakhine States. However, communal violence has stood in the foreground. As the UN Secretary-General put it, ‘If there is one issue that could undermine the momentum of the historic transformation under way in Myanmar, it is the danger posed by the aggravation of the communal situation.’40 While encouraging regional organizations such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to engage Naypyidaw more strongly on this issue, in part by proposing that, as in the case of ASEAN, they strengthen their monitoring and protection mandate, the Secretary-General and his team have played a significant role incorporating fact-finding, analysis, and advice.

In particular, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General for Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, has in recent years regularly travelled to the country for dialogue with a range of top policy-makers, government ministers, and also regional leaders to promote democratization, human rights, development in general, and to focus both on Myanmar’s armed conflict, as with the non-ceasefire KIA, and communal violence situations in places such as Meikhtila and Rakhine State. In relation to Kachin State, for instance, Nambiar participated as an observer of the ‘peace talks’ between the KIO and the government, playing a role that in the judgement of the Secretary-General ‘helped to build a better equation of trust and mutual workability between the parties’.41 Nambiar’s apparent preference for a low-key role also allowed him to conduct fact-finding missions in areas that the government considered off-limits for Tomás Ojea Quitana, as illustrated by his access to Laiza.

As regards the situation in Rakhine State, Nambiar’s message to Myanmar’s government has naturally built on the hope articulated by Ban Ki-moon as regards possible steps to finally regularize the situation of the presumed 1.3 million Muslims apparently living there by addressing longer-term problems, such as citizenship, identity, and work permits. Indeed, the UN Secretariat was seemingly unhappy with the ‘tardy (p. 813) implementation of practical measures’ of the 2013 report submitted by the Rakhine Investigation Commission. Yet Nambiar has also shown a level of understanding for Myanmar’s position that is absent in the analysis and recommendations of some UN colleagues. For instance, Nambiar has focused on the importance of better border management, ostensibly to limit any illegal immigration. Also, contrary to many, Nambiar has not aligned with key demands of the Rohingya cause. As he put it: ‘there are some people inside the Muslim community in Rakhine who say no, we have to be recognized as Rohingya, we have to be made into an ethnic group like the other 135. That, I think, is perhaps a bridge too far.’42 In other words, while transmitting international concerns to Naypyidaw and the Rakhine State government, Nambiar has not simply dismissed but offered understanding for certain government positions. More recently, Nambiar observed the government’s trial citizenship verification process at Myebon.

Nambiar has also played a key role in updating the Security Council on Myanmar. That Myanmar became a formal agenda item on the Council in 2006 was the result of some members’ concerns that Myanmar’s domestic problems negatively impacted on regional security. Although in January 2007 the one and only draft resolution on Myanmar was vetoed, consultations in Myanmar continued. Mostly, however, the Council limits itself to engaging in informal consultations that have generally been linked to briefings by Nambiar following visits undertaken to Myanmar. Such briefings were for instance organized in November 2011, June 2012, April 2013, and April 2014.

Although behind-the-scenes quiet diplomacy has proved crucial, public messages have nevertheless also become important aspects of UN efforts to highlight concerns and exhort the Myanmar authorities to embark on additional measures. To illustrate: following the violence perpetrated in Meikhtila in 2013, the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, publicly called upon Naypyidaw to implement measures that would both address the consequences of violence as well as its root causes. Designed to encourage Myanmar to develop a comprehensive national strategy that promotes a culture of respect for diversity and peaceful coexistence, the public nature of the statement no doubt was calculated to reduce the risk of further atrocity crimes.

The role of other international and regional organizations has varied. For the OIC the suffering of the Rohingya has been on the agenda for several years. In 2011, the OIC thus tried to bring under one organizational roof—the Arakan Rohingya Union—the various Rohingya organizations on the basis of the principles of an indivisible Arakan (Rakhine) State and Myanmar’s territorial integrity as well as peaceful coexistence, democracy, human rights, and federalism. Assistance with building up Myanmar’s capacity to implement R2P was not initially on the agenda. However, the recent work of the OIC’s Special Envoy on Myanmar, former Malaysian foreign minister Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, who was appointed in May 2014, at least indirectly focuses on strengthening Myanmar’s commitment to and practice of R2P.

By comparison, ASEAN established a reasonable track record during the latter years of the SPDC period as regards confronting Myanmar’s military leaders on releasing Aung San Suu Kyi from detention and promoting democratization. However, while formally committed to the shaping and sharing of norms as part of establishing a (p. 814) political-security community, ASEAN has to date not offered a platform for systematic discussion with Myanmar of how the R2P principle should be applied regionally or for reminding member states to meet their related responsibilities, and ASEAN has therefore not played a meaningful role in fostering a national architecture for mass atrocities prevention. This also applies to Myanmar’s case notwithstanding the fact that the situation of Muslims in Rakhine State has long been an issue of concern for certain ASEAN member states, not least Malaysia and Indonesia. Such concerns were not necessarily dealt with by ASEAN though. For instance, in 2009 it was decided that the issue of ‘illegal migrants in the Indian Ocean’ (i.e. Rohingya leaving Rakhine State by boat for other parts of Southeast Asia) was best addressed among others at the level of the Bali Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime rather than ASEAN. That said, encouragement to promote harmonious relations among different communities in Myanmar has been offered. Also, once widespread violence occurred, foreign ministers tasked the ASEAN Secretary-General to monitor the situation in Rakhine State.43

Timely and Decisive Action

As regards time-sensitive responses to the 2012 violence by other international and regional organizations, comparing the OIC and ASEAN (with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam being members of both) is instructive, not least with respect to the political dynamics. The then OIC Secretary-General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, immediately condemned the violence and criticized what was taken to be Myanmar’s discrimination and persecution of the Rohingya. In an emergency meeting in August, he put forward ideas concerning a fact-finding mission as well as the establishment of an Islamic ministerial contact group to engage the Myanmar government and others.

A high-level OIC delegation undertook a ten-day visit to Myanmar in September, to explore long-term engagement with Myanmar to facilitate rehabilitation and inter-communal reconciliation and to convey basic expectations of OIC member states on how the government should treat the Rohingya. It even signed a memorandum of understanding to implement a humanitarian programme. In the event, however, Myanmar’s President reacted to monk-led protests and public pressure and did not move forward with the agreed OIC liaison office in Rakhine State that was to oversee the dispensation of such humanitarian assistance. An OIC delegation travelling to Myanmar the following year agreed with Naypyidaw that humanitarian assistance made available should be non-discriminatory and would only be provided through the Myanmar government.

By comparison, then ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan in August 2012 contacted ASEAN foreign ministers in writing with a view to organizing a special foreign ministers meeting to discuss the Rohingya crisis. Though the 2012 ASEAN Chair, (p. 815) Cambodia, then also called for such a meeting, Naypyidaw objected and ASEAN desisted. While failing to issue an agreed statement at the 2012 foreign ministers’ meeting, ASEAN states did release a four-point statement on the situation in Rakhine State, which referred to the killings as ‘incidents’, made no direct mention of the Rohingya, and offered support for humanitarian assistance.44 Myanmar seemed eager to bat away that last idea though as within days the government stated that the violence in Rakhine State was neither about a conflict between two religious groups of different faith nor a simple humanitarian issue. Other ASEAN states relented. Following the second wave of attacks in October 2012, the ASEAN Secretary-General warned that radicalization of the Rohingya could potentially destabilize Southeast Asia given the negative strategic and security ramifications for the region (e.g. refugee flows, Strait of Malacca). To prevent this scenario, Surin suggested ASEAN members agree to humanitarian engagement. Myanmar’s resistance to this idea was unequivocal, however. In the absence of a common ASEAN approach, concern over the protection of Myanmar’s populations has therefore only resulted in individual members at least indirectly trying to encourage Myanmar to meet its R2P commitments towards the self-identifying Rohingya.

Western powers have increasingly spoken out against discrimination in Rakhine State. The 2012 violence raised further the importance of the issue in bilateral relations with Naypyidaw. During his inaugural visit to Yangon in November 2012, President Obama’s keynote address was thus driven at least in part by concerns over communal violence in Rakhine State.45 Since then, the United States has sought to influence the central and state authorities with respect to managing and transcending communal tensions. Political pressure on Myanmar’s government to move forward the situation was augmented, as progress by the government on key issues has seemed ambiguous at best. Recent efforts to inculcate new or at least different thinking have involved a plethora of actors: visiting US officials, embassy staff, and, as regards building greater capacity, the in-country representatives of US organizations (e.g. USAID). To date, a mix of private and public encouragement and pressure remains the most easily identifiable aspect of how the United States has consistently tried to sway Myanmar to exercise its R2P.

Indeed, when he travelled to Myanmar again in 2014, Obama’s public diplomacy on the issue had become quite explicit as he ‘stressed the need to find durable and effective solutions for the terrible violence in Rakhine state, solutions that end discrimination, provide greater security and economic opportunities, protect all citizens, and promote greater tolerance and understanding’.46 The President’s message to Myanmar, given its critical edge in relation to protection issues, is aligned with much of what the United Nations says on R2P-related issues concerning Myanmar. However, like the UN, the Obama administration, having basically focused its energies on the second pillar of R2P even as concerns the situation in Rakhine State, has also yet to convince Naypyidaw to implement R2P with greater purpose.

(p. 816) Explaining the Limitations of R2P Implementation

What are the factors that have prevented Myanmar and the wider international community from having a different, better record in relation to the implementation of the R2P? First, while the Thein Sein government seemed more open to the implementation of R2P than was the SPDC led by Senior General Than Shwe, the political-military leadership clearly still aspired to complete the state-building and national reconsolidation agenda.47 Consequently, Naypyidaw took the view that it was for the military above all to determine the appropriate responses to armed insurgency and other threats to national security (i.e. territorial integrity) and how to counter these. R2P has traditionally not entered the tatmadaw’s calculations. And the recent record seems to suggest that military strategy and tactics are still not significantly guided by considerations for the protection of civilian populations or concerns about measures that might be regarded to constitute or possibly lead to mass atrocities. Just like the state leadership is clearly convinced that it knows better than anyone about what is required to maintain security, the belief also seems to be that it is up to a sovereign state to determine who is a national and who is not.

Second, Myanmar’s authorities clearly also feel aggrieved about being subjected to persistent criticism in relation to the situation of self-identifying Rohingya, a problem that remains associated with the experience of colonialism under the British. Grievances seem to exist at different levels: for instance, vis-à-vis the UN given the latter’s position on the Rohingya, vis-à-vis foreign leaders and governments that fail to express any sympathy for the Myanmar point of view but succumb to efforts by Rohingya organizations abroad to influence the Burma policies of these states, and vis-à-vis these actors and the international media for their preparedness to accuse and castigate even when purported events remain unproven. In short, grievances are building on a sense that the historical context surrounding the Muslim presence along the country’s western border, the concerns of the local Rakhine population, and the state’s interests are all not well understood. Moreover, though not clearly supported by evidence, external organizations in their dealings with the different communities are often seen to act on the basis of favouritism and hence double standards. Even the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations have been considered guilty of such favouritism. An entrenched sense of racial superiority among the Burman population may reinforce grievances and negative perceptions.48

Third, domestic political calculations also matter. Myanmar’s politicians cannot be expected to feel they could score by emphasizing R2P. But they do understand and play public sentiments. Anti-Muslim attitudes are pervasive and claims to recognition submitted by the Rohingya are thus difficult to support in an environment where agitation, resentment, and strong beliefs converge. Indeed, concessions would also potentially open up problems in relation to issues not even connected to Rakhine State. Certainly (p. 817) in the context of the 2015 elections, even opposition politicians—including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi—have felt the need to acknowledge the need for a balanced assessment that takes account of popular opinion and sentiments.

As regards the role of the international community several factors seem important. First, for years the international community had to rely on testimony on purported crimes that was not easily verifiable. Digital satellite imagery used to detail the destruction of villages was insightful but also limited (due to thick jungle, quickly regenerating vegetation, and cloud cover) and ultimately insufficient to prove responsibility.49 While the deadly violence in Rakhine State in 2012 was egregious, there had been no high-profile outbreak of mass atrocities in Myanmar in easily accessible areas in previous years.

Second, the UNSC’s role in Myanmar as regards the implementation of R2P has for long remained circumscribed. In the mid-2000s, political differences among the major powers prevented the UNSC from passing a resolution on Myanmar. The United States wanted regime change in Myanmar, China and Russia did not. The call for humanitarian intervention with reference to R2P because of the response to Cyclone Nargis failed to elicit support also in this context. Notably, substantial differences and concerns over the implementation of the third pillar of R2P remain, not least after its problematic application vis-à-vis Libya. For those on the UNSC wanting to promote and implement R2P, this generally reinforces the focus on the second pillar.

The chapter has also noted the reluctance of the Secretary-General to support the call by the Special Rapporteurs to establish a COI to investigate purported mass atrocities. This is best appreciated against the full set of objectives that Secretaries-General since the 1990s have pursued in relation to Myanmar, not least some version of national reconciliation and the country’s return to democracy. Though critical of the 2010 election, its outcome provided in the view of the Secretary-General an important platform for the UN’s further engagement of Myanmar. As the Secretary-General said at the time: ‘The transfer of power from the Council to the new Government, the resignation of Senior General Than Shwe and the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi offer new prospects for Myanmar to embark on the path of progress … Against the backdrop of decades-long conflict and political deadlock, the United Nations recognizes the significance of such developments.’50 Once President Thein Sein initiated comprehensive reforms, it was clear that any attempt to invoke the ICC would jar with the wider political goals of encouraging and supporting effective reforms. Ultimately, the Secretary-General’s view has been that the UN needs to partner with and not confront Myanmar’s government and society to strengthen R2P capacity-building.

The limitations of other international and regional organizations in implementing R2P vis-à-vis Myanmar have much to do with continuing concerns about the principle among the respective members. That the UN has played a far more important role than ASEAN for instance thus follows from ASEAN’s ambiguous position on R2P as even Indonesia, the country with some of the best democratic credentials in Southeast Asia since the fall of Suharto, has been seriously concerned about the potential for the misapplication of the principle.51 These concerns left former ASEAN Secretary-General Surin (p. 818) Pitsuwan to challenge unsuccessfully both Myanmar and ASEAN’s other members to respond to the violence in Rakhine State in ways that would repeat the success he earned in relation to Cyclone Nargis. As the ASEAN Secretary-General was obliged to recognize: ‘in the end, sovereignty and national security and state security need to be implemented with responsibility to protect the people’.52

Put differently, the R2P is still not a principle that ASEAN elites have formally integrated into their normative canon. That is because understandings on how the norms considered to underpin ASEAN’s intramural relations should be practised have gradually shifted in significant but only limited ways.53 ASEAN countries have agreed over time that it is legitimate to discuss a widening array of issues once considered to qualify as internal affairs. This is illustrated not least by the grouping’s various statements, issued either collectively or by the respective ASEAN Chair, on Myanmar’s political situation, including developments linked to Aung San Suu Kyi. However, Myanmar has not seen the management of the country’s ethnic conflict or the situation in Rakhine State as falling under this category, as illustrated by Naypyidaw’s unremitting resistance to ideas and proposals for ASEAN’s involvement on these issues. Furthermore, as ASEAN subscribes to non-interference as well as to consensual decision-making, Myanmar has—as do other members—a de facto veto over collective decisions even where norms and principles are contested, leaving the grouping unable to take collective steps to implement meaningfully the international community’s responsibility to protect.

In Mynamar’s case, states have also tried to promote R2P individually, albeit only within limits. The United States makes for a good illustration in this regard. While R2P has clearly been on the Obama administration’s agenda vis-à-vis Naypyidaw, it has confined its role to the second pillar and not been too insistent or condemnatory of Naypyidaw in its public diplomacy. Notably, while the administration had issued support for a COI, it backed off the idea after the SPDC stepped aside. This reflected the balancing act that the administration has had to perform in relation to its Burma policy. On the one hand, the administration was clear that to pursue this kind of COI at a time when Myanmar was embracing political and other reforms would be counter-productive. On the other hand, the administration has had to take account of the positions adopted by various non-governmental organizations headquartered in Washington, such as the US Campaign for Burma. It has also needed to be mindful that members of Congress too have become increasingly outspoken against the Thein Sein government. Indeed, some members have called on Washington and the wider international community to take all necessary measures to end the persecution and discrimination of the Rohingya population and to protect the fundamental rights of all ethnic and religious minority groups in Burma.54 However, as important as the prevention of future R2P crimes has been for the administration, US Burma policy is driven by a wider set of concerns, not least the country’s broader transition to democracy. This latter goal has been at the forefront of US–Burma relations ever since the SLORC refused to transfer power to the National League of Democracy, the undisputed winner of the 1990 elections. And in order to bring about Myanmar’s democratic transformation, the Obama administration has favoured a partnership arrangement with Myanmar that requires considerable (p. 819) sensitivity. As America’s representative at the United Nations, Susan Rice, has argued: ‘There is still a great deal of work ahead before Burma fully transitions to democracy. The challenge of overcoming ethnic tensions and violence—and of protecting vulnerable minorities like the Rohingya will require persistent vigilance. But, if progress continues, by the end of President Obama’s second term, we hope to have helped Burma reestablish itself as a regional leader and a thriving, prosperous democracy.’55 There are also other important objectives and interests, especially economic and geopolitical, with the latter focusing squarely on the People’s Republic of China. As such, the administration deals with Myanmar by looking at the bigger picture of Southeast Asian and East Asian international relations.


The chapter offers four principal arguments: first, while it is alleged that atrocity crimes have been committed, collecting evidence to this effect has proved challenging, and the political will to punish perpetrators limited. Second, the current Myanmar government has undertaken a series of measures that can be conceived of as constituting moves designed to meet the state’s responsibility to protect. However, Myanmar’s record of policies and actions in Rakhine State in particular at best make for a mixed and ambiguous record. That is because Naypyidaw’s efforts to implement R2P remain shackled by a series of state-level objectives and collective attitudes. The potential for deep-seated communal differences to again spill onto the street thus remains. Focusing on how international and regional organizations have chosen to assist Myanmar in implementing R2P, the chapter argues, third, that the United Nations has in Myanmar’s case to date played a far more important role than has ASEAN, whose approach to R2P remains hostage to the organization’s shared diplomatic and security culture. That said, although capacity-building has been attempted, even the UN has largely focused on preventing R2P atrocities on the back of monitoring, dialogue, and admonition. Finally, the case of Myanmar demonstrates that the implementation of R2P has been subsumed to broader political considerations. Key here so far has been the idea that at least until early 2016 the reformist government of Thein Sein would be a necessary partner to bring about a successful political transition in Myanmar.


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                                                                                      (1.) The Republic of the Union of Myanmar was formerly the Union of Myanmar and before then the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma and prior to that the Union of Burma. This chapter will use Myanmar for the period since 1989 and Burma for the preceding period.

                                                                                      (3.) However, for the view that R2P might have been applicable because the state thwarted the delivery of available life-saving humanitarian assistance, see Pinheiro and Barron 2011.

                                                                                      (6.) Smith 1999, p. 101.

                                                                                      (8.) Smith 1999, p. 425.

                                                                                      (9.) The preceding four periods are associated with the three great monarchs: Anawratha, Bayinnaung, Alaungpaya as well as General Aung San. U Nu apparently argued that Hsinbyushin was the fourth and Aung San the fifth unifier. See Houtman 1999, p. 61.

                                                                                      (13.) Malinowski 2003. Malinowski was then the HRW advocacy director.

                                                                                      (16.) DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, commissioned by Vaclav Havel and Desmond Tutu, 2005.

                                                                                      (17.) Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, UN document A/61/369, 21 September 2006.

                                                                                      (21.) Smith 1999, p. 241. For analysis of the ‘Rohingya issue’ in the context of Myanmar’s politics on ethnicity and race, see Taylor 2015b.

                                                                                      (27.) These include United to End Genocide, Genocide Watch, and The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention.

                                                                                      (28.) Quoted in UN News Centre 2014.

                                                                                      (29.) United Nations General Assembly, Resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, A/Res/60/233, 23 December 2005, and Resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, A/Res/65/241, 24 December 2010.

                                                                                      (30.) For wider discussion and analysis, see Smith 2015.

                                                                                      (34.) ICG 2014, p. 21.

                                                                                      (35.) Quoted in Lawi Weng 2014.

                                                                                      (37.) Summary Report of the Investigation Commission for the Du-Chee-Yar-Tan incident of January 2014 and related events, February 2014.

                                                                                      (42.) Quoted in Crossette 2014.

                                                                                      (49.) Kreps 2010, p. 185.

                                                                                      (54.) US Government Publishing Office, H.Res. 418, 7 May 2014.