Myanmar

Myanmar Conflict Risk Assessment Report 2016

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BACKGROUND

Myanmar gained independence from Britain in 1948 and functioned as a representative democracy until a military coup in 1962. Myanmar became a military dictatorship, with the power of the military formally enshrined in the Constitution in 1974. Under the Constitution, the Army is guaranteed 25% of seats in the upper and lower chamber – this provides the military with substantial political power, and requires their consent for any Constitutional changes. Recent history has seen escalating tensions between the military, ethnic armed groups and pro‐democracy supports, including the National League for Democracy (NLD). Myanmar began its democratic transition in 2011 with a nominally civilian government, ending nearly 50 years of military rule. In December 2015, the NLD won national elections and become the ruling party in Myanmar. Alongside its political transition, Myanmar has increased its engagement with other states, which have in turn lifted sanctions against the country. Ethnic and religious tensions remain high in the country, and result in poor treatment of minorities including Burmese Muslims. 2012 clashes in Rakhine State “sparked waves of ethno religious violence mostly targeting the country’s Muslim minority”. In the summer of 2015, treatment of the Rohingya gained international attention as thousands attempted irregular migration to nearby countries in Southeast Asia in order to escape systemic violence and persecution.