Myanmar’s Democracy Struggle: The Impact of Communal Violence Upon Rohingya Women and Youth

Authored by: Engy Abdelkader

Categories: Human Rights, Violent Conflict
Sub-Categories: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Country: Myanmar
Region: East Asia and the Pacific
Year: 2014
Citation: Abdelkader, Engy. "Myanmar's Democracy Struggle: The Impact of Communal Violence Upon Rohingya Women and Youth." Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal Association 23, no. 3 (2014): 511-42.

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Executive Summary

Since the end of its military rule in 2011, the international community has rewarded Myanmar for perceived political and economic reforms. Still, Burma’s transition to democratic governance is beset by an unfortunate human rights record and marred by state-sanctioned violence against members of its minority Rohingya Muslim population. This article explores the conflict’s impact upon Muslim women and children. It argues that the group is experiencing human rights violations that are specific to its identity and have yet to be adequately recognized and addressed. These violations emanate from discriminatory population control regulations, gender based violence, human trafficking, hard labor, and educational inequality. Such a perspective has not yet been examined in legal scholarship and discourse. This article further argues that official Burmese policies and normative practices targeting the country’s Muslim population continue to compromise Burma’s local, regional, and global security interests. To help protect those interests and prevent further human rights violations, this article proposes a number of related legal and policy recommendations, including: a) amending the 1982 Citizenship Act; b) engaging in public education campaigns to help dispel many of the myths that represent causal factors in anti-Muslim violence; c) providing resources and support for victims of gender based violence; and d) exercising increased vigilance in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting all those who facilitate human trafficking.