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Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Burma/Myanmar

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect - Burma/Myanmar
Description/subject: "Burma/Myanmar: Ethnic and religious minorities in Burma/Myanmar, especially stateless Rohingya, continue to face the threat of mass atrocity crimes."...."Sporadic inter-communal violence in Burma/Myanmar, combined with discriminatory state policies, continues to put the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group, at risk of mass atrocity crimes. Rohingyas continue to be denied citizenship and other fundamental human rights by the government. On 29 September 2014 at the UN General Assembly, the government outlined the "Rakhine Action Plan," which would require Rohingyas to accept ethnic reclassification as "Bengali" in order to obtain citizenship or be forced into detention camps. On 31 March 2015 the government invalidated the identification cards held by many Rohingyas, forcing them to apply for citizenship as "Bengalis" by 1 June. This follows the government denying Rohingyas the ability to self-identify on the national census of March 2014, the first since 1983..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 May 2015

Individual Documents

Title: Defining Myanmar’s “Rohingya Problem”
Date of publication: 23 July 2013
Description/subject: "...The Rohingya problem has been referred to and described in different ways, and certainly it is more than a matter of nationality and discrimination, statelessness and displacement, and the Responsibility to Protect. Yet the initial two areas have assumed particular factual and legal significance over the past three decades, as persecution of the Rohingya within Myanmar and its effects regionally have continued unabated. The third area—not unrelated to the others—should assume equal importance and attention, but thus far it has not. All three issues are progressive in their application to the Rohingya: persecutory discrimination and statelessness includes and leads to forcible displacement, which combined constitute crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing and implicate the Responsibility to Protect. Primary responsibility rests with the Myanmar government to protect those whose right to a nationality the country has long denied, but its regional neighbors have legal and humanitarian obligations of their own vis-à-vis the Rohingya, as does the international community. The Rohingya problem begins at home—and could well end there with enough political will. Failing that, as has been the case since June 2012 if not decades, regional countries and the wider world should act to address the displacement and statelessness, and to stop the violence and violations."
Author/creator: Benjamin Zawacki
Language: English
Source/publisher: American University Washington College of Law's Human Rights Brief,Volume 20 Issue 3, Spring 2013
Format/size: pdf (516K-OBL version; 580K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs15/Defining_Myanmar%27s_Rohingya_Problem-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 24 July 2013

Title: Applying the Responsibility to Protect to Burma/Myanmar
Date of publication: March 2010
Description/subject: Introduction: "The Burmese junta, its armed forces known as the “Tatmadaw,” and other armed groups under government control are committing gross human rights violations against ethnic and religious minorities. Extrajudicial killings, torture, and forced labor are prevalent; rape and sexual abuse by the Tatmadaw are rampant; and from August 2008 through July 2009 alone, 75,000 civilians in the east, where armed conflict is ongoing, were forcibly displaced. The Tatmadaw shows a complete disregard for the principle of distinction, intentionally targeting civilians with impunity. Reports indicate that these violations, perpetrated primarily by state actors on a widespread and systematic basis, rise to the level of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes ‐ three of the four crimes states committed themselves to protect populations from in endorsing the responsibility to protect (R2P) at the 2005 World Summit. All Burmese citizens are subject to government oppression. However, the above crimes appear to be targeted primarily at five ethnic groups: the Karen, Shan and Karenni in eastern Burma, and the Rohingya and Chin in western Burma. While international actors have focused on the repression of the pro‐democracy movement by the military government, crimes perpetrated against ethnic minorities for years have received little international attention and show no signs of subsiding. This brief seeks to clarify how R2P applies to Burma and draw attention to the plight of minorities by assessing the following: whether acts perpetrated against them could constitute R2P crimes; the risk of future atrocities; and the resulting responsibility of the international community..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Format/size: pdf (195K)
Date of entry/update: 01 September 2010

Title: Cyclone Nargis: Whose Responsibility to Protect?
Date of publication: 12 June 2008
Description/subject: "The June 12 panel--“Cyclone Nargis: Whose Responsibility to Protect?”--produced sharp disagreement not only about whether the Burmese regime’s dilatory response to the cyclone constituted a potential “R2P situation,” but also more broadly about the role of this new doctrine in the aftermath of natural disasters. While none of the panelists or audience members found much to praise in the junta’s humanitarian response, some sought to understand the “paranoia” that the country’s leaders bore to the outside world. They concluded that outsiders eager to help victims of the cyclone would have to either work around the barriers erected by the fearful and suspicious generals, or look for those in the regime more open to engagement with outsiders. The regime, one participant noted, was far less monolithic than it appeared from the outside. Others felt that the regime’s state of mind mattered far less than the effect of its behavior on its own beleaguered citizens. One participant catalogued the lethal diseases, including HIV and malaria, which had proliferated in Burma owing to a moribund public health system—at a time when the sale of natural resources was enriching members of the regime. The unnecessary death of perhaps 100,000 citizens made the regime criminal even before the cyclone struck, which meant that Burma had arguably been an R2P situation for years. This participant and others nevertheless did not view the regime’s neglect of its citizens in the aftermath of the cyclone as meriting the application of the 2 responsibility to protect. Another participant, however, said that the very real possibility of mass death from neglect meant that the Security Council should have taken up the issue and noted that the council had even rebuffed a proposed briefing by UN humanitarian coordinator John Holmes..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Format/size: pdf (22K)
Date of entry/update: 01 September 2010