March 31, 2011

Burma Briefing No. 11

This briefing looks at the wide-ranging negative impacts Burma’s new Constitution will have on ethnic groups in Burma.

The Constitution is likely to lead to the continued Burmanisation of ethnic minorities and increased militarisation of ethnic areas, with the subsequent increase of human rights abuses which always follows the presence of the Burmese Army. It could also lead to large-scale conflict as armed ethnic groups with ceasefire agreements are told to become part of the Burmese Army as border guard forces, and are threatened with military attack if they refuse. This in turn could lead to a major human rights and humanitarian crisis.

The international community has never paid proper attention to what happens in ethnic areas of Burma, and to the rights and protection demanded by ethnic groups.

The failure to address the legitimate rights and aspirations of Burma’s ethnic groups is a root cause of instability and dictatorship in Burma. There will not be peace and stability in Burma until they are addressed.

This is why Burma’s new Constitution is fatally flawed. It does not address any of these issues. There is no way that Burma, under the 2008 Constitution, can achieve peace, stability, democracy and full human rights.

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