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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

“Genocide cards”: Rohingya refugees on why they risked their lives to refuse ID cards

Wary of the past, Rohingya have frustrated the UN’s attempts to provide them with documentation.

Why the ‘good’ refugee is a bad idea

An opaque process of separating the ‘good’ Rohingya refugees from the ‘bad’ ones has begun under conditions where only seven and a half thousand out of one million people have national verification cards.

How populism directed against minorities is used to prop up Myanmar’s ‘Democratic’ revival

It is delusional to expect that this unfettered racism will stop there. It must be confronted. Shockingly, though, most ‘indigenous’ ethnic organizations are silent on the ongoing crisis.

What’s attracting women to Myanmar’s Buddhist nationalist movement?

Amid Myanmar’s transition towards democracy, a dangerous Buddhist nationalist movement is on the rise, and women are playing a key role.

Ten reflections inspired by the Rohingya crisis

The educated, middleclass layman, who is interested in the world and has a sense of social justice, but doesn’t quite know what to do with it. This is about me...

Saints in politics: Aung San Suu Kyi and the dilemmas of political desire

We delude ourselves by projecting qualities onto politicians who have no intention of embodying them.

Ethnic cleansing and the price of silence

For years Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar by any means possible. It is time to re-examine theses advanced by Arendt and Staub, taking the role of bystanders far more seriously.

When is a genocide a genocide?

(Or, why is the world allowing the Rohingya to be slaughtered?) There is a genocide happening before our eyes. If only we can bear to look.

Myanmar’s unique challenges

One year after Aung San Suu Kyi took office, Myanmar’s transition to democracy remains incomplete, and the country faces serious challenges

Trade union building in Myanmar

Basically all unions demand a stronger sanctioning capacity for the Arbitration Council.

The Lady in the broken mirror: the politics of identity in Myanmar

Global icon Aung San Suu Kyi faces the everyday challenges of governing a nation whose ethnic tensions threaten to tear it apart.

Southeast Asia: a new refugee crisis looming?

Southeast Asia is seeing persecuted minorities fleeing their homeland. As in Europe, lack of political consensus has exacerbated the situation – and a new wave of migration is just about to start.

Can democracy and genocide co-exist in Burma?

The treatment of Rohingya may be a detail in the general opening up and wooing of a state known for its unspoilt and unexploited natural resources. But what about western media?

In Myanmar, outside the cities

Can the politicization of Myanmar's rural communities topple the self-serving military elite? 

El dinero sucio corroe la democracia: ¿Qué hacer?

Los fondos ilícitos pueden perjudicar gravemente a las instituciones democráticas en todos sus niveles y en todo el mundo, de Pakistán a Perú, de Mali a Myanmar. Pero hay maneras de impedir el daño, o al menos mitigarlo.  English. Português.

Dinheiro sujo, democracia ferida: que fazer?

Os fundos ilícitos podem danificar as instituições democráticas a vários níveis e em todas as regiões do mundo, do Paquistão ao Peru, do Mali ao Myanmar. Mas há maneiras de impedir ou ao menos limitar dito dano. English. Español.

Against Letpadaung: copper mining in Myanmar and the struggle for human rights

Contention around a mine in Myanmar – especially police treatment of activists campaigning to close it – has grown into a challenge for the development of rule of law in that country.

In Myanmar, students test the sincerity of democratic transition

Students in Myanmar have achieved what few other citizens have since independence: the creation of a lasting national, cohesive social movement united around a core set of grievances and demands.

Asia at the crossroads

Aside from China, nearly all the states in Asia make use of the trappings of democracy, such as elections, parliaments, and the separation of powers. A new report examines the future of democracy in Asia in the next 15 years.

Civilian justice trumps military impunity in Myanmar

The rare conviction of a soldier in civilian court shows how, case by case, the criminal justice system is slowly taking a stand against the country's still-powerful military. 

Myanmar: the human-rights story behind the spin

The authorities in Nay Pyi Taw are steering the former authoritarian pariah state to open engagement with the world. Well, that’s what they say.

Burma: the clash of church, state and society

Burma's government and political leaders are now paying a bitter price for allowing the reform process to be undermined by violence, racism and hatred.

Myanmar’s long walk to democracy becomes even longer

The deafening silence from the international community on the incidents of last week displays a worrying underpinning weakness in its understanding of the Myanmar context.

The Myanmar context

For the first time since independence, government forces and most Ethnic Armed Groups have stopped fighting. This is an historic achievement in peace-making. However, the ceasefire process has yet to be transformed into a substantial and sustainable phase of peace-building.

The Rohingya refugee making factory

If the production of refugees was an industry, Myanmar would be among the world’s market leaders. And of all its products the Rohingya would be one of the most lucrative. A niche but growing market of global proportions, the culmination of decades of tireless endeavour to hone a specialist craft.

Security and status determination for urban refugees in Malaysia

It seems probable – and entirely reasonable - that it will take several years to build trust in a ‘new’ Myanmar that is safe to return to. But in a context of perpetual fear and insecurity, how will refugees in Malaysia survive until then? 

“A constant state of fear”: Chin refugee women and children in New Delhi

Ethnic Chin refugee women and children from Burma are the hidden victims of pervasive sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in New Delhi, India.  Lacking confidence in the current peace process in Burma and unwilling to return home, the prospect of staying in New Delhi is both bleak and terrifying.  

Introducing Myanmar in transition? A displacement perspective

Individual posts in this week’s feature have provided a snapshot into a single issue. Collectively, they explore a crucial question: if Myanmar is undergoing a national ‘transition’ to democracy, what does this mean for a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, regional refugee situation?  

Refugees on the Thai-Burma border: ready for return?

For refugees in camps on the Thailand Burma border to be able to return to Burma, two main issues need to be addressed, the political situation, and the technical arrangements. Neither are even close to being addressed.

The dark side of Burma’s Facebook boom

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, her political party the NLD and minority Muslims are being maliciously targeted through Facebook in Burma.

Burma’s paradox of plenty

Military and crony interests remain closely aligned with large-scale extractive projects in Burma. As the country emerges from junta rule and economic isolation, Burma is treading a rocky developmental path.

Las nuevas potencias no jugarán con las viejas reglas

Esperar que las nuevas potencias globales promuevan los derechos humanos fuera de sus países a través de las Naciones Unidas supone que jugarán con las reglas viejas y, para que esa presión sea efectiva, que los factores de derechos humanos condicionarán sus relaciones bilaterales; ninguno de esos supuestos es probable.

The far right in Burma, India and Sri Lanka

Far right religious nationalism is growing in South Asia. Fuelled by the experience of colonialism, the resulting internal tensions since independence, and powerful civil society movements.

New powers won’t play by old rules

Expecting new global powers to promote human rights abroad via the United Nations assumes that they will play by the old rules and - if such pressure is to be effective - that human rights factors will condition their bilateral relationships; neither is likely. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on Emerging Powers and Human RightsEspañol.

The Rohingya: bargaining with human lives

One year on from the violence of June 2012, new empirical evidence about the treatment of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, Burma, has taken the issue from the realms of international human rights and humanitarian law to that of international criminal law, says Amal de Chickera.

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