International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Sectarian Violence in Myanmar


Recent attacks on the Rohingyas in the Rhakine state of Myanmar (also known as Burma) highlight many of the difficulties the country and the international community continue to face as Myanmar transitions from decades of military rule to democracy. According to recent BBC and Radio Free Asia articles, there is strong evidence that more than 40 Rohingya Muslims were killed, in two “serious” incidents of violence between January 9th and 13th. At least 40 Rohingya Muslims, including men, women, and children, were killed in Du Chee Yar Tan village by local police and ethnic Rakhines Buddhists. These attacks are one of many incidents of sectarian violence that have flared up since 2012.

Myanmar began its transition from 50 years of military rule to democracy in 2011, and has since then experienced rapidly evolving reforms, according to the International Centre for Transitional Justice. However, incidents as the one noted above, highlight the difficulty of holding individuals accountable for past and current human rights violations. This is especially troubling when local officials are often instigating local violence. It is a troubling dilemma for the international community; how does one hold a transitioning government accountable for human rights abuses without upsetting the progress it has made towards democracy?


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