Network Myanmar

                Documents of Interest

Top Contemporary Articles on Myanmar Issues

Myanmar's Intelligence Apparatus under Aung San Suu Kyi

Andrew Selth: Lowy Interpreter 10 April 2019

Conclusions: There has been some progress in “civilianising” internal security in recent years, but the NLD does not seem to have given serious consideration to restructuring the intelligence system to make it more accountable and reflective of the transition to a more democratic form of government. Also, despite her earlier calls for universal human rights and the rule of law, Aung San Suu Kyi has shown little inclination to curb the excesses of the intelligence apparatus or to change the way that Myanmar’s laws are being misused to silence dissent.

That said, Aung San Suu Kyi’s ability to change Myanmar’s current security arrangements is very limited. When the 2008 constitution was being drafted, the armed forces were careful to ensure that control of the country’s entire coercive apparatus, including its main intelligence agencies, would remain under the C-in-C. Significant changes to the constitution, while a longstanding goal of the NLD, are very difficult to achieve. This is likely to remain the case, leaving intelligence matters firmly in the hands of the armed forces for the foreseeable future.

Problems with the Kofi Annan Recommendations on Citizenship

Derek Tonkin: Network Myanmar 16 December 2018

Conclusions: It may be impossible in practical terms to adjudicate on the citizenship claims of the 900,000 or so Rohingya refugees currently in Bangladesh before they return to Myanmar. But the Myanmar Government might be encouraged to create an atmosphere of confidence among refugees in Bangladesh by giving them public reassurances that, on their return to Myanmar:

1.    All refugees who held Myanmar citizenship prior to the 1982 Law will have this restored to them and their descendants with the minimum of fuss, on the basis of official records held in Myanmar, whether or not after their traumatic experiences they still have  in their possession the documentation to prove this.


2.    All those who do not qualify under the present citizen verification process will not face the threat of expulsion where it can be shown from local records such as the annual house registration lists that they are third generation residents of Myanmar.


3.    The Myanmar Government will undertake as a matter of priority a review of the designation of “national races” in Myanmar, which would include a reassessment and if possible re-inclusion of all quasi-indigenous Muslim ethnicities used at the time of both the 1953-54 and 1973 Censuses, but later removed with the publication in 1990 of the currently smaller list of 135 “national races”.

End of Days for Suu Kyi's iconography

David Scott Mathieson: Asia Times 14 November 2018

Conclusion: Given the volume of Western pressure over atrocity crimes in Myanmar, with calls for independent tribunals to be established, a looming International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation, and the restoration of Myanmar’s reputation as an international pariah, Amnesty’s repealing a 20-year old award may seem trivial.

But it symbolically underscores how Suu Kyi’s imperious governance style, her government’s general arrogance and incompetence, and the malevolence of the Myanmar military and their leadership, have deeply scarred the conscience of the entire country, domestically and internationally.

Heading towards what are expected to be deeply divisive 2020 polls, Myanmar’s political scene will be bereft of any genuine leadership on human rights, while the military will not have lost a sliver of political or economic power. That will be Suu Kyi’s real legacy: jettisoning her once vaunted principles and getting nothing in return.

Without domestic consensus, there's no workable Rakhine solution

Ye Htut: Frontier Myanmar 6 September 2018

Extract: If you look at how President Thein Sein solved the problem, the major difference between him and Aung San Suu Kyi is that Thein Sein always welcomed and was ready to listen to different ideas. He tried to build consensus and tried to bring all stakeholders into the process, including the Bengali or Rohingya. He visited the Buthidaung/Maungdaw area many times, he allowed media free access, and even though he sometimes disagreed with international organisations he didn’t stop their operations.....

 Another big difference is that Thein Sein understood the situation, the complexity of the issue. Aung San Suu Kyi has never been to that area – even before 2015, she only visited southern Rakhine State and she only went once. She doesn’t speak to the Rakhine community. The one time she went to northern Rakhine State, when she went to Sittwe she didn’t set foot outside the airport. She held meetings in the airport and flew to Maungdaw and then flew back to Nay Pyi Taw. She didn’t talk to local community leaders.

Debating the definition of genocide will not save the Rohingya

Charles Petrie: The Guardian 4 September 2018

Conclusion: We could possibly reach an answer to the question of whether genocide is being committed. But at what cost? Will naming it so then risk fracturing international commitment to act and undermine a more robust response? War crimes and crimes against humanity are sufficiently grave offences to justify international action. However we refer to them, immense crimes have been and are being committed in Myanmar. It is time for the world to stop debating how to categorise them and focus on finding the necessary resolve to act.

Myanmar's Stalled Transition

International Crisis Group Briefing No. 151/Asia 28 August 2016

Conclusion: In considering what progress may be possible, it is important to be aware that the Rakhine crisis is occurring in a wider context of lack of vision and ineffectiveness of government, something that is unlikely to change in the near future. Public sentiment in Myanmar also remains firmly behind the government. Robust diplomatic engagement, including by the UN special envoy, will be required to translate international scrutiny and pressure into meaningful steps to improve the situation on the ground. On the specific question of accountability for international crimes, an independent mechanism under UN auspices seems to be the most feasible approach, given the improbability of any Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court.

Myanmar's Armed Forces and the Rohingya Crisis

Andrew Selth - US Institute of Peace: 'PeaceWorks' No 140 August 2018

Conclusion: The latest campaign against the Rohingyas has been a disaster for everyone. The Rohingyas have suffered most, but Aung San Suu Kyi, her government, the security forces, and the people of Myanmar have all lost, in different ways. Despite the high hopes that followed the 2015 elections, the country has stepped back into its dark past. This poses real challenges for

the international community.

All Myanmar governments have resisted external pressures to adopt or adapt particular policies.This is unlikely to change. Indeed, with regard to the Rohingyas, a rare consensus between the government, armed forces, and civil population can only strengthen Naypyidaw’s determination to decide its own agenda and timetable for any changes.

Unless attitudes in Myanmar shift significantly, a fair and durable solution to the Rohingya crisis, let alone a full legal accounting for past events, will remain a distant prospect.



Interim Report of the Investigation Commission on Maungtaw - 3 January 2017

Flash Report of OHCHR Mission to Bangladesh - 3 February 2017

Advance Unedited Report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights - 1 March 2017

Annan Advisory Commission Interim Report and Recommendations - March 2017

Myanmar Government welcomes Annan Advisory Commission Interim Report - 16 March 2017

HRC Resolution on the Situation in Myanmar adopted on 24 March 2017 without a vote

Report of the Special Rapporteur to the UN General Assembly - 8 September 2017

Mission Report of OHCHR Mission to Cox's Bazaar 13-24 September 2017

UN Security Council: Record of the 8060th Meeting on 28 September 2017

House of Commons: Debate Pack for use of MPs in the debate on 17 October 2017

UN Security Council: Text of Presidential Statement on Myanmar 6 November 2017

UN Security Council: Record of the 8085th Meeting 6 November 2017

Report of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee on Violence in Rakhine State 11 December 2017

UN Security Council: Record of the 8133rd Meeting 12 December 2017

UN General Assembly: Resolution on the Situation in Myanmar of 24 December 2017


Report of the UK International Development Committee on the Rohingya Crisis 9 January 2018

UN Security Council: Record of the 8179th Meeting on 13 February 2018

European Council Conclusions on Myanmar/Burma - 26 February 2018

Report by Bob Rae, Canadian PM's Special Envoy, on the Rohingya Crisis - April 2018

UN Security Council: Press Statement on UNSC Visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar - 9 May 2018

UN Security Council: Record of the 8255th Meeting on 14 May 2018

(Final Draft) Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar, UNDP and UNHCR - May 2018

Report of the Special Rapporteur to the UN General Assembly - 20 August 2018

UN Security Council Record of the 8333rd Meeting on 28 August 2018

US Documentation of Atrocities in  Northern Rakhine State - 24 September 2018

UK and France host high-level event on the Rohingya crisis - 24 September 2018

Myanmar 'resolutely rejects' ICC ruling on Rakhine: Kyaw Tint Swe at UN -  28 September 2018

Debate in the UK House of Commons on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis - 20 December 2018

UN General Assembly: Resolution on the Situation in Myanmar No. 264 of 22 December 2018


UN Security Council: Record of the 8477th Meeting on 28 February 2019


Statement By Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon - 26 June 2017

An evolution of Rohingya Persecution: Middle East Institute - Zarni and Cowley 20 April 2017

A critique of  eight articles by U Ba Tha written between 1959 and 1966 - 7 March 2017

Interview with Vijay Nambiar: "No Country for the Rohingyas" - Rediff News 2 March 2017

An Innocent in La La Land? Misinformation in Dr Ibrahim's Book - 1 March 2017

Review of revised edition of Dr Ibrahim's book - 1 February 2018

ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat Yangon: Speech by Malaysian FM - 19 December 2016


1940: Report on Indian Immigration - Financial Secretary James Baxter 

Command Paper 7029 - Record of Conversations between HMG and Aung San

Extracts 1947 Panglong Hugh Tinker Volume II

Report of the Frontier Areas Committee of Enquiry 24 April 1947

1948: Death of Aung San - Allegations of British involvement

1972-1973: List of 144 [143] national ethnic races for use in the 1973 Census

Suu Kyi - Sao Shwe Thaik family relations: UK FCO correspondence 1973

Suu Kyi at Oxford 1979: Comments on Indians, British, Chinese and Japanese

1982 Citizenship Law     

1983 Citizenship Rules

Presentation to ISEAS Singapore by Derek Tonkin on the UNSC Vote on 12 January 2007

Rohingya/Muslim Issues - Database

Thein Sein assures Guterres of legality of Bengali Immigration during British Rule

Burmese Text of Report by President's Office on 12 July 2012

RFA report of Thein-Sein Guterres Conversation on 11 July 2012

IMF - Myanmar 2016: Article IV Staff Report - 2 February 2017

Text of Bangladesh-Myanmar Agreement on Refugee Repatriation dated 23 November 2017

Background Notes

1. The Rewriting of History: Rohingya Anachronism - 7 May 2018

2. A comment on "Fact Sheet on the Rohingya" by Maung Zarni - 26 May 2018

Indonesia and Cambodia

The UK's supposed complicity in the mass killings in Indonesia in 1965: Derek Tonkin

British Policy towards Indonesia 1963-66: Derek Tonkin

Statement in Open Court Geidt and de Normann v. Pilger and CIT plc 5 July 1991