Network Myanmar
A Critical Assessment of the Burma Exhibition              TOAEP Policy Brief No. 130 (2022) - 1 July 2022                                                            Derek Tonkin                                                               PDF Version  In this analysis critical of the special exhibition on Burma in the US Holocaust Museum, Derek Tonkin concludes that the organisers might well wish to review the narrative of the exhibition in order to eliminate historical revisionism, distortions and anachronisms. The need for a common narrative of Rohingya history is vital if there is to be reconciliation between the Muslim and Buddhist communities in Rakhine State. A true narrative will enhance, not hinder, the safe return home of Rohingya refugees abroad and the prosecution of those responsible for their victimisation and persecution in recent years.                                                                                                                                    

The Labyrinth of the Rohinga Conundrum

Derek Tonkin                                                                                               PDF Version

There is indeed more than enough good reason for the Museum to organise a special exhibition on the matter. Yet as I have already shown, I am concerned that the special exhibition is being used as a propaganda platform to disseminate a particular historical narrative of the kaleidoscope of Muslim communities, Indian and Indo-Burman, who have in recent years coalesced into the “Rohingya” community, an ethnicity in the making. Most Myanmar citizens, I believe, would find the exhibition controversial. It will not help to promote reconciliation between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine State. Its implicit portrayal of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as somehow complicit in genocide is unfortunate and widely disputed, however naïve and ill-informed she may well have been


Burma’s Path to Genocide

Derek Tonkin - 29 March 2022                                                                  PDF Version

In his determination of genocide by the Myanmar Armed Forces delivered in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on 21 March 2022, US Secretary of State Anthony J Blinken drew significantly on materials in the special exhibition “Burma’s Path to Genocide” set up in 2021. In a series of tweets between 20 and 26 March 2022 I drew attention to what seemed to me to be inaccuracies and distortions in the Exhibition’s presentation. Indeed, of the five Chapters in the online presentation, many of the captions do not in my view reflect historical fact, and this is particularly true of Chapters 1 and 2.

The main problem is that the Exhibition reflects not an independent analysis of who the Rohingya are, their origins and identity, but an idealised, ideology-based narrative which ignores the reality that they are mainly descendants of British-era (1824-1948) agricultural migrants from the Chittagong Region of Bengal. Jacques Leider has presented a seminal paper on “Chittagonians in Colonial Arakan”.






Genocide Determination by US Secretary of State Blinken

Derek Tonkin - 24 March 2022                                                                                                           PDF Version

On 21  March 2022 US Secretary of State Anthony J Blinken issued a formal determination that the Myanmar Armed Forces, known as the Tatmadaw, were responsible for genocide against the Rohingya minority population in Rakhine State. The determination is a political statement and has no international legal authority. The evidence adduced in the determination (unless a fuller formal statement is intended) is open to discussion. Its timing may well have been influenced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and allegations of genocide made in this context.

David Steinberg: Myanmar: Words like "genocide" have consequences  PacNet #19  12 April 2022

Military Coup in Myanmar - 1 February 2021

Notifications and Announcements


GNLM: Notification No. 1 of the Commander in Chief - 1 February 2021

GNLM: Office of the President Order No 1 - 1 February 2021

GNLM: Meeting of the National Defence and Security Council - 1 Feb 2021

GNLM: Miscellaneous Appointments - 1 February 2021

Information for the People': Office of the C-in-C - 2 February 2021

MFA Statement and diplomatic briefing: GNLM - 6 February 2021

Announcement of the Union Election Commission - 7 July 2001

Announcement of the Union Election Commission - 8 July 2021

Announcement of the Union Election Commission - 26 July 2021

Order No. 152/2021 of the SAC - 1 August 2021



Statement to the UK House of Commons

Minister of State Nigel Adams - 2 February 2021


Security Council unity 'crucial' to support democracy in Myanmar

UN News: "Consultations" among UNSC Members - 2 February 2021

Text of Remarks by the UNSG's Special Envoy Christine Burgener 

UNSC VTC Consultations on Myanmar - 2 February 2021

Myanmar coup on the pretext of a constitutional fig leaf

Melissa Crouch: East Asia Forum - 3 February 2021

Message to the People of Myanmar

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo: Religions for Peace - 3 February 2021

The Coup in Myanmar: What do we know?

Andrew Selth: The Interpreter, Lowy Institute - 3 February 2021

Aung San Suu Kyi is flawed but needs our Support

Baron Darzi of Denham: The Times - 4 February 2021

Press Statement on the Situation in Myanmar by Security Council President

UN Press Centre - 4 February 2021

Myanmar needs a new kind of democracy

Thant Myint-U: New York Times - 5 February 2021

China does not like the coup in Myanmar

Enze Han: East Asia Forum - 6 February 2021

Myanmar's coup: Reversion to Type

The Economist: Briefing - 6 Feburary 2021

Ghosts of coups past in Myanmar

Mary Callahan: East Asia Forum - 7 February 2021

Post legalism and Myanmar’s contradictory coup

Nick Cheesman: ABC Religion and Ethics – 9 February 2021

Myanmar, still escaping the shackles of the past

Alan Doss: Passblue - 9 February 2021

Measure of the man who stole Myanmar's democracy

David Scott Mathieson: Asia Times - 10 February 2021

Behind the coup: what prompted Tatmadaw's grab for power?

Hunter Marston: New Mandala - 12 February 2021

Myanmar's youth holds the country's future in their hands

Thant Myinyt-U: Financial Times - 12 February 2021

Responding to the Coup

International Crisis Group: Briefing No 166 - 16 February 2021

China addresses rumours, urges Myanmar to settle political differences

Ambassador Chen Hai: Myanmar Times - 16 February 2021

Statement by Concerned Businesses in Myanmar

Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business - 19 February 201

Statement by the President of the Security Council (US) on Myanmar

US Mission to the UN: 10 March 2021

Debate in the UK House of Lords on Protests in Myanmar

Hansard House of Lords: 10 March 2021

What Next for Burma?

Thant Myint-U: London Review of Books Blog - 18 March 2021

Who Failed Myanmar?

Kavi Chongkittavorn: The Irrawaddy - 31 March 2021

Statement by the President of the Security Council (Vietnam) on Myanmar

Vietnamese Mission to the UN: 31 March 2021

Can Myanmar's Democracy be rescued?

Interview with Derek Mitchell: Bloomberg - 18 April 2021

Is Burma's Army in Trouble?

Vijay Nambiar: PassBlue - 19 April 2021

Myanmar and the Lessons of History

Andrew Selth: Asia Link - 23 April 2021

ASEAN Chairman's Statement and Five Point Censensus

ASEAN Website: 24 April 2021

Aung San Suu Kyi's uncertain fate

Andrew Selth: Asia Link - 13 May 2021

Myanmar's Military struggles to control Virtual Battlefield

International Crisis Goup - 18 May 2021 

Taking Aim at the Tatmadaw: The New Armed Resistance 

International Crisis Group Briefing - 28 June 2021

The Domestic and International Implications of the Military Coup

Andrea Passeri: IKMAS (Malaysia) Working Paper - September 2021

Myanmar's Military Mindset: An Exploratory Survey  

Andrew Selth Griffith Asia Institute - September 2021

The Deadly Stalemate in Post-Coup Myanmar

International Crisis Group - 20 October 2021

Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw [CRPH] - NUG

Website of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw

Website of the National Unity Government

Online Burma Library - CRPH Documents

Online Burma Library - NUG Documents

Federal Democracy Charter- Parts I and II - 2021

Policy Position on the Rohingya in Rakhine State - 3 June 2021

Formation of the National Unity Government of Myanmar - 16 April 2021

Myanmar's NUG: Counteracting the coup: ISEAS - 28 January 2022

The International Community needs to prepare for a Post-Tatmadaw Myanmar: ISEAS - June 2022

Myanmar's Civil War and the Myth of Military Victory: Andrew Selth - 28 June 2022

HRC 53 NUG Policy Brief on the Rohingya and the human rights situation - 21 June 2023

NUG contribution to the HRC panel disussion - 22 June 2023

NUG Position on Relations with China - 1 January 2024

Myanmar’s Representation at the United Nations 2021

The Battle for Myanmar’s Seat at the UNGA

Catherine Renshaw: The Lowy Institute - 10 August 2021


Briefing Paper: Myanmar’s Representation in the United Nations

Special Advisory Council for Myanmar - 11 August 2021


Briefing Paper: Recognition of Government

Special Advisory Council for Myanmar - 23 August 2021

Briefing Paper: The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in Myanmar

Special Advisory Council for Myanmar - 1 September 2021

Briefing Paper: The Response of UN Political Bodies to the Coup

Special Advisory Council for Myanmar - 9 September 2021

Legal Opinion: The Representation of Myanmar at the UN

Myanmar Accountability Project - 14 September 2021

Report of the UNGA Credentials Committee

A/76/550 - 1 December 2021

Resolution 76/15 of the UNGA

adopted by consensus - 6 December 2021

Interview with Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun

VOA News - 12 December 2022

Interview with Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun

RFA - 14 December 2022

Report of the UNGA Credentials Committee

A/77/600 - 12 December 2022

Resolution 77/239 of the UNGA

adopted by consensus - 16 December 2022

UN General Assembly approves Report of Credentials Committee A/77/600

UN Press Office - 16 December 2022

Report of the UNGA Credentials Committee

A/78/605 - 6 December 2023

Resolution 78/-- of the UNGA [nya]

adopted by consensus - 18 December 2023

UN General Assembly approves Report of Credential Committee A/78/605

UN Press Office - 18 December 2023


In Defence of Aung San Suu Kyi - 22 February 2024

Why Daw Suu could not "speak out" on the Rohingya crisis - Lowy "Interpreter".

Thread of 12 Tweets posted - 22 February 2024

Addressed to the City Councils who awarded and then revoked "Freedom of the City".

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her Struggle for Democracy at The Hague - 9 February 2024

Daw Suu pursued her fight for democracy against the Military even at the ICC.

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Notes on the decision by the Brighton and Hove City Council to revoke the “Freedom of the City” award made to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011


Derek Tonkin writes: On 19 October 2023 the Brighton and Hove City Council revoked the Freedom of the City awarded to Daw Aung Suu Kyi in 2011. Their decision was based on allegations that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi had acquiesced in, if not supported, the ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Rohingya Muslim population in Rakhine State. In this memorandum I analyse the in-house briefing prepared for the Council and show how it was seriously flawed. I examine what Daw Aung San Suu Kyi actually said and did in the context of the Rohingya crisis. Few if any Council members or officials are likely to have more than a superficial knowledge of the Myanmar reality, of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s precarious situation in Myanmar politics and of her lack of any influence at all over the Myanmar. military who were totally independent of the civilian administration in their operations.

It has yet to dawn on the Council that the only people to have benefitted from this sorry saga are the military junta themselves. For if a British institution like the Council, claiming the moral high ground yet exhibiting misguided, self-righteous delusion, can indulge in ruthless criticism of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on the basis of biased and fabricated misinformation, then so too can the military junta. It is to be hoped that the Council, on reflection, will realise the extent of the injustice which they have done to this ailing, aged and arbitrarily detained political prisoner. This has not been their finest hour.

Message sent on 5 November 2023 to Brighton and Hove City Councillors who spoke at the Special Meeting on 19 October 2023

It is remarkable, indeed unprecedented, that a UK Government body, in this case the Brighton and Hove City Council, should sanction a political prisoner, an elderly lady of 78 years of age, whose younger son, Kim Aris, told Richard Lloyd Parry in an interview in the 'The Times Magazine' of 4 November 2023 that he fears he will never see his mother again. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained virtually incommunicado for over 30 months in a cell house 5m x 8m (see satellite photo below) in a central Myanmar jail by a despotic military regime condemned for its human rights abuses. The Australian academic and economist Sean Turnell, who was a prisoner in the same jail for 650 days, has promised to give a graphic description of her living conditions in his book “An Unlikely Prisoner” to be released shortly. Her immediate and unconditional release has been demanded by the UN General Assembly in their Resolution of 14 June 2021 (Paragraph 2).

The action taken by the Council is callous and indefensible, for several Councillors were informed of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s predicament by email on 17 October 2023, two days before the Special Council meeting on 19 October 2023.


Myanmar Coup Two Years on: Neighbours' Pragmatism

Economist Intelligence - EIU 4 May 2023

  • EIU does not expect outside actors to meaningfully alter the course of conflicts in Myanmar, given limited political and economic leverage over junta leaders and armed resistance, and the lack of a unified approach.
  • Pragmatism underpins Myanmar's neighbours' approach to the country. China, Thailand and India will not rescind tacit support for the junta given practical concerns closer to home, such as border security and natural resources trade.
  • Indonesia, the 2023 rotational chair of the Association of South‑East Asian Nations (ASEAN), has steered the bloc towards promoting dialogue. However, ASEAN's capacity to mediate conflicts is ultimately constrained by its institutional structure.

Violence and Belonging: Conflict, War and Insecurity in Arakan 1942-1952

SEATIDE : CRISEA : Silkworm Books - March 2023

Jacques Leider writes: "The decade from 1942 to 1952 was a period of abrupt political and social change in Burma’s province of Arakan. Power and political agency shifted and were redistributed in a context of warfare, transition from colonization to independence, and struggles for autonomy. Devastation, bloodshed, and rampant poverty were features of this troubled period where regionally dominant Buddhist and Muslim populations went through a process of increased self-awareness and a reshaping of ethnohistorical identification. The present chapter, a contribution to this volume on identity formation in Southeast Asia, looks at the interaction of multiple forms of violence with the consolidation of belonging. Violence and belonging were underpinned by the politics of community formation which persisted and hardened during the following decades, engendering new intercommunal strife."

A Critique of the Allegations of Electoral Fraud made by the UEC

Derek Tonkin writes: The Union Election Commission in Myanmar has presented no evidence of alleged election fraud which they say was committed at the 8 November 2020 elections. There is a world of difference between anomalies in the voter lists and the alleged criminal exploitation of these anomalies by over 40% of those who actually voted. The allegations defy common sense and are an insult to the Myanmar people. 

Notes on progress towards Self-Government and Independence 1945-47

Derek Tonkin writes: The Notes examine appointments made to the Executive Councils formed on (a) 3 November 1945 by Governor Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, and on (b) 28 September 1946 and (c) 20 July 1947 by Governor Sir Hubert Rance, as well as the latter's appointments to the Council of Ministers on  (d) 1 August 1947. The Notes draw mainly on Professor Hugh Tinker's two-volume "Burma: The Struggle for Independence 1944-1948", reports in "The Times" of London and debates in the UK House of Commons.**