Network Myanmar


Basic Documents in the Context of the Rakhine Problem


Documents from Myanmar Sources

1.  Address by General Ne Win to the Central Committee of the Burma Socialist Programme Party

concerning the aims and objectives of the proposed Citizenship Law, 8 October 1982

(explains that the provisions for associate and naturalised citizenship will be phased out by the third

generation or grandchildren and that the intention is to achieve full citizenship for all citizens)


2.  Statement from the President’s Office after the President’s meeting with UNHCR Antόnio Guterres on

the citizenship of descendants of Bengalis who settled in Myanmar during British rule, 11 July 2012

(explains that the third generation or grandchildren of Bengalis who settled in Rakhine State during British

rule are entitled under Myanmar law to citizenship)


3.  Translation of the 1982 Citizenship Law of 15 October 1982 as published in The Working People’s Daily

of 16 October 1982


Documents from British Colonial Sources

4.  Chapter XI on “Race and Caste” in Part I of the British Burma decennial Census of 1921, Volume X of

the Census of India, with Statistical Tables in Part  II, Rangoon 1923

( recognises an “Indo-Burman” racial group of quasi-indigenous settlers in Arakan distinct from the “Indian”

group of settlers during British rule)


5.  Chapter XII on “Race” in Part I of the British Burma decennial Census of 1931, Volume XI of the Census of India, with Statistical Tables in Part II,Rangoon 1933

(confirms the decision at the 1921 Census to recognise an “Indo-Burman” racial group of quasi-indigenous settlers in Arakan distinct from the “Indian” group of settlers during British rule)


6.  Chapter VII on Arakan in the Report on Indian Immigration by the Commission chaired by Financial Secretary James Baxter, Rangoon 1941

(examines the characteristics of Indian settlers in Arakan during British rule. There are only two passing references in other Chapters to quasi-indigenous Muslim groups who are not the subject of this Report)


Articles by former British Ambassador to Thailand Derek Tonkin

7. A Critical Assessment of  the "Burma's Path to Genocide" Exhibition at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. TOAEP Policy Brief Series No. 130 (2022) 1 July 2-22

(challenges elements of the historical narrative about the Rohingya Muslim minor

ity in Rakhine State as well as alleged reflections in the persecution of the Rohingya in the Holocaust.)

8. The UN Fact-Findings Mission's Mischevious Use of Historical Sources  - Online Op-Ed revised 1 March 2020 

(In this article I highlight a lack of intellectual rigour and curiosity, an inclination to gullibility and a readiness to put the worst possible interpretation on events by the Fact-Finding Mission.) 

9.  "Migration from Bengal to Arakan during British Rule 1826 - 1948" TOAEP Occasional Series Paper No. 10 - 6 December 2019

(examines settlement in Arakan from the Chittagong Region of Bengal during British rule and concludes that this settlement was a natural process  encouraged but not sponsored by the British administration)


10.  “Exploring the Issue of Citizenship in Rakhine State”, updated version of Chapter 8 of “Citizenship in Myanmar”, ISEAS and Chiang Mai University Press 2017

(concludes that it is not so much the 1982 Citizenship Law which has resulted in the de facto loss of citizenship by Rakhine Muslims but the failure to implement its provisions)


Articles by Dr Jacques P Leider of the Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient


11. Violence and Belonging: Conflict, War and Insecurity in Arakan (1942-1952)  SEATIDE, CRISEA, Silkworm Books March 2023

(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.)

12. The Chittagonians in Colonial Arakan: Seasonal and Settlement Migrations

TOAEP "Colonial Wrongs and Access to International Law" November 2020

(Muslim Chittagonians formed the dominant group of seasonal labourers and new settlers in north and central Arakan (now Rakhine State in Myanmar) during British colonial rule in Burma (1826–1948). The consider-able growth of their settlements in the late nineteenth century was the defining factor which transformed Arakan’s small pre-colonial Muslim community into the biggest Muslim group in Burma, concentrated in a densely populated border zone.)

13.  “Rohingya: The History of a Muslim Identity in Myanmar”, Jacques Leider, Oxford Research Encyclopaedia, Asian History - May 2018

(traces the historical origins of the Muslim presence in Rakhine State and the emergence  after Independence in 1948 of “Rohingya” as an ethno-religious identity)

14. Competing Identities and the Hybridized History of the Rohingyas” – Chapter 6 of “Metamorphosis: Studies in Social and Political Change in Myanmar” - NUS IRASEC Singapore 2016

(This article supports the argument that today Buddhists and Muslims uphold mutually exclusive sets of identities based on competing claims to the history and geography of the country. The communities do not share a national narrative about Arakan as their homeland, as the role of Muslims is not acknowledged in the Buddhist narrative and the role of the predominantly Buddhist civilization of Arakan is ignored in the Rohingya Muslim retelling of history.)


15.  "Rohingya: The Name, the Movement, the Quest for Identity"

Academia .edu -  January 2014

(endeavours successfully to untangle some of the elements that sustain the debate on the Rohingya identity. A key element of contention is the name “Rohingya” which the paper seeks to address.)


Articles from other Sources

15. “Refighting Old Battles, Compounding Misconceptions: The Politics of Ethnicity in Myanmar Today”, 

Robert Taylor, ISEAS Perspective - March 2015

(concludes that only by depoliticising ethnicity and race will it be possible to maintain political order and 

reasoned politics)


16. “The Mujahid Revolt in Arakan”, Professor Bertie Pearn, Foreign Office Research Department – 31 

December 1952

(concludes that a peaceful solution in the Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships will be very 

necessary unless relations between Pakistan and Burma are to become strained)

17. Arakan, A Land in Conflict on Myanmar's Western Frontier Martin Smith Transnational Institute Amsterdam - December 2019

(examines the history of the conflict in Rakhine State and shows how contemporary challenges have their origins in unaddressed conflicts of earlier politiical eras.)

18. Myanmar's Military Mindset: An Exploratory Survey  

Andrew Selth Griffith Asia Institute - September 2021

(highlights the importance of negotiators and interloctors seeking the understand the mindset of the Tatmadaw and its commanders.)

A Select List of Books on Burma/Myanmar

Myanmar's Buddhist-Muslim Crisis

John Clifford Holt - University of Hawai'i Press - 2019

A Decade of Analysis 2008-2019

Compiled by Andrew Selth - Lowy Institute 2020

The Hidden History of Burma

Thant Myint-U - Atlantic Books 2019


A Political Biography of Aung San Suu Kyi

Michał Lubina - Routledge 2020


Myanmar’s ‘Rohingya’ Conflict

Anthony Ware and Costas Laoutides - Hurst and Company 2018


Burma/Myanmar: What Everyone Needs to Know

David I Steinberg  - Oxford University Press 2010


Burma: The State in Myanmar

Robert H Taylor -  Hurst and Company 2009


Burma in Revolt

Bertin Lintner -  Silkworm Books 1999


Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity

Martin Smith - ZED Books 1999 

New Policy Brief Series - Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher

CILRAP is pleased to host an online symposium of publications on various aspects of the situation in Myanmar, by a diversity of authors, in particular from the region. These are all publications of CILRAP’s publisher, the Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher (TOAEP). The symposium will continue to grow during the coming months and years. We are particularly interested in perspectives or issues that may be underrepresented or overlooked in the prevailing international justice discourse on Myanmar, as it continues to evolve. The aim is to contribute towards a widening of the discourse, to enhance inclusivity, in the interests of justice, truth and also peace.