The Turbulent Political History of Myanmar8 min read
By Samanta Rao
Published On: November 04, 2021 at 16:30 IST
Myanmar was once again under military command. After a gap of almost ten years, Myanmar is now under direct military control. Myanmar State Adviser and National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi were arrested on the morning of February 1, 2021, along with other politicians. Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief, ruled the country for one year and declared a state of emergency.
In November 2020 in the National Elections, the Aung San Suu Kyi NLD party won more than two-thirds of the seats. However, the election results were not backed by the main opposition party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The group was formed in 2010 and was heavily supported by the military — the majority of its members being directly or indirectly associated with the military. Opposition and military claims, “voter list fraud” and several other irregularities. Since then, there have been conflicts between the military government and the civilian government.
In Myanmar, the role of the armed forces is cantered on the historical and political development of the country. Unlike the “Ahimsa” who led the liberation movement in India, the Myanmar national movement was led by the “Thirty Companions” who later formed the “Freedom of the Anti-Fascist People”.
The members of the group were trained in war and played a key role in securing Myanmar’s independence. Myanmar’s first military dictator Ne Win was also a member of the group. The Myanmar army officially known as the “Tatmadaw” has played a key role in Myanmar’s liberation struggle under the name “Burma’s Liberation Army”. At first the armed forces also received a lot of support and respect from the people, which eventually disappeared.
Historical background of Myanmar
- Military Rule
Burma, or the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is a country influenced largely by the sea war. Its current territory was under British control when it was founded three Anglo-Burmese Wars resulted in control Burma was incorporated in the 19th century. In 1886, India was annexed to the British Raj. Due to anti-colonial sentiment, the country gained independence in 1948.
Armed resistance, battles, and Japanese occupation Ance during WWII and the disintegration of the Soviet Union the British Empire’s dismantling (Charney 2009).Burma was a democratically run country when it became independent From 1948 through 1962, he was a member of the United States Air Force.
Furthermore, the military administration aimed to attract investment, minimise its reliance on China, and expand its international connections. In 2008, the junta proposed a new constitution, which is still in effect today, giving the military broad rights even under civilian governance. In 2011, the military junta was suddenly dissolved and a civilian parliament was established for a transitional period, during which former army bureaucrat and Prime Minister Then Sein was chosen president.
- Political reforms
After almost 50 years of military dictatorship, Myanmar witnessed a series of political upheavals 2011. That this should be understood as Conversion to democracy or military strategy to establish a partial accreditation law Controversial issue (Egreteau 2016). The process Began after the NLD election victory in 1990. The soldiers rejected the results but stopped a Constitutional Conference.
This was used later as the basis for making a one-sided constitution is Soldiers, inside their highway ‘With a progressive democracy’ (Huang 2016). Military rulers laid the foundation for a new era Teaching in 2008, which opened up politics Freedom during suspension Military power (Williams 2014). The 2008 Constitution provided the basis for elections to local and union parliaments in 2010 once, 2015, and by-elections in 2012.
Changes followed by consideration – A well-known academic and political debate about that Myanmar is facing a revolutionary change democracy, or if the military is an institution like- to consolidate the type of management that forms part of the authorization- and an increase in domestic and international
legitimacy (Cheesman, Farrelly & Wilson 2014; Cheesman, Skidmore & Wilson 2012; Egre- tea 2016; In 2016).
At the time of writing, seems very accurate to describe Myanmar as not fully authorized intermediate-itarian or apparently oriented towards democracy Although this may represent relative stability state of semi-authoritarianism, world the political path for the future remains open, as reflected in the 2015 elections. This does very important for international democracy help racism to build and implement politics – smart strategies support resilience democracy and peace.
What is the cause of Myanmar’s crisis?
Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is in crisis after half a century of military rule, tremendous poverty, and natural calamities. Some of the world’s most vulnerable and vulnerable people have been hosted by the world.
Myanmar is still reeling from the damage caused by Cyclone Komen in 2015, which displaced 1.7 million people. Meanwhile, 100,000 Muslims were compelled to leave the persecution by boat, with the majority drowning. Fighting has erupted in northern Shan State, forcing an estimated 3,500 people — mostly women and children from their homes.
What are major Myanmar’s humanitarian challenges?
Myanmar launched its political, social, and economic reforms in 2011. As a result, there were more liberties, less persecution, and more foreign investment. Despite these advancements, many people, particularly those in rural areas, continue to require lifesaving assistance.
Religious tensions are still prevalent, and healthcare services are critically underfunded. According to the United Nations, ongoing insecurity in Myanmar has displaced another 375,000 people, with many more fleeing to Thailand, where more than 140,000 people have been displaced.
In Myanmar, how does the IRC help?
Our purpose is to assist individuals whose lives and livelihoods have been disrupted by conflict and disaster in regaining control of their lives and futures.
In 2008, the IRC began working in Myanmar, delivering humanitarian aid in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. Since then, the IRC has established itself as a trusted partner of both government and non-governmental groups. We provide health care, water and sanitation services, as well as career training and community development project support.
We are focusing on some of the country’s most remote places, including Rakhine, Chin, and Shan states, as the country battles to recover from persistent violence and natural calamities. The IRC:
- Partnerships with local communities to promote access to safe drinking water, improve sanitation facilities, and prevent disease outbreaks; trains community health workers and supports mobile clinics to improve access to health care;
- Encourage farmers to learn contemporary agricultural practises and technology in order to help them recoup their losses;
- Enables communities to define and create their own development needs and recovery initiatives, such as new schools and health centres;
- Operates women’s and girls’ centres that give survivors of violence with skills training and support. What needs to be done?
- The International Rescue Committee’s work in Myanmar is more important than ever as people try to reconstruct their lives in the aftermath of natural disasters and internal turmoil.
- We commit to prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable—women, children, and the elderly—and to make quantifiable gains in decision-making power, safety, and health.
- We will continue to reach out to areas that have gotten little or no aid, and we will strive for gender equality in all of our activities.
Is 2011 a time of change?
President Thein Sein has spearheaded a series of reforms since 2011, including granting amnesty to political prisoners, easing media restrictions, and using economic measures to encourage international investment. Myanmar also had its first national, multi-party election since freedom from military control in 2015, which was widely regarded as free and fair. Suu Kyi’s opposition party achieved a resounding victory in parliament, obtaining a majority in both the upper and lower chambers.
Htin kyaw, a long-time supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi, has been elected as Myanmar’s first civilian leader in decades by new MPs. Suu kyi has been appointed to the newly created position of state adviser, thus making her the head of state.
Experts note, however, that the Tatmadaw still has a lot of power. A number of sections in the 2008 constitution preserves military rule. For instance, the military holds 25% of parliamentary seats, and any changes to the constitution require the consent of more than 75% of parliament, essentially giving the military veto power over any alteration. In addition, the union solidarity and development party (usdp), a military proxy, maintains seats in the defence, home, and border services strongholds.
What needs to be done?
As people struggle to reconstruct their lives in the aftermath of natural disasters and internal turmoil, the IRC’s work in Myanmar is more important than ever.
We commit to prioritising the needs of the most vulnerable—women, children, and the elderly—and to achieving quantifiable gains in decision-making power, safety, and health.
We will continue to expand our reach to areas that have gotten little or no assistance, and we will strive for gender equality in all of our activities IRC staff and partners are now providing lifesaving assistance to 462,000 individuals in Myanmar. We will concentrate on the following areas during the next few years:
The IRC will use its experience with social programmes to help individuals make better decisions about their health, education, and livelihoods. We’ll also work with local governments along the Thai border to improve refugee access, information, and support.
Victims of violence will receive support and referrals from the IRC. We’ll also offer safe areas for divisive groups and people to discuss their issues.
The IRC will continue to assist mobile health teams to reach remote areas. We will also work with the Myanmar government to strengthen the quality of local health care services.
With a focus on maternal health, we will work to ensure that women and adolescent girls are protected from unintended pregnancies and are treated for pregnancy and childbirth complications.
As with all our efforts, the IRC will strive to reach more people as soon as possible, increase the efficiency of our work, listen to the concerns of those affected by our work, and hold ourselves accountable for the results.
Myanmar, commonly known as Burma, has been a suburb of brutality for decades, poverty as a result of age-old economic policies, and ethnic and ethnic conflicts.
In 2011, the transition to community leadership raised hopes of democratic development. However, the military retained control of parts of the government, and security forces launched a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.
In February 2021, the military took over the state, declaring a year-long emergency and arresting dissidents such as de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and civil society activists.
Myanmar, in Southeast Asia, has been ruled by militants for decades and has been devastated by natural disasters. The IRC helps individuals to rebuild their lives by providing health care, water and sanitation services, and social assistance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This article is written by Samanta Rao, a student studying in final year pursuing BBA LLB from Centre for Legal Studies-Gitarattan International Business School, GGSIPU, New Delhi. The author is an ambitious, confident and hard-working law aspirant. She is very passionate about her work and takes initiative to accomplish her goals. She is highly innovative with a keen interest in writing articles and analysing judgements.
Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider