Myanmar’s Ethnic Minorities Marginalized More

For the first time in over half a century, Myanmar has a government with a popular mandate, led by the National League for Democracy (NLD). Although the Myanmar armed forces still have extensive political powers under the 2008 constitution, and may seriously curtail the independent action of the new government, the inauguration of President Htin Kyaw represents a radical increase in the internal and international legitimacy of the Myanmar State.


Paradoxically, this coincides with a setback for the country’s ethnic minorities and their struggle for autonomous status. Myanmar’s ethnic minority organisations now face a double marginalisation, militarily as well as politically. It is a new era for Myanmar, but there is trouble ahead for ethnic minorities.

There are two main tiers in Myanmar’s peace process. The first is the process of negotiations between the government and the many ethnic armed groups. The second tier is a wider process of including ethnic minorities in political decision-making at the Union, state and regional levels. The success of the first tier is tremendously important for the second.

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