Tag Archive for Myanmar

Aung Sang Suu Kyi Committed to Peace and Inclusiveness

General Assembly Seventy-first session 10th plenary meetingGeneral Debate

Aung Sang Suu Kyi addressed yesterday the United Nations General Assembly for the first time as Myanmar’s leader. Myanmar is currently in a process to achieve peace after more than a decade of conflict, and the Club de Madrid has been involved in this effort supporting effective dialogue in the country, while trying to achieve a Shared Society during this democratic transition.

Aung Sang Suu Kyi key notes were the following:

About the peace process

  •  “Over six decades of internal arm conflict, a complex task to be addressed (..) National reconciliation is a major challenge for my Government”
  • “Union Peace Conference, 21st Centyru Panglong Conference, is based on principles of inclusiveness and Union. The conference is a first step on the journey to national reconciliation”


About the Rakhine State

  •  “We do not fear international scrutin”
  • “ We will adopt a sustainable, peaceful and a holistic approach focus on development in Rakhine State”
  • “There has been persistent opposition from some quarters to the establishment of the commission lead by Kofi Annan. However, we are determined to persevere in our endeavor to achieve harmony, peace and prosperity in the Rakhine state.”
  • “I would like to take the opportunity to ask for the understanding and constructive contribution of the international community”
  • “By standing firm against the forces of prejudice and intolerance, we are reaffirming our faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person.”


About Migration

  •  “Investigating roots and addressing causes of irregular migration to build peace and respect to human rights”
  • “Migrants contribution to global economy (…) collaboration between host and origin countries”


To listen her full speech, click here.

To read more about CdM project, click here.


Photo Credit: UN/Cia Pak


Social Media Campaign Fosters #Tolerance and #Friendship in #Myanmar



On June 4, 2015, the social media source, Global Voices, published the article “Selfie Campaign Promotes Interfaith Tolerance and Ethnic Diversity in Myanmar”. The Facebook campaign rooted in interreligious acceptance and mutual respect was launched in April in Myanmar with the hashtags #myfriend and #friendship_has_no_boundaries. The campaign, characterized by the classic selfies is led by youth from the city of Yangon, the largest metropolitan center in Myanmar.

People from different creeds pose together, making it clear that harmonious cohabitation among different religious groups is not only possible, but that close friendships among people of a diversity of faiths can be clearly seen and is a reality in Myanmar.

The campaign comes at a challenging time in Myanmar, when a tentative inter-ethnical peace process is being agreed this year. Myanmar has over 100 ethnic groups, languages and dialects, one of the richest examples of ethnic diversity in Asia.

In spite of recent events, the campaign shows a united determination to end discrimination and gives expression to the voice of solidarity towards friendship and respect for diversity, particularly among young people. The participants of the campaign are raising their voice to show that tolerance is stronger than hate.

Some of the captions from the pictures in the campaign read:

“I’m a Buddhist and My Friend is a Muslim. I’m a Boy and She is a Girl. We are different but we accept each other. Life is not permanent, enjoy yourself right now. Because friendship has no boundaries,” Han Seth Lu.

He is a Sikh and I’m a Muslim. But we are friends. Although we have diversities, we share our own opinions and beliefs, we accept and respect our different identities,” Su Yadanar Myint.

The social media campaign is aligned with some of the key principles of the Shared Societies Project: respect among members of a society where all have the right to express their ideologies while regarding the dignity of those around them.


Myanmar Portraits of Diversity, a new project by Kannan Arunasalam


Filmaker and journalist Kannan Arunasalam has launched last 15 July his new film Myanmar Portraits of Diversity, which brings the religious diversity in Myanmar into focus.

This project seeks to stimulate discussion and move audiences towards recognising, accepting and celebrating diversity in this country, featuring individuals that represent Myanmar’s different religious communities and making visible the kinds of inter-faith connections and engagement that take place naturally around this country.

Kannan Arunasalam uses documentary, photography and multimedia forms of storytelling. He was born in Jaffna (Sri Lnaka), grew up in London and returned to Sri Lanka in 2004. Kannan now splits his time between Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the United Kingdom. His work have been awarded and screened at international film festivals, winning awards and has been broadcasted on Al-Jazeera English language channel. His first film Kerosene won best documentary short at the South Asian International Documentary Festival 2013, Seattle; and his subsequent documentary short The Story of One won the inaugural Manuel Rivera-Ortiz Foundation grant prize in 2013.

Myanmar Portraits of Diversity  trailer is already available and the complete film will be on line for free in the coming days at Facebook.

Facebook Page of the film

Youtube channel of the film



Myanmar faces Buddhist-Muslim Ethnic Tensions in its Transition to Democracy

Captura de pantalla 2014-06-10 a las 13.32.20

Tensions in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and other regions have manifested in violent outbreaks in the past two years since June 2012, calling international attention to the high level of ethnic tension between the Muslim Rohingya and the Buddhist majority.

A recent Report of the Thailand-based human rights organization Fortify Rights, directed by Matthew Smith, Policies of Persecution: Ending Abusive State Policies Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar claiming to disclose the legal documents used to discriminate against Rohingya and other ethnic minorities. The release of this report comes at a delicate time, as Myanmar braces for its first national census in thirty years.

The report is based on twelve internal government documents detailing “restrictions on movement, marriage, childbirth and other aspects of everyday life,” eight of which delineate official policies targeting Rohingya, the group says. These include three Rakhine State regional orders and five addenda to those orders. Fortify Rights claims that although these were produced between 1993 and 2008, years of military dictatorship in Myanmar, their policies remain in effect today. The four other documents relating to Muslim citizens outside Rakhine State are not presented in the report but the organization claims that they are dated 2013 and “instructive as background findings.”

In a press release Smith claims that,

“The government is systematically persecuting Rohingya on the basis of ethnicity, religion, and at times gender.”

Fortify Rights maintains that the Rohingya population of 1.33 million is largely stateless and deprived of basic human rights, and that the Burmese government denies the existence of a Rohingya ethnicity. The organization also adds that the government tends to frame issues relating to the population as matters of national security, overpopulation and illegal immigration.

While the government has made efforts to stop further outbreaks of violence in the country through ceasefire agreements with armed minority groups, and the international community has acknowledged violence and displacement, the report explains that there has been a failure to address the “devastating systematic abuses perpetrated against the Rohingya on a daily basis.” In other words, Fortify Rights asserts that because it is a normalized phenomenon authorized by legal documents, everyday social exclusion often fails to draw international attention.  

The documents put forth by Fortify Rights can provide a basis for negotiation on which Myanmar can focus on an equitable society. Institutions and legal framework as safeguards for the protection of individuals’ rights and the governmental obligation to maintain these institutions are pillars of the commitments of the Shared Societies Project. Discrimination and exclusion that derives in some way from legal documents and institutions can be fought through legal and institutional means.


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