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Myanmar

PeaceRep’s Myanmar research

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Our Myanmar research seeks to understand, analyse and explore opportunities for peace and democracy in Myanmar. Through research, stakeholder engagement, and comparative analysis, the programme seeks to explore the evolving nature of the crisis in Myanmar, and how domestic and international support could be leveraged to support Myanmar’s transition into a peaceful, democratic and inclusive state.

Track and monitor the implementation of peace and transition processes for Myanmar via the PA-X Tracker.

Relatives gather around a bus carrying prisoners being released outside the Insein prison in Yangon on November 17, 2022. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
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Since the early days of independence, Myanmar has witnessed multiple armed conflicts and decades of authoritarian rule. There have been attempts, notably since 2011, to address its ‘twin transitions’- from authoritarians to democratic rule, and war to peace – through negotiations between the state and varied Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs)/ Ethnic Resistance Organisations (EROs). The military coup in February 2021 has derailed prospects of such twin processes. Since the coup, Myanmar has been in a situation of political instability with continued targeted attacks on protestors and civilians by the military, countrywide protests, and resumption of violence in different parts of the country–triggering humanitarian and economic crises.

Post-coup, the military formed the State Administration Council (SAC). The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), a political body formed by democratically elected candidates of the National League for Democracy (NLD) challenged the military’s claim to power, and in turn formed the National Unity Government (NUG), as an alternative for the military government. The opposition to the military, including the NUG, the EAOs, and the popular ‘revolution’ against the military junta have gained ground and legitimacy but continue to face multiple challenges. While unity among the anti-military opposition may be difficult and even undesirable, even rallying around a share vision for the country remains challenging logistically and politically, despite the considerable work achieved in the Federal Democracy Charter process.

In this context, our research on Myanmar includes several threads, including:

1. Research on the fragmentation of international actors and support to Myanmar. PeaceRep is mapping the divisions between regional actors, like India, China and Thailand, and Western states in supporting the political transition in Myanmar. This strand of research aims to i) understand the changing nature of international support, ii) its implication for the more established liberal forms of peacebuilding and democracy assistance, and the iii) impact of such diverse forms of international engagement on the political transition in Myanmar.

2. Convening the Study Group on Myanmar. Since November 2021, PeaceRep has been convening a Study Group to support responses to this situation from within Myanmar and among external actors. The aim of the Study Group is to review, assess, and promote a shared understanding of the challenges facing Myanmar in a rapidly shifting post-coup context. The Group meets every 1-2 months to explore key issues impacting the political transition in Myanmar. These convenings have provided a broad forum for domestic and international stakeholders to come together to explore and discuss key issues in the unfolding context. The themes covered included:

i. examining the multiple dialogue processes emerging between varied political constituencies in post-coup Myanmar;

ii. the status and challenges of the NUCC/NUG constitutional deliberation process;

iii. recognition/non-recognition of governments – policy and practice relating to Myanmar post-coup;

iv. the impact of the coup on governance mechanisms to deliver Covid-19 relief

3. Capacity Building. PeaceRep and the Edinburgh Centre for Constitutional Law have been working with our International IDEA to provide a variety of constitutional advisory and training support to Myanmar institutions and actors. Activities have included capacity building and advisory initiatives to the Union Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court, the Attorney General’s Department, the Pyidaungsu Hlutaw, State and Regional Governments and Legislatures, political parties, university academics, and civil society groups and activists. Researchers have also provided confidential legal advice to the international community on implications of the military takeover in February 2021 for Myanmar constitutional law and for international law.

4. Fragment state mapping.

 

Team

The PeaceRep Myanmar team includes Monalisa Adhikari (University of Stirling), Asanga Welikala (University of Edinburgh), Miguel Pantaleon and Zahed Yousuf (Dialectiq) and Ashley South (independent consultant).

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Myanmar Research

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