The Specter of Mass Killings in Burma

Myanmar, or Burma’s struggle to build a democracy is visible in many spheres of life including many problematic provisions in the new constitution: “These give the military a quarter of the seats in parliament (and thus a veto over constitutional reform) … and complete immunity from civilian oversight,” writes Larry Diamond for the Atlantic. “They also continue to deny Burma’s minorities (about a third of the population) meaningful devolution of power and resources….” Religious intolerance against Christian, Muslim and other minorities threatens both democracy and stability. Myanmar treats Buddhism as a state religion and does not recognize the Muslim Rohingya minority as citizens; the United Nations is investigating reports of a massacre of Rohingya by Buddhist extremists. Diamond points out that “Any religious sentiment – with its strong sense of the holy and profane, and its clear identification of members and outsiders – is vulnerable to cynical exploitation.” Political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who don’t’ denounce the discrimination risk losing moral authority and the support of the international community. – YaleGlobal

The Specter of Mass Killings in Burma

Religious intolerance is threatening Burma’s tenuous transition to democracy – and leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi should speak out
Larry Diamond
Monday, February 3, 2014
Copyright © 2014 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved

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