Burma. According to
Countryaah, Burma's largest political party The National
Democratic Alliance (National League for Democracy, NLD) was
allowed by the military junta to hold congress with party
leader Aung San Suu Kyi in May. It was the only conciliatory
gesture on the part of the military junta in a year marked
by fierce political confrontation. The tension increased
significantly since the NLD put the ultimatum to the junta
to convene the parliament elected in 1990 by 21 August, when
the NLD won a grand victory but was deprived of the right to
form a government. On three occasions in July and August,
Aung San Suu Kyi was prevented from visiting party friends
abroad. Since the NLD on August 21 announced its intention
to convene a "People's Parliament" itself, the military
junta seized hundreds of members of the party. A fierce
campaign against Aung San Suu Kyi was staged in the
state-controlled media and at mass meetings.
The military junta was pressured by an increasingly poor
economy with increased budget deficits, 100 percent
inflation and almost completely halted growth. Hard currency
restrictions were introduced to prevent the currency reserve
from being emptied. The regulations were criticized by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), which demanded that the
value of the currency, Kyat, be written down to a realistic
level. The World Bank stopped all lending to Burma since the
junta was unable to pay off its debt of SEK 14 million.
For the first time in 25 years, a resolution was not
passed in September at the UN General Assembly on Myanmar.
The reason was that the EU made no one. This was remarkable
since none of the points of previous years' resolutions had
yet been fulfilled. In October, the United States removed
most of its sanctions against the country and gave it trade
preferences. Since April, Myanmar has gradually introduced
more restrictions on foreign observers' access.
The situation of the Rohingya population in the Rakhine
state was drastically worsened in the latter half of 2016. A
border police station on the border with Malaysia was
attacked in October and 9 policemen were killed. Reportedly
by a Rohingya armed group. Security forces immediately
embarked on a large-scale "cleansing operation" that
isolated the area from the outside world and prevented
journalists and human rights observers from entering. The
security forces blamed indiscriminate killings, rapes, armed
attacks on civilians and the burning of villages. 27,000
Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh.
A total of 220,000 were internally displaced in the
country by the end of 2016. The 120,000 in Rakhine and
100,000 in the northern part of the country.
Myanmar's contemporary history
Myanmar's contemporary history dates back to 1988, when
the Democratic Movement demonstrations led General Ne Win,
who had ruled the country dictatorship for nearly 30 years,
to resign as party leader of the Burma's Socialist Program
Party and de facto head of state. The military government
that Ne Win had been a part of was reorganized and a junta
called the State Council for the Restoration of Law and
Order (SLORC) took charge.
In 1989, the country, formerly called Burma, changed its
name to Myanmar. The regime, which carried out a strong
military armament, was accused of violating human rights and
Myanmar was isolated internationally. The 1990 election was
won by the opposition party NLD (National League for
Democracy) led by Aung San Suu Kyi, but she was refused to
take power and placed in house arrest for extended periods
until she was released on November 13, 2010. In the same
year, the first elections of 20 years held. From 2011,
reforms have led the country in a more democratic direction.
Since 2012, religious violence, particularly targeting
the Muslim part of the population, has threatened the
stability of the country and Myanmar has seen a boom of
Buddhist ultranationalism. Particularly serious has been the
sectarian violence in Rakhine province, where there have
been several clashes between the Buddhist Rakhine population
and the Muslim Rohingya population.