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Title: Myanmar’s Democratic Malaise: Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing & Democratization
Authors: Azumi, Rina
Advisors: Bass, Gary
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: Democratization is seldom a peaceful process. This thesis asserts that Myanmar’s recently adopted progressive democratic reforms is the direct determinant of its ongoing maltreatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority that has led to an internal humanitarian crisis and a region-wide refugee problem. In Myanmar, the military-aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has made sweeping reforms to steer the country away from its military dictatorship. The party accepted Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) as the victor in the November 2015 elections, verifying the USDP’s commitment to follow through with the democratic transition. Democratic reform has urged Myanmar to improve its human rights record and adopt basic political and civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and assembly. It has given the political parties in the opposition the ability to compete by public campaigning and rallying mass support. All of these are positive indications of democracy. However, as a complex ethno-religious society, exclusionary ethnic and religious nationalism has found a place in Myanmar’s political movement. Anti-Muslim chauvinism and aggressive Bamar-Buddhist nationalism have been used as voteamassing strategies by political and religious figures. The free media has been used as a forum to voice hate speech and arouse nationalist sentiments. This thesis supports theories of political science that argue that ethnic diversity and democratization threaten national peace and unity as exemplified by the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population.
Extent: 85 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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