Communal Conflict and Myanmar’s Parliament

The first article in a forthcoming special issue on Interpreting Communal Violence in Myanmar, guest edited by Nick Cheesman, is available at the JCA publisher’s site for the journal.

Chit Win

In their paper, “Communal Conflict in Myanmar: The Legislature’s Response, 2012–2015” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1291847), Chit Win, from the Department of Social and Political Change at the Australian National University and Thomas Kean, an independent scholar and journalist based in Myanmar, write on the response of Myanmar’s most recent legislature to conflicts associated with the violence mostly against Rohingya in Rakhine State.

Thomas Kean

The abstract for the paper states:

From 2011 Myanmar’s nascent legislature quickly became a symbol of the country’s transition from military rule by exhibiting its autonomy and by sometimes acting as a check on the executive. While expectations grew that it would play a significant role in the transition from military to quasi-civilian rule, including managing ethnic conflicts, its reluctance to tackle sectarian violence represented a major setback for the legislature’s credibility. Using legislative records and interviews, this article provides a detailed empirical study of how Myanmar’s legislature and its lawmakers responded to these ethnic conflicts, both inside and outside the chamber. Building on studies of the role of legislatures in conflict management, this article argues that while Myanmar’s legislature could have responded more proactively, at the very least it prevented itself from becoming a forum for populist politics that could have further inflamed tensions.

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