Sectarian Violence in Myanmar

Sectarian Violence in Myanmar

Increased sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar's Rakhine state

 

Ongoing violence between Myanmar’s Buddhist and Muslim communities continues to worsen in the Rakhine State. Over the past two years, more than one hundred thousand Muslims have been made homeless and hundreds have been killed. Two waves of attacks in June and October of 2012 intensified the century-old conflict in the predominantly Buddhist country.

Buddhist mobs target the Rohingya—an ethnic, Muslim group numbering around one million in Myanmar—who are not considered citizens by the Burmese government. Buddhist nationalist groups, including the 969 Movement—an anti-Muslim campaign led by Buddhist extremists—call for boycotts on Muslim shops and encourage attacks on Muslim communities, as well as the expulsion of Muslims from Myanmar.

The displacement of the Rohingya has significantly increased tension between Myanmar and its neighbors. Bangladesh sealed off its border with Myanmar to prevent an influx of refugees, contributing to the increase of refugees fleeing by boat or clustering in refugee camps, particularly on the border with Thailand.

Myanmar’s stability is increasingly important to U.S. interests, given Myanmar’s geostrategic importance in Southeast Asia and vast natural resources. Despite the United States’ attempt to reform its relationship with the pro-democratic Burmese government, the human rights issue will continue to remain a wedge between the two countries.

 

Background Information
Breaking News on Sectarian Violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State
    Primary Sources
    Latest CFR Analysis
    Related CFR Experts