The last election in Myanmar gave hope to minority groups in the country. After five decades of military rule, the National League for Democracy (NLD), party of Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide victory in the country’s first truly democratic election since 1990.
The NLD victory and the fact that the military has not intervened is surely a positive sign in Myanmar, but in a lot of ways the hardest work remains to be done.
As of last week, an estimated 8,000 Rohingya refugees from Burma and Bangladesh were adrift on ships in the Indian Ocean, according to the International Organization for Migration.
The state-sponsored violence that took place against student demonstrators in Burma this month is a shocking reminder that the country is just beginning its transition to democracy and still has a very long way to go.
While investment in Burma’s infrastructure is welcome, support for development without also addressing accountability and reconciliation perpetuates impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations.