_By Josh Powell
Queen's College, Oxford
December 2011

Ethnic minorities make up roughly 40% of the Burmese population, yet many of these minorities have been sorely oppressed for decades. Despite ‘full autonomy in internal administration for the frontier areas’ promised in the Panglong Agreement of 1947, this has never materialised, and many groups, among them the Karen, Shan and Kachin, have been attacked ruthlessly as part of the government policy of ‘Burmisation’: an attempt to maintain the geographical and cultural integrity of Burma, preventing minorities from establishing autonomy; a policy which has also led to widespread religious persecution such as that of the Muslim Rohingya people. Burma’s ethnic national tribal groups have suffered countless human rights abuses: millions have been displaced, both internally and into neighbouring countries; many, including children have been enslaved as forced labourers or soldiers; rape has been consistently used as weapon of war; civilians have been deliberately targeted by the army; and many villages have simply ceased to exist.


Oxford Burma Alliance