Commentary | 20 October 2016

Myanmar's road ahead: Growth, peace, and US Sanctions

In this commentary, Research Fellow Aaron L. Connelly argues that the US should use its remaining sanctions authorities in Myanmar to discourage violence against the Rohingya, and to support the peace process.

Photo: Getty Images/Bloomberg

In this commentary, Research Fellow Aaron L. Connelly argues that the US should use its remaining sanctions authorities in Myanmar to discourage violence against the Rohingya, and to support the peace process.

Photo: Getty Images/Bloomberg

Summary

When Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) took power in Myanmar in March 2015, they inherited three especially daunting challenges: an economy devastated by decades of mismanagement and sanctions; virulent anti-Muslim sentiment among much of the country’s Buddhist majority; and a moribund peace process struggling to end nearly seven decades of ethnic insurgency in many of Myanmar’s border states.

The situation in Rakhine State – where conflict has flared between the Buddhist Rakhine, the majority ethnic group there, and the Muslim Rohingya, the minority – has been of particular concern. There is substantial risk that the region could be plunged back into communal violence on a scale not seen since the 2012 riots that killed nearly 200 and displaced 140,000, almost all of them Rohingya.

In this article for Foreign Affairs, Aaron L. Connelly argues that while the U.S. was right to remove most sanctions on Myanmar, it should use its remaining sanctions authorities creatively to discourage violence against the Rohingya, and to encourage China-backed rebels to come to the negotiating table and make peace.

Read the full article here.