Myanmar’s Treatment of the Rohingya: A Road Block to Reintegration or Just a Bump in the Road?

The historic election of Aung San Suu Kyi’s party – the National League for Democracy – in 2015 was met with sighs of relief in the international community. The replacement of a repressive military junta by a Nobel Peace Prize recipient appeared to signal the beginning of Myanmar’s rehabilitation with much of the international community. However, since then there has been an increasing focus on Myanmar’s Treatment of the Rohingya – a minority Muslim group whose plight has gone unnoticed. The world’s reaction, and in particular the reaction of Myanmar’s regional neighbours, when faced with plausible accounts of violence directed against the Rohingya has been curiously muted. This is perhaps partly due to the halo effect of Aung San Suu Kyi’s election. Nevertheless, the fallout from the persecution of the Rohingya cannot be confined within Myanmar’s borders alone. The treatment of the Rohingya is likely to have significant consequences for the medium-term development of Myanmar’s relations with its neighbours.