Burma/Myanmar ‘in transition’? Implications for the displaced

on 25 March Tuesday -

Dr Zarni to speak on the instrumental role of Myanmar government and its state organs in the decades-long persecution of the Rohingya at the international conference on the refugees and stateless persons, Oxford University Refugee Studies Center


on 26 March Wednesday -
Dr Zarni to speak on Burma's transition at the Burma Briefing at Oxford University, 26 March 2014.



Burma/Myanmar ‘in transition’?
Implications for the displaced 

Since 2011 there have been many positive political changes in Myanmar, including the release of political prisoners, relaxation of censorship, peace talks with ethnic armies, and a general election scheduled for 2015. But is this really a country ‘in transition’ towards democracy? For every positive change, there is an equally compelling negative: continuing conflict and human rights violations in Kachin State, state collusion with the mass murder of Rohingya in Rakhine State, failure to conduct or commit to demilitarisation in other ethnic states. How can these political contradictions be resolved? How should they be interpreted? Above all, what are their implications for the hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced persons inside Myanmar and throughout the region? These questions will be the subject of a roundtable at the University of Oxford Refugee Studies Centre on 26th March 2014, organised in conjunction with Ockenden International. 

9.30-11.00 Ethnic nationalities and the question of transition 

This panel will provide an update on the conditions in Burma’s ethnic states and discuss the primary challenges facing refugees in Thailand, India and Malaysia. 

  • Jessica Nhkum, Kachin Women’s Association Thailand 
  • K’nyaw Paw, Karen Women Organisation 
  • Rosalinn Zahau, Chin Human Rights Organisation Delhi 
  • Zoya Phan, Burma Campaign UK 

Chair: Kirsten McConnachie 

11.30-1.00 A new aid paradigm? Donor and aid strategies 

This panel will discuss how donors can most effectively support genuine development in the country. It will also examine potential challenges, such as reduced funding for refugees on the Thailand-Burma border, the potential for internationally-funded programmes to undermine existing community-based projects, and the dangers of poorly coordinated aid. 

  • Jack Dunford, former Executive Director, The Border Consortium 
  • Pippa Curwen, Program Coordinator, Burma Relief Centre 
  • MaryBeth Morand, Policy & Evaluation Unit, UNHCR 

Chair: Gil Loescher 

2.00-4.30 The Rohingya: A regional crisis 

Speakers will discuss the continuing persecution of Rohingya and Burmese Muslims inside Myanmar, and the challenges faced by displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand. 

  • Tun Khin, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK 
  • Kyaw Win, Burmese Muslim Association 
  • Amal de Chickera, Equal Rights Trust 
  • Chris Lewa, Arakan Project 
  • Maung Zarni, University of Malaya 
  • Melanie Teff, Refugees International 

4.30-5.00 Concluding comments 

Registration is essential. Please contact kirsten.mcconnachie@lmh.ox.ac.uk to register.

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