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Last Updated: Jul 28, 2016 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts

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Research Papers

Yawnghwe, Harn  and B.K Sen. "Burma’s Ethnic Problem is Constitutional," Burma Lawyer Council 11 (2002).

Summary: Has Burma really been on the brink of fragmentation since independence? Are the ethnic nationalities and the politics of ethnicity the root cause of the problem? Was General Ne Win correct when he claimed in 1962 that he had to seize state power to prevent Burma from disintegration? The current State Peace and Development Council also claims that there are 135 languages and 8 major races in Burma requiring a strong centralized military to keep the country together. Is this true?



The Role of State Constitutions in Protecting Nationality and Minority Rights Under Federalism: Dialogues in Support of a Democratic Transition in Burma. International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 2002.


Content: In this report, experts on federalism from India, Australia and Nigeria share comparative experiences. Although Australia is a wealthy, developed and industrialized country, it has a history of strong protections for State rights. The federation has held despite this history of autonomy and there are lessons to be learned from this. India and Nigeria have addressed the challenges of maintaining the federation in a context of limited resources for public administration, and where governance has been undermined by poverty, ethnic and religious conflicts. Nigeria is further challenged by its history of military rule and the need to re-build its democratic institutions.


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