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Myanmar Independence Day

January 4th is celebrated as #Myanmar Independence Day. After 124 years of #British rule, former #Burma (now Myanmar) negotiated independence on this day in 1948.

Burma became an important front for the Second World War (#WW2), where the Japanese, the British, the Chinese and the American forces collided to gain an upper hand. The British government had to promise independence to Burma, in return for which Burma agreed to take a stand against the Japanese invasion from 1944-45. Following the War, the Union of Burma was created in 1948, following the #Panglong Agreement.

Myanmar’s post-independence history has had many changes. After an initial effort to set up a democratic government, the country fell under long years of military rule. The Myanmar Armed forces (#Tatmadaw) had been involved in ethnic #persecution for years. Myanmar is a #Buddhist majority country, and the governments have been accused of showing preference to Buddhism over other #minority religions. Minorities have faced discrimination in form of educational policies, social and cultural norms and in extreme cases, military persecutions.

The #Rohingyas, an #Islam-adherent minority group predominantly living in the #Rakhine State, have faced military persecution since the 1980s. The 1982 Nationality Law have denied the Rohingyas citizenship, thus leaving them in an eternal situation of #statelessness. Lack of #education and economic #discrimination has forced them into #poverty. Their conditions did not improve even when the country tried to re-establish #democracy in the 2010s. Continuous #military#violence has led to the displacement of nearly 1 million Rohingyas. As Myanmar has backtracked to military rule, the situation for the Rohingya community seems unlikely to improve in future.

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