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Jakarta Post

[INSIGHT] Myanmar’s troubles signal erosion of democracy in Southeast Asia

  • James Gomez and Khin Mai Aung

    The Jakarta Post

Bangkok/New York   /   Sun, February 7, 2021   /  10:45 am
[INSIGHT] Myanmar’s troubles signal erosion of democracy in Southeast Asia Myanmar migrants hold up portraits of Aung San Suu Kyi as they take part in a demonstration outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok on Feb. 1, after Myanmar's military detained the country's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the country's president in a coup. (AFP/Lillian SUWANRUMPHA )

News of this week’s Myanmar coup heralded a serious setback for democracy in the region. But it must also be seen as a cautionary tale of what happens when reformist parties like Myanmar’s National League for Democracy (NLD) slide down the slippery slope of complicity in human rights abuses. Ultimately, the NLD not only failed to hold the Myanmar military – their political opponent, which ultimately ousted them – accountable for crimes against humanity directed at the Rohingya and other minorities, but cast their lot alongside them in the name of national unity. Nothing good could have come of this, and the outcome was all but guaranteed. It’s particularly tragic how ethnic minorities were caught in the NLD and military’s crossfire, and horrific how their disenfranchisement was manipulated to the military’s gain. The NLD played right into t...