Political situation Myanmar

In 2016, the Netherlands opened a new embassy in Myanmar to support the democratic transition which started in 2011 and led to the election of a civilian government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi in 2015.

The Netherlands collaborates with Myanmar on several themes, with the goal of supporting the democratic transition, promoting human rights, and stimulating sustainable economic development. The Netherlands is convinced the democratic transition offers opportunities to the Myanmar population with regard to growth, development and freedom.

From the start it was clear that the transition would not only offer opportunities, but also brings about great challenges and tensions. The former military authorities withdrew only partly, Myanmar is still struggling with many internal (violent) conflicts; and the human rights situation remains concerning.

In 2017, the conflict regarding the Rohingya minority escalated, resulting in the expulsion of over 700.000 Rohingya by the army and security services from Myanmar. Large-scale violence and serious human rights violations took place during these events. The Netherlands strictly condemns these violations, and is one of the internationally leading voices calling for accountability and justice for these crimes, for example through the International Criminal Court.

The EU has announced targeted sanctions against involved personnel of the armed forces. The Netherlands further exerts pressure in bilateral and international (EU) connection with Myanmar to improve the current situation and stimulate the sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya.

The Netherlands believes that the combination of a critical attitude regarding the human rights violations, whilst supporting the democratic transition and economic development is the right balance to strengthen Myanmar’s young democracy.

Dutch organizations with activities in, or with Myanmar are advised to educate themselves regarding the complex political reality and to act within the responsibilities outlined by the OECD-guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the framework of International Corporate Social Responsibility by the RVO.