Myanmar and social group power

Oct. 6, 2017 Weekly Graphs

Recently, the situation of the Rohingya people in Myanmar has grabbed the world’s attention. Following attacks by suspected Rohingya militants on border police in the Rakhine state in October 2016, security forces initiated a crackdown in the region. In the wake of the military operations, numerous human rights violations have been reported, and hundreds of thousands of people have fled the area. As the Rohingya have been denied citizenship in Myanmar, their rights are heavily limited, and human rights organizations as well as the United Nations have warned about a potential genocide. 

This week’s graph looks at the distribution of political power by social groups, and compares the historical development in Myanmar with the general trend in South-East Asia. On the scale, a zero indicates that political power is completely monopolized by one social group, compromising a minority of the population, and a four indicates an equal distribution of power, or social group characteristics being of no importance in politics. 

In Myanmar, the decline in the early 1960’s reflects the 1962 Burmese coup d’état, where the military rule effectively ended the political participation, and recognition, of the Rohingya. Although small improvements were made in the 1990s, the 2011-2015 political reforms undertaken by the military backed government led to improvements in this area over the last 8 years. However, the recent developments shows a worrying short term trend towards less equal distribution of political power, with the government’s treatment of the Rohingya as a specific concern.

To find out more about equality between social groups in Myanmar, or any other country in the world, use our online analysis tools at

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