Social group equality in respect for civil liberties

Jan. 23, 2017 Weekly Graphs

The operations have forced over 30.000 people of the Rohingyas Muslim minority to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and hundreds of casualties have been reported. UNHCR officials and human rights activists have accused Myanmar’s government of ethnic cleansing, specifically criticizing the reluctance of State Counsellor and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to take a decisive stand against the violence. In light of this crisis, this week’s graph examines the V-Dem variable measuring respect for civil liberties between social groups in Myanmar.

Using V-Dem’s Variable Graph Tool we compare the Social Group Equality in Respect for Civil Liberties variable in Myanmar with the Southeast Asian average. A high value indicates that members of all salient social groups enjoy the same level of civil liberties; a low level indicates that members of some social groups enjoy considerably fewer civil liberties than the general population. At the beginning of the 20th century, Myanmar and the Southeast Asian region as a whole both scored quite low. By the mid-1940s, however, equality started to increase. While the Southeast Asian average has since seen a modest but steady increase over time, the trajectory in Myanmar is different. After an increase in equality during the first years after independence from Britain in 1948, Myanmar’s scores decrease again after the establishment of military rule to a very low level where members of some social groups enjoy much fewer civil liberties than the general population. Although a minor improvement can be observed after 2009, social group equality is lower than the Southeast Asian average, as illustrated by the longstanding denial of civil liberties for Rohingyas by the government.

To learn more about civil liberties in Myanmar or any other country, use the Online Analysis Tool on 


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