Internal conflict is a major problem in different countries or regions.
Internal conflicts can be contributed by different factors, which
include religion, culture, political environment or even economic
issues. Most countries have experienced internal conflicts as a result
of the above causes or other contributions. However, the United Nations
has a role to play in uniting individuals in a given area as a result of
its peacekeeping mission and responsibility of keeping other nations
secure. In this assignment, internal conflict in Burma will be discussed
and the role of the United Nations in the peacekeeping mission.
The internal conflict in Burma is one of the longest global running
civil, which began after the nation attained its independence in 1948.
Successive governments of Burma have fought a myriad of political and
ethnic rebellions. Therefore, the causes of the internal conflict in
Burma have not been converging, but divergent.
One of the causes of the internal conflicts in Burma is religion.
Religion has played a key role in initiating conflicts in Burma the
situation in Burma degenerated after the instatement of Buddhism as the
nation’s official religion. The conflict emerged as a result of not
addressing the rights of Christians and other religions (Bercovitch &
DeRouen, 2011). All individuals have the right to follow their beliefs
and no one should stop them from practicing their faith. However, the
situation was different in Burma since people could not feel free in
following their faith. This did not go well with them, and as a result,
there was a rebellion. Under federalism, certain groups had superior
powers than others as enshrined in the nation’s constitution. This
made different groups to oppose the move as they demanded their rights.
This could not be addressed in a positive move as conflict was involved
as people tried to seek their rights. Hence, the right to religion
contributed to the internal conflict in Burma. The nation tried to seek
unity by uniting all citizens through one religion however, this was
exceedingly difficult since different people of the nation professed
different religions. It is remarkably cumbersome to unite people through
one religion given the difference in human nature to seek varied faith
(Bercovitch & DeRouen, 2011). Although successive governments tried to
establish one religion as the dominant religion, in the nation, it was
difficult for people to follow one religion, which resulted in religious
conflict. The consideration of Buddhism as the dominant religion, while
other religions still existed was a chief contributor to conflict.
Hence, the right to religion contributed to the internal conflict in
Another root cause of the conflict in Burma was ethnic differences. The
nation constituted of three primary ethnic nationalities namely Karen,
the Arakan and Mon people. These were regarded as the Burma proper.
These ethnic groups were not invited officially to the Panglong
conference. In fact, they were represented by General Aung San as Burma
proper people. The future of the dominant ethnic groups, especially the
Karen who had demanded a separate state, was not properly addressed at
the Panglong conference. This instigated the first shot of ethnic
conflict, which was as a result of a difference in state formation. It
is always regarded as vital to consider all the ethnic makeup of a
country in planning for a country’s future development. When an ethnic
group is left out in the national planning, there is always a reaction
from the group as it seeks its right of inclusion. This was not
different in Burma as different ethnic groups became involved in ethnic
conflicts as they sought the right of inclusion in the nation’s future
planning. Conflicts based on the ethnic involvement in the nation’s
development is still an issue up to date since different ethnic groups
feel that they are not involved as part of the nation. The internal
conflict resulted because the nation wanted to assume one ethnicity,
which was not feasible due to the different ethnic groups that existed
in the nation.
Apart from religious and ethnic differences, political development is
also another root cause of internal conflict in Burma. There is a
conflict between the ethnic nationalities and the government. After
independence, there was a misconception between nation building and
state building. Different ethnic groups considered the formation of
states after the gaining of independence however, the political ground
did not support the formation of states, but the development of the
nation as one (Bercovitch & DeRouen, 2011). This did not go well will
the political environment of the time as people sought the creation of
states, which the government did not implement. The government
implemented nation building process due to forced assimilation by the
successive governments. The successive governments did not follow the
will of the people since there was the notion of creating one nation
having one religion, one ethnicity and one language. This was contrary
to the will of the people since they wanted an all inclusive government,
which constituted all the ethnic groups they felt that the government
had political interest in one group and did not consider their needs of
creating states, where different ethnic groups could have their states
(In Raghavan et al, 2011). Besides, the constitutional powers were such
that they discriminated against certain minority groups while
considering the rights of the dominant groups. This was a political
problem because the arms of the government were involved in the making
of different policies followed by the nation. In addition, the
constitutional rights were different for different groups in the nation
as a result of political dominance.
In addition, cultural difference contributed to the internal conflict in
Burma. Because of the different ethnic groups that the nation has, there
was difference in culture, which was also contributed by the differences
amid the ethnic groups. As different groups claimed to be dominant in a
certain culture that could be recognized in the entire nation, there
emerged a conflict since no group wanted its culture to lie behind of
others (Smith et al, 2007). Hence, as different groups wanted to have
their culture recognized, they engaged other dominant groups in
As part of its peacekeeping mission, the United Nations had a role to
play in the internal conflict of Burma. One of the roles that the United
Nations played was providing amicable solutions to the ethnic groups in
the nation. Since the UN wanted to contain the situation in the country,
it used its arms to curb the ethnic differences however, this did not
work. Another role that the UN was involved in was providing the
citizens with food and shelter as a way of ending the clashes. In
addition, the UN lifted sanctions to the country as a way of ending the
Bercovitch, J., & DeRouen, K. R. (2011). Unraveling internal conflicts
in East Asia and the Pacific: Incidence, consequences, and resolutions.
Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Smith, M., Institute of Southeast Asian Studies., & East-West Center
Washington. (2007). State of strife: The dynamics of ethnic conflict in
Burma. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
In Raghavan, V. R., Centre for Security Analysis (Chennai, India), &
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. (2011). Internal conflicts in
Myanmar: Transnational consequences. New Delhi: Vij Books India Pvt Ltd.
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Internal conflict is a major problem in different countries or regions.