“The democratic world viewed Myanmar’s 2015 election as a milestone in the country’s transition to democracy. But this year’s election reveals just how far from the promise of democracy the country has fallen.
With more than 1 million people disenfranchised or displaced, Myanmar’s election will not be free and fair. The vast majority of Myanmar’s Rohingya and many people of other ethnic minorities will be denied the chance to vote. Among them are nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees who remain in neighbouring Bangladesh and 600,000 Rohingya who continue to face abuse and atrocities inside Myanmar.
The United States and its global partners must recognize the election for the farce it is and press Myanmar’s leaders to address the serious issues holding the country back from real democracy and prosperity. A first step is to recognize Myanmar’s crimes against the Rohingya for what they are: genocide. That determination must be followed by a multilateral effort to press Myanmar to end the persecution of minorities, hold military forces accountable for serious crimes, and create the conditions that will allow for the safe, voluntary, dignified return of refugees.
Democracy only stands a chance when every voice counts. – Statement from Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel P. Sullivan of Refugees International