On 13 June 2023, Asia Centre and FORSEA held a virtual launch and discussion of Asia Centre’s latest report Burmanisation and Buddhisation: The Coup’s Impact on Religious Minorities. The event, which was hosted on FORSEA’s Youtube channel, received over 60 views within the first night.
The report was first released online to the public and the media on 8 June 2023. The next day, The Online Citizen published an article, “Asia Centre highlights Myanmar’s alarming erosion of religious rights in new report.”
Asia Centre was also invited to present the report at a closed-door meeting with representatives of INGOs and local partners interested in the state of FoRB in Myanmar. This meeting not only discussed the impacts of the 2021 coup on the state of Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in Myanmar and the ideologies of Burmanisation and Buddhisation, but also included a discussion about the impact of FoRB violations on indigenous peoples and their commitment to environmental protection.
The key research findings were additionally promoted via an online campaign with infographics posted on Asia Centre’s social media platforms, Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram. In less than a week of releasing the report online, there have already been over 1,500 downloads.
In the report launch event, Dr. Gomez elaborated on the definitions of “Burmanisation and Buddhisation”, framing these two concepts as political ideologies of the Military in its pursuit of combatting terrorism and national security threats posed by the diverse ethno-religious communities of the nation. The discussion also brought comparisons between the situation in Myanmar with neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and Malaysia on the politicisation of national and religious identities to serve the aims of the ruling governments.
The report launch also highlighted the recommendations that can be adopted by the international community, INGOs, and CSOs to reduce the impact of the coup on Religious Freedoms in Myanmar. While the government is strongly urged to review, repeal and amend laws that are discriminatory, NGOs and CSOs have an active role to monitor and report the infringement of rights by the state.
The report aims to provide a baseline study on the state of freedom of religion or belief, and how developments related to the 2021 coup have impacted the rights of ethno-religious minorities. The policy report is part of Asia Centre’s FoRB Knowledge Hub efforts to publish evidence-based research and increase advocacy for the religious rights of people in Southeast Asia.
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