Speaking on NPR’s Here & Now, Carnegie’s Vikram Nehru discussed the current situation in Myanmar in light of President Obama’s statement, at a joint press conference with Aang San Suu Kyi, that Myanmar’s political reforms are “still incomplete” and that the rights of the Rohingya need to be protected. Nehru described the persecution and violence suffered by the Rohingya after the military junta declared them stateless in 1982. He stated that they face widespread antagonism across all levels of society and that protecting their rights going forward would be difficult. This is especially true given the Rakhine Action Plan, which is a law that purports to offer the Rohingya a path to citizenship.
While seemingly positive, Nehru said, this law actually presents such difficult-to-meet requirements for citizenship that it may only help a few. Those Rohingya who are not “naturalized” face being put into internment camps. Nehru went on to discuss U.S. and international interest in Myanmar, stating that while reforms in Myanmar have been slow, there has been progress, which has invited more foreign investment into the country. Nehru finished by commenting that while the easy reforms in Myanmar have been implemented, institutional reforms are necessary going forward.