Human Rights Watch (2009): The Resistance of the Monks | Buddhism and Activism in Burma | X & XI. Conclusion & Recommendations


X. Conclusion The ruling State Peace and Development Council was fearful of the social influence of monks and the power of Buddhism when the country’s long-awaited new constitution was put to a referendum in May 2008. Monks have traditionally been excluded from the formal political process in Burma, denied the right to vote, and prohibited…

Human Rights Watch (2009): The Resistance of the Monks | Buddhism and Activism in Burma | IX. International Networks


Photo: Colby Brown Photography After the crackdown, 54 Burmese monks in exile in Asia, Europe, and North America met in Los Angeles on October 27, 2007. Under the leadership of U Kovida, the 80-year-old former abbot of the Ma Soe Yin monastery in Mandalay, and U Pannya Vamsa, the 79-year-old abbot of the Burmese monastery…

Human Rights Watch (2009): The Resistance of the Monks | Buddhism and Activism in Burma | VIII. Cyclone Nargis and Its Aftermath


In 2008, Myanmar suffered its worst natural disaster on record when Cyclone Nargis swept through. Children in western Rakhine State walk along a debris-strewn road after 2010’s Cyclone Giri. | Photo: DPA On May 2, 2008, Burma was struck by its worst natural disaster in modern history. On that day, Cyclone Nargis tore into Burma’s Irrawaddy delta,…

Human Rights Watch (2009): The Resistance of the Monks | Buddhism and Activism in Burma | VII. The September 2007 Crackdown


Since the crackdown, many have wondered, “What happened to the monks?” Several hundred monks, possibly more than 1,000, were arrested, and 237 remain in prison as of August 2009.[1] Some fled overseas, but more went back to life as laypeople. Many monasteries in Rangoon and elsewhere now have less than half as many monks as they…

Human Rights Watch (2009): The Resistance of the Monks | Buddhism and Activism in Burma | VI – The Reemergence of Buddhist Political Activism in Burma


Young monk in Myanmar | Photo: Alessandro Bergamini The demonstrations in August and September 2007 were the largest popular protests against military rule in Burma in nearly 20 years. Human Rights Watch documented the demonstrations and the brutal crackdown by security forces, interviewing more than 100 eyewitnesses to the events. Our report, Crackdown: Repression of the…

Human Rights Watch (2009): The Resistance of the Monks | Buddhism and Activism in Burma | V – The SPDC and Buddhism


Photo: Abdul Rahman Roslan   Following the 1990 crackdown on the monks’ movement and the government’s efforts to show its Buddhist credentials, Buddhism became a central theme in many aspects of governance and social control. On a hill on the northern outskirts of Rangoon, the grandest pagoda to be built in years in Rangoon began…