FBA in Myanmar

Myanmar has, since its independence in 1948, been plagued by authoritarian rule and conflicts between the regime and different ethnic armed organizations. FBA’s activities in Myanmar are aimed at strengthening the rule of law and promoting inclusive peacebuilding.

In February 2021, the armed forces in Myanmar carried out a coup d’etat. State counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and president U Win Myint were detained, the parliament was suspended and a military junta led by commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing seized power. This has complicated the work for sustainable peace and democracy. FBA has suspended cooperation with official actors on national as well as regional levels, and activities have been adjusted.

For fifty years, Myanmar was a harsh dictatorship characterized by gross human rights violations. A gradual liberalization began after 2010, and a predominantly civilian government assumed power in 2016. Despite the armed forces maintaining a tight grip on important state institutions, there was hope for a continued democratization process.

The government and ten ethnic armed organizations have signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, concluded in 2015, with the long-term goal to reach a peace agreement through negotiations. But so far the peace talks have not been successful and fighting has even intensified in some parts of the country.

Myanmar is also one of the poorest countries in Asia. A third of the population is living in poverty with another third living close to the poverty line. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the economy, increasing the risk for violence and conflicts. 

Within the framework of Sweden’s development cooperation with Myanmar, FBA focuses on the following areas:

Security sector reform
Development of the security sector is important for sustainable peace in Myanmar. FBA offers capacity-building to key actors in order to strengthen transparency, accountability and democratic oversight of the security sector.

Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants
In order for the national ceasefire agreement to lead to a peace agreement, the parties need to agree on how members of the armed groups are to be employed in the state security sector, or undergo disarmament and reintegrate into civilian life. FBA provides capacity-building to key actors in Myanmar on international standards for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and how such programmes have been designed and implemented in other countries.

Rule of law, human rights and election support
Ethnic minorities have long been discriminated in Myanmar, and the perpetrators of abuse often enjoy impunity. FBA promotes understanding of the importance of rule of law and its main functions for just and inclusive societies, and thereby also for sustainable peace.

FBA strives to strengthen women’s participation in all areas of the work for peace, security and development in the country.

Click here to read the entire strategy for Sweden’s development cooperation with Myanmar 2018–2022.

Read more

New mission: peacebuilding in Myanmar

Laborious way towards democracy in Myanmar

Factsheet about FBA’s work in Myanmar

Photo: Eddy Milfort

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Johanna Gårdmark

Johanna is expert on international peace operations and civil-military cooperation

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