Addressing Religion in Conflict: Insights from Myanmar

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Angela Ullmann


Peaceful coexistence between groups belonging to different religious traditions is under pressure in Myanmar today. Despite this, various peacebuilding initiatives aimed at addressing issues that involve interfaith or intercommunal relations and peaceful coexistence between religious communities in Myanmar exist. This article looks at what Myanmar and international peace practitioners and policy makers can learn from selected initiatives addressing intercommunal relations in Myanmar after the violent incidents of 2012. Key insights are drawn from three cae studies. First, is the insight that there are a diversity of approaches to address religion in conflict and it is important to match one’s approach according to what is driving the conflict, rather than using interfaith exchange as a panacea for religion in conflict. Second, the religious identity of peace practitioners impacts their scope of engagement, which makes working in religiously and culturally balanced teams, as well as working together with insider peacebuilders, all the more important. Third, religion can play the role of a divider and a connector across local, national, and international system boundaries. Even if a practitioner focuses on one arena, religion’s transboundary nature has implications for process design and needs to be dealt with consciousy.

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How to Cite
Ullmann, A. (2017). Addressing Religion in Conflict: Insights from Myanmar. Journal of Human Rights and Peace Studies, 3(2), 129–158. Retrieved from
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