The Coming Extinction: The Moken People of Burma’s Mergui Archipelago

The Moken people are an indigenous tribal group that resides in the Mergui (Myeik)archipelago, which is considered to be part of Burma (Myanmar) in the Tanintharyi Region. The archipelago has remained a remote island despite Burma’s“democratic” opening. The Moken have resided on this archipelago for hundreds of years. They are a group that is not well known around the world and are barely discussed within the context of Burma’s ongoing human rights violations and mass atrocities. This is in large part due to the larger groups that reside in the country whoare far more visible to the international community and the grotesque human rights violations perpetrated against them are easier to document compared to those perpetrated against the Moken.

This report examines the history of the Moken people and questions whether Burma and other entities are engaged in behaviour which violates international human rights. This report is divided into five parts. Part I introduces the reader to the Moken people and their history. Part II will discuss the Moken’s cultural practices and religious beliefs. Part III examines the relationship between the Moken and Burma, including the Burmese government. Part IV highlights applicable international human rights. Part V will make recommendations on the protection of the remaining Moken people.


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