Canberra & Region Quakers

QPLC Watching Brief — Toward Peace & Justice in Myanmar

This Brief outlines recent developments in Myanmar, and responses to the ongoing conflict there. It draws on a recent webinar arranged by Queensland Friends on 11 February 2024, at which Friends from USA, Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Burma and Australia shared information and insights. It also includes (a) an article by Emily Aung (A Myanmar national who is in the support group for the National Unity Government of Myanmar), (b) comments by Kwi Kwih a peaceworker in Karenland about what is happening in border regions, and (c) notes on a recent meeting in Melbourne about the crisis.

Suggested action is highlighted in the first article.

The Situation in Myanmar Three Years after the Coup d’État (by Emily Aung)

On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar military, also known as Tatmadaw, violently overthrew the democratically elected government, imprisoning the democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, arresting lawmakers, trade unionists, journalists, and peaceful protestors. Recently the Tatmadaw began implementing conscription for all individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 million people nationwide have since risen up in opposition to the junta with the aim of finally rooting out this notoriously brutal group, which has terrorized its own people for decades. Since its failed coup on 1 February 2021, the Junta has killed 4613 people, including children, the elderly, and women. Furthermore, over 1.95 million people are displaced within Myanmar and humanitarian access for them is not predictable. In recent months, the junta has escalated its use of airstrikes to terrorize and murder Myanmar civilians throughout the country including people in IDP camps. From May to December 2023 alone, the junta launched 1,022 airstrikes, amounting to at least six airstrikes per day. As a result, 321 civilians were killed, 583 were injured, and numerous schools, medical facilities, and religious buildings were damaged.

Recently, the Australian government imposed further targeted sanctions on five entities in Myanmar, designed to limit the regime’s access to the funds and military materiel that enable it to continue to commit atrocities against its own people. Additionally, the military junta received condemnation from the Members of the United Nations Security Council due to their atrocities and disregard for the international norms. On August 24, 2023, the council members once again urged the military to cease the violence and refrain from killing civilians. In a more recent development, five European countries and Canada have joined Gambia’s lawsuit against the Myanmar military for its genocide against the Rohingya at the United Nations’ highest court.

We often simplify conflicts, presenting them in black and white terms; however, since February 2021 there has been a key line of conflict between the military junta on the one hand and on the other hand, the resistance which includes the Civil Disobedience Movement, ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), and Peoples Defence Forces (PDFs), all of them fighting a just cause, for democracy, rule of law, human rights, and an equitable, inclusive society. The people in Myanmar are fighting for their human rights with unshakable determination against all odds and the risk of violent death. The world should acknowledge and celebrate this courage and do anything they can to help the people of Myanmar succeed, so that they can join the world as a democratic nation.

Now is the time to support the democratic revolution in Myanmar. Recently, the military has lost a lot of ground in the face of coordinated attacks by EAOs and PDFs. Towns and regions have finally been liberated from the junta’s war of terror against its own people.

CLICK HERE for suggested actions and to view / download the entire Watching Brief. 
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