Myanmar/Burma January 2020 –

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Myanmar/Burma 2017 – January 2020

Bloomberg: Extending support | Facebook widened a ban on pages linked to Myanmar’s military and barred advertising from affiliated commercial entities, stepping up its actions in the aftermath of the Feb. 1 coup. Treating the situation as an emergency, Facebook has mobilized Myanmar nationals with native-language skills to help moderate content, put more protections in place for journalists and curbed the reach of military spokespeople and misinformation.
Thousands of striking truck drivers protesting the coup have slowed the delivery of imports, trapping cargo containers at ports.

24 February
UN Security Council: Impose Arms Embargo on Myanmar
Weapons Transfers Fuel Junta, Abuses
(Human Rights Watch) The United Nations Security Council should urgently impose a global arms embargo on Myanmar in response to the military coup and to deter the junta from committing further abuses, 137 nongovernmental groups from 31 countries said today in an open letter to council members. Governments that permit arms transfers to Myanmar – including China, India, Israel, North Korea, the Philippines, Russia, and Ukraine – should immediately stop the supply of any weapons, munitions, and related equipment.

21 February
Myanmar coup: witnesses describe killing of protesters as unrest continues
Condemnation of military comes from around world as Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest
(The Guardian) The use of deadly force against demonstrators was condemned by the UN, France, Singapore and Britain, while Facebook announced that it had deleted the military’s main page. It said the army had breached its standards on prohibiting the incitement of violence.
In an address to the UN human rights council on Monday, the UK foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, will demand that the military step aside in Myanmar, respect the democratic wishes of the people, and release the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, following “well-documented” rights abuses.

14 February
Military Imposes Full Grip on Myanmar in Overnight Crackdown
Armored vehicles rolled in along with soldiers in camouflage in cities across the country as generals moved to crush the protest movement against the Feb. 1 military coup.
(NYT) Troops surrounded the houses of government workers who had dared to join a nationwide civil disobedience campaign. Politicians, activists and journalists fled, turning off their phones as they disappeared into the shadows, hoping to outpace the men coming after them.
On Sunday night, ambassadors from multiple Western nations, including the United States, posted a statement warning the coup-makers to “refrain from violence against demonstrators and civilians, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government.”

11 February
Setting aside divisions, Myanmar’s ethnic groups unite against coup
(Reuters) – Among the hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets of Myanmar in recent days have been members of the Southeast Asian nation’s many faiths – majority Buddhists as well as Christians, Muslims and Hindus, and dozens of distinct ethnic groups.
Major ethnic armed organizations – whose rebel armies control vast swathes of the country – have also thrown their weight behind a growing civil disobedience movement and indicated they will not tolerate crackdowns on protesters by the military leaders who seized power in a Feb. 1 coup.

9 February
As Bullets and Threats Fly, Myanmar Protesters Proudly Hold the Line
But after a power-sharing agreement between the military and the civilian government was tossed aside by the generals last week, it seemed unlikely that the military would bend to protesters’ demands or tolerate the demonstrations for much longer.
(NYT) In a matter of days, protests against the military coup in Myanmar had swelled to hundreds of thousands of people, from a few dozen. Students, laborers, doctors and professionals had gathered in droves to proudly defend democratic ideals in their country, even as the police fired into crowds, sometimes using live ammunition and sometimes rubber bullets, and deployed water cannons and tear gas.
On Monday night, the military issued its first warning. “Democratic practice allows people to have freedom of expression,” said Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who seized power last week. “Democracy can be destroyed if there is no discipline.”
By Tuesday, the protests showed no signs of fizzling, despite the announcement of a new national curfew and a ban on gatherings of five people or more. … As the demonstrations have grown, the crowds have taken on an almost celebratory atmosphere. Families have defiantly banged on pots and pans in the evening, a traditional way to drive out the devil, creating a huge din in opposition to the coup. The ritual is now carried out nightly at 8 p.m. across the country.
To understand post-coup Myanmar, look to its history of popular resistance — not sanctions
Remarkably, this is not their first time acting collectively to oppose military rulers. Resilient struggle against repressive dictators has been a hallmark of Burmese society.
(Brookings) Compared to the pre-2010 military dictatorship, under a largely civilian-run system, the majority of people in Myanmar have enjoyed expanded freedoms of expression and assembly, the right to vote and political representation, and increasing business and education opportunities, together with unrestricted international exposure and internet access. The coup, to them, means regressing to a dark past where none of these existed — and turning their lives upside down.
However, despite widespread despair, calls for anti-coup resistance have quickly gone viral on social media, circumventing multiple internet blockages. A civil disobedience movement, urging civil servants to stop working, has attracted hundreds of thousands of followers on its Facebook page. Other prominent activists took to Facebook to call for peaceful street protests across the country. Millions of internet users also encouraged their contacts to heed civil society leaders’ guidance for nonviolent resistance and shared safety and communication tips.

1-6 February
Myanmar military junta shuts down internet as tens of thousands protest coup
Rumour of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release triggered celebrations but was quickly denied
Monitoring group NetBlocks Internet Observatory reported a “national-scale internet blackout,” saying on Twitter that connectivity had fallen to 16 per cent of usual levels.
The junta did not respond to requests for comment. It extended a social media crackdown to Twitter and Instagram after seeking to silence dissent by blocking Facebook , which counts half of the population as users.
What the Myanmar Coup Means for China
China will stick to its strict policy of non-intervention, but the military takeover has created a diplomatic headache for Beijing.
(The Diplomat) The change in Myanmar will be closely watched in Beijing. And despite a long history of cozy relations with the Tatmadaw during Mynamar’s previous stint of military rule starting in the late 1980s, China will not be celebrating.
“A coup in no way is in Beijing’s interests. Beijing was working very well with the NLD,” said Yun Sun, a co-director of the East Asia Program and director of the China Program at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C.
The Guardian view on Myanmar’s coup: the army strikes back
Myanmar’s people chose democracy. But the generals who had hogged power for decades never gave it up; they only ceded a portion of it to civilian authorities, holding on to a chunk of seats and key ministries. Now, after another landslide victory for the National League for Democracy in November’s election, they have decided even that was too much. Following Monday’s coup, the detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged, absurdly, with the possession of illegally imported walkie-talkies, while the president, Win Myint, is accused of breaching coronavirus laws by meeting people on the campaign trail.
Security Council fails to agree statement condemning Myanmar coup
Diplomats say discussions will continue with China and Russia asking for ‘more time’
Myanmar’s Coup, Explained
The coup returns the country to full military rule after a short span of quasi-democracy. Here is what we know.
The military of Myanmar overthrew the country’s fragile democratic government in a coup d’état on Monday, arresting civilian leaders, shutting off the internet and cutting off flights.
In Myanmar coup, Suu Kyi’s ouster heralds return to military rule
Aung San Suu Kyi defended Myanmar’s generals against genocide charges at The Hague. She praised soldiers as they unleashed artillery against ethnic minority settlements. She limited steps toward democratic changes that would chip away at the army’s political power.
On Monday, Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup, detaining Suu Kyi, elected ministers from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party and others in a predawn raid. Though she was condemned internationally for defending the military and its campaign against the Rohingya minority, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent 15 years under house arrest now finds herself again at the generals’ mercy.
4 February
What climate change will mean for US security and geopolitics
(Brookings) … Sea-level rise is already putting economic pressure on important states in the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean, notably Bangladesh and Myanmar — both of which have large populations and large parts of their agricultural land in low-lying areas heavily exposed to rising sea levels. Myanmar, of course, plays a highly consequential role in Asian security politics, given its location between India and China, and its potential to serve as an alternative route for China into the Indian Ocean, bypassing the Malacca Straits.

2020

Sept. 8, 2020 Updated Dec. 4, 2020
‘Kill All You See’: In a First, Myanmar Soldiers Tell of Rohingya Slaughter
Video testimony from two soldiers supports widespread accusations that Myanmar’s military tried to eradicate the ethnic minority in a genocidal campaign.
On Monday, the two men, who fled Myanmar last month, were transported to The Hague, where the International Criminal Court has opened a case examining whether Tatmadaw leaders committed large-scale crimes against the Rohingya.

23 November
Myanmar’s genocide against Rohingya not over, says rights group
Lawyers and activists say persecution of Muslims is continuing despite UN action
About 600,000 more Rohingya remain in Myanmar, however, stripped of citizenship in what rights activists describe as apartheid conditions.
Myanmar denies committing genocide, justifying the 2017 operations as a means of rooting out Rohingya insurgents.
M Arsalan Suleman, the legal counsel working on the case against Myanmar, confirmed on Monday that the country had submitted the report in time.
But activists are urging the ICJ to force the south-east Asian nation to make it public to allow full scrutiny.

23 April
In Western Myanmar, State Counselor’s Praise for Tatmadaw Causes Unease
While Rakhine and Chin states continue to be rocked by heavy fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s praise for army officers and rank-and-file soldiers for protecting civilians in the two western Myanmar states has been criticized as harming the prospects for peace, and setting back the cause of national reconciliation with the country’s ethnic minorities.
In a statement issued by her office on Tuesday evening, Myanmar’s de facto leader and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi pledged “to continue to work to achieve … peace,” to help people to “be free from the suffering due to the armed conflicts.”

10 March
In Myanmar, Democracy’s Dead End
Constitutional Vote Spotlights Transition’s Failed Reforms
(Human Rights Watch) On Tuesday, Myanmar’s parliament rejected efforts by Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party to reform the country’s deeply undemocratic 2008 Constitution. It marked the first day of voting on a slew of amendments to the military-drafted charter that will continue through March 20, drawing to a close the push by the National League for Democracy (NLD) to realize one of its core campaign promises from five years ago.
The NLD’s proposed amendments sought to curb the political power of the military, known as the Tatmadaw, including cutting its fixed allotment of seats in parliament. But the effort was stymied from the start by a calculated Catch-22: the constitution requires more than 75 percent of all members of parliament to pass a constitutional amendment, while granting the military 25 percent of seats – an effective veto.
But the NLD’s push to amend the constitution rings hollow following four years of unwillingness to tackle attainable reforms. Despite its parliamentary majority, Suu Kyi’s party has failed to amend or repeal repressive laws that criminalize speech and peaceful assembly. Instead, it has intensified attacks on free expression, strengthening restrictive legislation and prosecuting growing numbers of journalists and activists.
And while the NLD and military have clashed over their opposing constitutional proposals, on many other stages they have stood hand in hand to form what has been called an “illiberal democracy” – concealing and defending security force abuses, imprisoning critics, promoting nationalism and blunting ethnic minority participation, and denying access to justice for victims of the military’s crimes.

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