Myanmar/Burma January 2020 –

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Myanmar/Burma 2017 – January 2020

Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar court sentences ousted leader in widely criticised trial
(BBC) Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been found guilty of inciting dissent and breaking Covid rules, in the first of a series of verdicts that could see her jailed for life.
Her sentence has been reduced from four years to two years.
Ms Suu Kyi faces 11 charges in total and denies them all. They have been widely condemned as unjust.
She has been in detention since a military coup in February toppled her elected civilian government.
It is not clear when or if Ms Suu Kyi will be placed in prison. She is being held at an undisclosed location.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar democracy icon who fell from grace
While her image had suffered internationally due to her response to the crisis that befell Myanmar’s mostly Muslim Rohingya minority, she remains hugely popular with the country’s Buddhist majority.

3 November
C. Uday Bhaskar: With China and the US, Asean is still between a rock and a hard place
(SCMP)The Asean summit that concluded in Brunei at the end of October was significant in its exclusion of Myanmar’s military leader. This was an unprecedented move for the grouping, which cited the junta’s non-compliance with the “Five-Point Consensus” adopted at the Asean Leaders’ Meeting in April.
Under the consensus, Myanmar’s military junta had to ensure “immediate cessation of violence” in the country. However, it was evident in the ensuing months that it had not complied.
The military leadership also refused to give an Asean envoy, Brunei’s Second Foreign Minister Eryan Yusof, access to political detainees including ousted leader and activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a chairman’s statement released after the summit, the group said: “We reiterated that Myanmar remains a member of the Asean family and recognised that Myanmar needs both time and political space to deal with its many and complex challenges.”
… the subtext of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s decision goes beyond concern for human rights and democracy in the country. There is also the fact of US President Joe Biden’s participation in the Asean summit and the subsequent East Asia Summit.

21 August
Myanmar military arrests more journalists
(Reuters) – Myanmar’s military government has arrested two more local journalists, army-owned television reported on Saturday, the latest among dozens of detentions in a sweeping crackdown on the media since a Feb. 1 coup.
Myanmar remains fraught with instability and opposition to army rule, under which more than 1,000 people have been killed, according to an activist group that has tracked killings by security forces. read more

5 August
Myanmar diplomat alerts UN to alleged military ‘massacre’
Kyaw Moe Tun tells UN that at least 40 people, including a child, were killed in the Sagaing area in July.
(Al Jazeera) Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, who has refused to leave his post despite being fired after the military seized power in a coup six months ago, has alerted the world body to a “reported massacre” by the military regime.
Kyaw Moe Tun sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying 40 bodies had been found in Kani township in the Sagaing area of northwestern Myanmar in July, the AFP news agency reported on Wednesday.

20 July
From a Sauvé Scholar alumna:
“Tomorrow is my birthday. But wait! Please do not wish me to have a happy day this year because I will not! Simply because the country that I live in and the people that I am surrounded by and related to are all facing severe political, health and humanitarian crisis. If you haven’t followed the news closely, the Burmese military staged a coup since Feb 1st this year and more than a thousand protesters had been killed in the recent months and hundreds of thousands of civilians in the ethnic regions have been having to flee their homes due to the attacks by the cruel military junta. And in the recent weeks many thousands have died due to the Covid-19 3rd wave which became the worst of its kind due to the mismanagement of the regime which is obviously and intentionally using this virus as a bio weapon. Many of my friends and their loved ones had passed away in the last few weeks alone! So, pls do not send ‘happy birthday’. What I would appreciate you do is do all you can to support the recovery of this cursed nation; help to get rid of this cruel regime – call your local MPs, join advocacy efforts etc…, donate for the citizens’ access to Oxygen and health services to the most in need and support those who are fighting against the tyranny. And most importantly please pray our world be healed as soon as possible”

14 July
From Bob Rae:
A message just received from Yangon:
“you cannot begin to imagine the situation here today. It is soooo bad that I really don’t care whether I wake up in the morning. Helplessness has never before felt so complete. There is absolutely nothing that I can do. People are dying in the streets and on buses, and the military just looks for ways to profit from the disaster. Today we heard from several sources of trucks driving from Maesot to Yangon delivering oxygen generators that were stopped by soldiers who demanded a payment of $100 per generator. Over the past five months I have never supported the idea of a foreign government intervening militarily, but today that has all changed. I feel so angry. Just come in and kill these monsters before they kill all of us.
Already in our small quarter 12 people are known to have died in the past four days. Just in our tiny quarter! And those 12 are only folks whom I have 100% verified. I have no doubt the number is much higher. We are told that there is at least one person in every apartment exhibiting symptoms. Standing on my balcony I can hear people in other apartments coughing and coughing. [name delated]’s mother tested positive this afternoon.
It is 11 at night and still our group is working the phones trying to find oxygen. Although the junta will not permit citizens to donate money for the charitable care of others, a free local funeral place, which had been shut down months ago, has now reopened. They have 458 bodies waiting to be cremated, while the official number of deaths reported yesterday was 92. The price of many food items, including rice and eggs, has doubled and tripled just in the past two days. In some townships you cannot buy either.
The “tell” in all of this is that [name deleted], who has been incredibly strong for the past five months, has finally lost it. She just got off the phone with another person asking for assistance from us and has now broken down in tears. How can these people be so cruel ?”
There is a truly monstrous cruelty to this regime. As with the cyclone they will allow deaths in the tens of thousands.

5 July
Myanmar military adopts ‘four cuts’ to stamp out coup opponents
The tactic targets civilians in bid to stifle support for resistance fighters, but appears to be backfiring.
(Al Jazeera) The clashes in Momauk mark a broader escalation in fighting across the country since the February 1 military coup, as decades-long conflicts between the Tatmadaw [Myanmar’s military] and ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar’s border areas resume or accelerate, and civilian defence forces emerge in townships that had not previously seen fighting.
[I]ncluding restricting access to food, funds, intelligence and recruits, the strategy seeks to starve the support base of armed resistance and turn civilians against resistance groups.
In response to the increase in armed resistance, the Tatmadaw has launched indiscriminate air and ground strikes on civilian areas, displacing 230,000 people since the coup. Security forces have also looted and burned homes, blocked aid access and the transport of relief items, restricted water supplies, cut telecommunications networks, shelled places of refuge, and killed and arrested volunteers seeking to deliver humanitarian assistance.
What is the Myanmar military’s ‘four cuts’ strategy?
‘Four cuts’ was used against the Karen in the 1960s and was also deployed in Rakhine in 2017.

Myanmar’s Coming Revolution What Will Emerge From Collapse?
By Thant Myint-Um, historian and the author of The Hidden History of Burma: Race, Capitalism, and the Crisis of Democracy in the 21st Century.
There is no magic bullet, no single set of policies that will solve the crisis in Myanmar. That’s because the crisis isn’t just the result of the February coup; it is the outcome of decades of failed state building and nation building and an economy and a society that have been so unjust for so long to so many. The outside world has long tended to see Myanmar as a fairy tale, shorn of its complexities, in which an agreeable ending is just around the corner. The fairy tale must now end and be replaced with serious diplomacy and well-informed, practical strategies. With this, there is every chance that over a few years—not magically overnight—Myanmar can become the peaceful democracy so clearly desired by its people
(Foreign Affairs July/August 2021) Myanmar is at a point of no return. The army’s February coup, meant to surgically shift power within the existing constitutional framework, has instead unleashed a revolutionary energy that will be nearly impossible to contain.
Myanmar as a failed state may look something like this: The army holds the cities and the Irrawaddy valley, but urban guerilla attacks and a spreading insurrection prevent any firm consolidation of junta rule. The strikes end, but millions remain unemployed, and the vast majority of people have little or no access to basic services. Some ethnic armed groups are able to carve out additional territory, while others come under withering air and land assault. In Rakhine State, the Arakan Army expands its de facto administration, and in the eastern uplands, old and new militia groups strengthen their ties to transnational organized crime networks. Extractive and illicit industries become a bigger piece of Myanmar’s economic pie. As armed fighting intensifies, Beijing, fearing instability above all, feels compelled to increase its sway over all territories east of the Salween River. Myanmar becomes a center for the spread of disease, criminality, and environmental destruction, with human rights atrocities continuing unchecked.
Myanmar’s future need not be bleak. Successful change must come from within, and there is absolutely no doubt, given what has happened since February, that Myanmar’s young people are determined to alter the course of their country’s history. It is they who must chart a path forward. But global action now could alleviate some of the suffering in the country and help it more swiftly escape impending disaster.
First, the international community needs to agree to a resolution in the UN Security Council that clearly demands a quick and peaceful transition back to an elected civilian government. China must be on board; there is simply no substitute for China’s involvement because of its economic clout in Myanmar and its deep ties to many of the country’s ethnic armed organizations.
Second, outside powers must support and encourage all those working not only for democracy in Myanmar but also for the broad transformation of Myanmar politics and society. That includes serious efforts, possibly through an expanded UN civilian presence in Myanmar, to monitor human rights abuses and negotiate the release of political prisoners.
Third, outside help needs to be based on an appreciation of Myanmar’s unique history, one in which past army regimes have withstood the strictest international isolation, and the unique psychology of the generals themselves, molded by decades of unrelenting violence.
Fourth, foreign governments should assist poor and vulnerable populations as much as possible, perhaps focusing initially on providing COVID-19 vaccinations. But such assistance must be handled with tremendous political skill and designed in collaboration with health-care workers themselves, so as not to inadvertently entrench the grip of the junta.

‘A catastrophe’: UN warns of intensifying violence in Myanmar
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet says military government is ‘singularly responsible’ for violence and ‘must be held to account’.
In a statement published on Friday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said multiple reports indicated that armed conflict was continuing, including in Kayah, Chin and Kachin states, with the violence particularly intense in areas with significant ethnic and religious minority groups.

21-24 May
Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi appears in court in person for first time since coup
Suu Kyi appeared to be in good health and held a face-to-face meeting with her legal team for about 30 minutes before the hearing, her lawyer said
Myanmar junta-appointed electoral body to dissolve Suu Kyi party -media
Myanmar’s junta-appointed election commission will dissolve Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party (NLD) because of what it said was fraud in a November election, news outlet Myanmar Now said on Friday, citing a commissioner.

17 May
Myanmar activists say more than 800 killed by security forces since coup
The activist group said 4,120 people were currently being detained, including 20 who had been sentenced to death.
Some of the most intense fighting since the Feb. 1 coup has emerged in recent days in Mindat, about 100 km (60 miles) from the Indian border in Chin state as the army battles local militias.
Thousands of residents in the hill town in northwest Myanmar were hiding in jungles, villages and valleys on Monday after fleeing an assault by the military, witnesses said.

5 May
Myanmar junta bans satellite dishes in media crackdown
(The Guardian) Anyone who installs satellite dishes could face a one-year prison sentence or $320 fine, military-controlled media reported.
The junta, which faces unanimous opposition from the public has imposed increasingly tough restrictions on communication since seizing power on 1 February.
Mobile data has been cut for most people for more than 50 days, while broadband access has also been subject to severe restrictions. Several media outlets have been banned but continue to operate in hiding, either publishing online or broadcasting for television.
On Wednesday, the military-controlled newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar reported that news agencies were using illegal satellite dishes to broadcast programmes that “harm the state security, the rule of law and community peace and tranquillity”.

30 April
Myanmar risks coming to standstill as violence worsens -U.N. envoy
The U.N. special envoy on Myanmar told the Security Council on Friday that in the absence of a collective international response to the country’s coup, violence is worsening and the running of the state risks coming to a standstill, according to diplomats who attended the private meeting.
Christine Schraner Burgener briefed the 15-member council from Thailand, where she has been meeting with regional leaders. She still hopes to travel to Myanmar but the military is yet to approve a visit.

27 April
ASEAN diplomacy buys time for the Tatmadaw
Extraordinary ASEAN summit on Myanmar’s coup crisis has so far utterly failed to curb the military’s violence
(Asia Times) ASEAN leaders met over the weekend in what was the first concerted international effort to deescalate the deadly political crisis in Myanmar.
Pressure has been mounting on ASEAN to broker a solution to the crisis, which threatens to deteriorate into a multi-front civil war as pro-democracy forces organize an armed resistance and lobby for international recognition of a parallel “National Unity Government” (NUG). It remains to be seen whether the ASEAN-led process will be capable of effecting change.
Though points of consensus were reached at the April 24 meeting in Jakarta, there are so far no discernable signs of change on the ground.

22 April
It’s time to cut off the gas for Myanmar’s military coup leaders
U.S. and E.U. officials have hesitated to move against the military’s biggest cash stream, which comes from the export of natural gas.
(WaPo editorial board) Millions of people in Burma, as Myanmar is also known, have been making painful sacrifices to support what’s called the Civil Disobedience Movement. Government officials have refused to report to work, and strikes have paralyzed commerce. Boycotts of products produced by military companies have been widely observed; even sales of its locally produced beer have cratered. So effective has the movement been that U.N. and other international relief officials are warning that a collapsing economy may soon trigger a humanitarian catastrophe. Nevertheless, the opposition persists. Its leaders see their tactics as the only way to force the military to restore the democratically elected civilian government.
It’s an uphill struggle, and it has a chance of succeeding only if it receives sufficient international support. Myanmar’s people can cut off the military’s beer money — but only the United States and other governments can stop the flow of dollars from lucrative exports of natural resources.

21 April
UN envoy to hold “sideline” meetings ahead of ASEAN summit on Myanmar
(Reuters) The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar will fly to Jakarta on Thursday to meet senior officials of Southeast Asian nations searching for a path to end bloodshed after a coup in Myanmar, according to three sources familiar with her movements.
Christine Schraner Burgener will not be attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit on Saturday but aimed to hold meetings on the sidelines of the event, the sources said.

16 April
Opponents of Myanmar coup form unity government, aim for ‘federal democracy’
(Reuters) Opponents of Myanmar’s junta announced a National Unity Government on Friday including ousted members of parliament and leaders of anti-coup protests and ethnic minorities, saying their aim was to end military rule and restore democracy. …political leaders, including ousted members of parliament from Suu Kyi’s party, have been trying to organise to show the country and the outside world that they and not the generals are the legitimate political authority. …veteran democracy activist Min Ko Naing said in a 10-minute video address announcing the formation of the National Unity Government. …the will of the people was the unity government’s priority, while acknowledging the scale of the task at hand.
Southeast Asian nations weigh aid mission to Myanmar
Southeast Asian countries are considering a proposal to send a humanitarian aid mission to Myanmar as a potential first step in a long-term plan to broker a dialogue between the junta and its opponents, diplomats familiar with the discussions said.
The proposal is being considered ahead of a planned meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders this month. Diplomats said it might be attended by Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, who took power in a Feb. 1 coup that has plunged his country into turmoil.

14-15 April
The Looming Catastrophe in Myanmar
Failure to Act Will Lead to a Failed State
(Foreign Affairs) Governments, including those of Myanmar’s neighbors, do not seem to appreciate the full extent of the crisis. Instead, too many outside observers, including some in Foreign Affairs, appear jaded and fatalistic. They minimize humanitarian considerations, ignore massive popular opposition to the coup, discount the potential of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to influence the situation in one of its member states, and assume that the logic of great-power competition makes coordinated policy in Myanmar impossible.
Beyond being morally suspect, this supposedly realistic understanding of events in Myanmar is dangerously misguided and shortsighted for the security of the region. The country is not witnessing just another brutal setback to democracy but the creation in slow motion of a failed state in the vital heart of Asia.
The coup raises the prospect of Myanmar not becoming another autocratic state, such as Cambodia under Hun Sen or Thailand after the 2014 coup, but another Syria: a place of unrestrained destruction and irreconcilable division between a ruling clique and the broad mass of the citizenry.
Failed state: Myanmar collapses into chaos
A divided international response, a fractured country and a murderous regime
(Nikkei Asia) Many experts see the country in a deadly spiral. They voice fears of another Syria — even though no other countries are so far involved in the country’s implosion.
“Myanmar stands at the brink of state failure, of state collapse,” Richard Horsey, International Crisis Group’s senior adviser for Myanmar, briefed the U.N. Security Council on April 9. “The actions of the regime are not just morally reprehensible. They are also extremely dangerous.”
The international community has reacted predictably: sternly condemning the Tatmadaw but so far failing to prevent the situation from deteriorating. The administration of President Joe Biden has said it wants to reassert the U.S.’s moral authority as leader of the free world, but it is not about to enter China’s backyard.

5 April
Minorities in Myanmar borderlands face fresh fear since coup
(AP) The military’s lethal crackdown on protesters in large central cities such as Yangon and Mandalay has received much of the attention since the coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government. But far away in Myanmar’s borderlands, Lu Lu Aung and millions of others who hail from Myanmar’s minority ethnic groups are facing increasing uncertainty and waning security as longstanding conflicts between the military and minority guerrilla armies flare anew.
It’s a situation that was thrust to the forefront over the past week as the military launched deadly airstrikes against ethnic Karen guerrillas in their homeland on the eastern border, displacing thousands and sending civilians fleeing into neighboring Thailand.
3 April
Myanmar death toll mounts amid protests, military crackdown

2 April
The Global Tremors of Myanmar’s Coup
Thitinan Pongsudhirak
Given Myanmar’s strategic location, violent turmoil there could destabilize the entire region. Already, the crisis caused by the military coup is shaking a key pillar of regional order, with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations split over how to respond.
(Project Syndicate) Myanmar is leading Southeast Asia’s race to the political bottom. Since overthrowing a civilian government on February 1, the military has killed more than 530 unarmed civilian protesters and arrested thousands more. Now, the country is confronting a deepening humanitarian crisis and the growing possibility of a civil war – developments that would have serious regional and even global consequences.
… Given Myanmar’s strategic location on the corridor linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans – sharing borders with China, Bangladesh, India, Laos, and Thailand – violent turmoil there could destabilize the entire region. Already, the crisis is shaking a pillar of regional order: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, whose members are divided over how to respond.In line with the principles set out in the ASEAN Charter, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore have called for the immediate cessation of violence by the military in Myanmar, the release of Suu Kyi and other political detainees, and the restoration of democratic governance based on the results of November’s election. But other member states – particularly Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam – prefer to emphasize ASEAN’s norm of non-interference in other members’ internal affairs.
… Ultimately, Western sanctions are likely to have only indirect effects, especially as ASEAN dithers. The fight for Myanmar’s future will have to be won at home. That is a chilling prospect, because it implies that unarmed protesters will need to face down a battle-ready army. In the short term, it is difficult to see how Myanmar will avoid much greater bloodshed.

31 March
Myanmar junta makes ceasefire offer, but not to protesters
(AP) — Myanmar’s junta announced Wednesday it is implementing a unilateral one-month ceasefire, but made an exception for actions that disrupt the government’s security and administrative operations — a clear reference to the mass movement that has held daily nationwide protests against its seizure of power in February.
The announcement came after a flurry of combat with at least two of the ethnic minority guerrilla organizations that maintain a strong presence in their respective areas along the borders.
Myanmar junta deepens violence with new air attacks in east
(AP) — The military launched more airstrikes Tuesday in eastern Myanmar after earlier attacks forced thousands of ethnic Karen to flee into Thailand and further escalating violence two months after the junta seized power.
Thailand’s prime minister said the villagers who fled the weekend airstrikes returned home of their own accord, denying that his country’s security forces had forced them back.

24-29 March
Protests Unite Myanmar’s Ethnic Groups Against Common Foe
The shared experience of military violence has shifted political objectives among the ethnic majority.
(Foreign Policy) Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, has killed at least 510 people and detained more than 2,500 others since it took power on Feb. 1. Now terrorized by the military themselves, many people from the Bamar ethnic majority are developing a sense of solidarity with the country’s numerous minority groups. Public apologies for years of indifference and denial of minority people’s experiences have proliferated.

Myanmar army air raids on Karen force 3,000 to flee for Thailand
Aerial assault comes after group controlling southeastern state condemned February 1 coup and announced support for public resistance.
(Al Jazeera) The air assaults are the most significant attack for years in the region controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU).
The armed group signed a ceasefire agreement in 2015 but tensions have surged after the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government in a February 1 coup.
The KNU and the Restoration Council of Shan State, also based on the Thai border, have condemned the military’s takeover and announced their support for public resistance.
Protests erupt again amid a show of force by coup leaders
(BBC) Protesters took to the streets of Yangon and other cities, with reports that 16 had been shot dead.
Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing said in a national TV address on Saturday he would “safeguard democracy”, promising elections but giving no timetable.
More than 320 people have been killed in the suppression of protests since the coup on 1 February.
State TV warned in a separate broadcast on Friday that people “should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back”.
‘I Will Die Protecting My Country’: In Myanmar, a New Resistance Rises
(NYT) After weeks of peaceful protests, the frontline of Myanmar’s resistance to the Feb. 1 coup is mobilizing into a kind of guerrilla force. In the cities, protesters have built barricades to protect neighborhoods from military incursions and learned how to make smoke bombs on the internet. In the forests, they are training in basic warfare techniques and plotting to sabotage military-linked facilities
Myanmar activists hold candle-lit vigil as US targets army unit
At least eight people, including a 15-year-old boy, were reportedly killed in Myanmar’s second city of Mandalay as unrest continues.
(Al Jazeera) Myanmar protesters held candle-lit vigils for the dozens killed in demonstrations against military rule, as Western countries imposed more sanctions on individuals and military units linked to last month’s coup and an ensuing brutal crackdown on dissent.
At least 261 people have been killed by security forces attempting to stamp out weeks of protests against the coup in towns and cities across the country, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an advocacy group that is tracking detentions and deaths.
Girl shot dead by security forces in Myanmar military crackdown
Seven year old is youngest of at least 20 children aid group says have have been killed following February 1 coup.

22 March
Bangladesh: ‘massive’ fire in Rohingya refugee camps forces 50,000 to flee
1 million who fled Myanmar live in camps in Cox’s Bazar
Seven people feared dead, officials say
Bangladesh has launched an investigation into a huge blaze that ripped through a sprawling Rohingya refugee camp and forced at least 50,000 people to flee. Seven people are feared dead in the biggest fire to hit the shanty settlement to date.
Nearly 1 million of the Muslim minority from Myanmar live in cramped and squalid conditions at the camps in the Cox’s Bazar district, with many fleeing a military crackdown in their homeland in 2017.

18 March
Latest Claim in the Effort Against Aung San Suu Kyi: A Bag of Cash
The Myanmar military’s latest accusations against the ousted civilian leader suggest a months-long campaign to neutralize the country’s most popular politician.
Since the coup, millions of people have demonstrated and participated in labor strikes against the regime.
The military has responded with the kind of violence normally reserved for the battlefield. In attacks on protesters, security forces have killed at least 215 people, mostly by gunshot, according to a local group that tallies political imprisonments and deaths; more than 2,000 people have been detained for political reasons since the coup.
This week, members of a group representing the disbanded Parliament were charged with high treason. So was Myanmar’s envoy to the United Nations, who gave an impassioned speech last month decrying the military’s seizure of power.
On Wednesday, the last of Myanmar’s major independent newspapers ceased publication. More than 30 journalists have been detained or pursued by authorities since the coup. The country, for decades under the military’s fist, is rapidly losing whatever democratic reforms had been introduced over the past few years.

17 March
Benedict Rogers: Don’t Ignore Myanmar
The people won’t accept another military takeover. Neither should we.
(Persuasion) A country-wide civil disobedience movement persists, bringing public services to a halt. In almost every city, slogans in huge letters in English are visible from the air, on roads, lakes and rivers—phrases such as “We Want Democracy.”
Perhaps most significantly, the coup has united the country’s diverse ethnic and religious communities. Even the beleaguered Rohingyas, the Muslim-majority group that has faced severe persecution and genocide, are showing support for the movement despite having been the targets of abuse and discrimination from some in the democracy movement in recent years. Certain Buddhist pro-democracy activists, seeing this, have admitted their wrongs and apologized to the Rohingyas.

16 March
Deadly Coup In Myanmar Is This Man’s Payday
“Please don’t try to demonize the generals,” says Montreal-based lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe

10-11 March
Myanmar junta spurns UN appeal, kills more protesters
(AP) — The military also lodged a new allegation against Aung San Suu Kyi, the elected leader it ousted on Feb. 1. It charged at a news conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, that in 2017-18 she was illegally given $600,000 and gold bars worth slightly less by a political ally, former Yangon Division Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein.
Security forces have attacked previous protests with live ammunition as well, leading to the deaths of about 60 people. They have also employed tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons and stun grenades. Many demonstrators have been brutally beaten.
Myanmar: UN calls for ‘utmost restraint’ from military but stops short of taking action
The United Nations has condemned the Myanmar military’s violent crackdown against anti-coup demonstrators, however language that would have threatened possible further action was removed from the British-drafted text, due to opposition by China, Russia, India and Vietnam.
The presidential statement, signed by all 15 members called for “utmost restraint” by the military. A presidential statement is a step below a resolution but becomes part of the official record of the UN’s most powerful body.

9 March
Myanmar media defiant as junta cracks down
(AP) — Myanmar’s military-controlled government is seeking to suppress media coverage of protests against its seizure of power as journalists and ordinary citizens strive to inform people inside and outside of the country about what is happening.
Authorities on Monday canceled the licenses of five local media outlets that had been offering extensive coverage of the protests, attempting to fully roll back such freedoms a decade after the country began its faltering transition toward democracy.
The government has detained dozens of journalists since the Feb. 1 coup, including Thein Zaw of The Associated Press.
The crackdown comes as the military has escalated violence against mass protests. Reports by independent media are still providing vital information about arrests and shootings by troops in cities across Myanmar. And they’re using other platforms to distribute their reports such as social media.

7 March
Myanmar military hires PR agent to explain ‘real situation’ to west
Former Israeli spy says generals have been ‘misunderstood’ as police continue to fire on protesters
Ari Ben-Menashe, a Tehran-born, Israeli-Canadian lobbyist, was hired by the Tatmadaw this week to “assist in explaining the real situation in the country”, according to a consultancy agreement reported by Foreign Lobby, an outlet that tracks foreign government influence operations in Washington.
Ben-Menashe said his political consulting firm, Dickens & Madson Canada, had been hired by Myanmar’s generals to help them communicate with the US and other countries who he said “misunderstood” them.

4 March
World must do more to support democracy in Myanmar: Bob Rae
Suu Kyi came under heavy criticism for her failure to stop the military from its campaign of ethnic cleansing against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority — a failure that led Canada to strip her of honorary Canadian citizenship in 2018.
Rae, who served as Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar on the Rohingya crisis until 2018, was asked if that past makes it more difficult to organize international support for her.
“The short answer to that is, of course it does, but it doesn’t stop us from doing it,” he said. “The fact remains that she was democratically elected leader of a political party that won an election and that has to be recognized.”

1 March
ASEAN foreign ministers to meet on Myanmar on Tuesday: Singapore minister

28 February
Military Crackdown in Myanmar Escalates With Killing of Protesters
(NYT) Videos and photographs captured images of bodies in the street and people running from the police as tear gas and smoke filled the air. The sheer ferocity of Sunday’s crackdown — soldiers appeared to shoot at unarmed people at random and rounded up groups of demonstrators before marches could begin — drew sharp rebukes internationally.
(Dawns Digest) Myanmar police fired on protesters around the country on Sunday and at least 18 people were killed in the worst violence since a Feb. 1 military coup, the United Nations said, calling on the international community to act to stop the repression. Crowds of demonstrators came under fire in various parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up their protests. Across the country, protesters wearing plastic work helmets and with makeshift shields faced off against police and soldiers in battle gear, including some from units notorious for tough crackdowns on ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar’s border regions

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.

25 February
Myanmar Coup Protesters Regret Silence Over Rohingya Genocide
Against backdrop of nationwide outrage after military’s power grab, some are grappling with their complicity in Rohingya suffering.
(Vice) The military’s violent expulsion of more than 740,000 Rohingya Muslims in 2017 brought condemnation around the world and ruined the reputation of former rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who sided with the very military that now has her under detention on multiple charges.
But fueled by online propaganda and decades of brainwashing depicting Rohingya as outsiders, it was the refusal by members of the public to believe allegations of rape, arson and murder that stunned supporters of Myanmar’s fledgling democratic transition.
At the time, it was common to accuse Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh of being “drama queens” and “liars” who made up the horrific tales for money and international support. Some even took to the streets in support of the armed forces that convinced people they were protecting them from “Muslim terrorists” attacking Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
After the coup, however, a shift in thinking has started to take place, with apologies on social media and in protest signs on the streets. That is being matched by Rohingya refugees showing support for demonstrations despite not receiving it in their time of need. Some even joined the rallies in Yangon, risking arrest or persecution in a society that denies them basic citizenship rights. They now have a mutual foe, Myanmar coup mastermind Min Aung Hlaing, who is accused of overseeing the campaign against the minority.

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.


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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