Burma Coup Watch: Urgent action required to prevent destabilising violence

Protests in Myanmar

A month after its 1 February 2021 coup, the military junta’s escalation of disproportionate violence and terror tactics, backed by deployment of notorious military units to repress peaceful demonstrations, underlines the urgent need for substantive international action to prevent massive, destabilising violence.

The junta’s refusal to receive UN diplomatic and human rights missions indicates a refusal to consider a peaceful resolution to the crisis and confrontation sparked by the coup.

To avert worse violence and create the space for dialogue and negotiations, the movement in Burma and their allies urge that:

  • International financial institutions immediately freeze existing loans, recall prior loans and reassess the post-coup situation
  • Foreign states and bodies enact targeted sanctions on the military (Tatmadaw), Tatmadaw-affiliated companies and partners, including a global arms embargo
  • The UN Security Council immediately send a delegation to prevent further violence and ensure the situation is peacefully resolved

The coup violated multiple provisions of the Tatmadaw-designed 2008 Constitution.

The junta’s public statements and information warfare reflect a calculated plan to neutralise domestic democratic forces and pacify the international community.

While portraying themselves as a gentler version of previous juntas, the Min Aung Hlaing regime has already attacked thousands of unarmed protestors. On 28 February the Tatmadaw killed at least 18, injured dozens more, and arrested at least 479, in a significant escalation of abuses. This brought the total to at least 30 killed, hundreds injured, and 1,132 politicians, activists, journalists, and others arrested, with most denied access to legal counsel.

The coup also involved a systematic purge of members of the executive and key agencies including the Central Bank of Myanmar. The coup and crackdown have disrupted the economy, heightening concerns that political and economic destabilisation will have regional and global impacts, intensifying reputational and operational risks, and resulting in withdrawals and suspensions of investment.

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The Tatmadaw has sought to weaken popular opposition by implementing or amending seven laws that violate human rights norms, eliminate privacy and threaten lengthy imprisonment for anybody perceived as an enemy of the junta.

Millions of civilians continue to protest nationwide – in almost every township in Burma – despite military intimidation and brutal violence. The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) has been joined by workers and senior officials from the civil service, police officers and the private sector.

See the full report published by the Alternative Asean Network for Burma (Altsean-Burma)

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