Unión de Myanmar/Birmania

Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, March 2021. REUTERS

Since a military coup in 2021 toppled Myanmar’s democratic government, the country’s army has found itself contending with a tenacious and committed rebel insurgency. The military junta’s opponents are varied and various, including armed organizations representing Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities and militias loyal to the ousted government. Many observers had written off such resistance groups as too fractious and weak to present a genuine challenge to the junta. But that all has changed in recent months. Rebels have been strikingly successful in an offensive against the junta in the northern Shan State—which borders China—called Operation 1027, named for the day it started, October 27, 2023.…  Seguir leyendo »

La junta militar de Myanmar está perdiendo poder

En tanto los líderes autocráticos ganan influencia, si no poder, en más países de los que los defensores de la democracia están dispuestos a considerar, Myanmar es una excepción notable: su junta militar parece insostenible. De hecho, el pueblo de Myanmar está arriesgando su vida para quebrantar el control del poder de los generales y recuperar su futuro.

Después de casi medio siglo de dictadura militar, que comenzó en 1962, vino una década de liberalización política, reforma económica y progreso del desarrollo, que duró de 2011 hasta 2021. Pero el general en jefe Min Aung Hlaing le arrebató el poder al gobierno civil reelecto de Myanmar el 1 de febrero de 2021, lo que desató una guerra civil en la que los jóvenes, los ejércitos de minorías étnicas, los líderes civiles y una población desafiante han venido combatiendo al régimen.…  Seguir leyendo »

China’s President Xi Jinping speaks at the “Senior Chinese Leader Event” held by the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council on the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco, California, U.S., November 15, 2023. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Pool

Can we stop things falling apart? 2024 begins with wars burning in Gaza, Sudan and Ukraine and peacemaking in crisis. Worldwide, diplomatic efforts to end fighting are failing. More leaders are pursuing their ends militarily. More believe they can get away with it.

War has been on the rise since about 2012, after a decline in the 1990s and early 2000s. First came conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen, triggered by the 2011 Arab uprisings. Libya’s instability spilled south, helping set off a protracted crisis in the Sahel region. A fresh wave of major combat followed: the 2020 Azerbaijani-Armenian war over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, horrific fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region that began weeks later, the conflict prompted by the Myanmar army’s 2021 power grab and Russia’s 2022 assault on Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Myanmar’s Resistance Is Gaining Ground, but It Needs U.S. Help

For decades, Myanmar’s military junta has withstood both foreign pressure and an array of armed rebel groups opposed to its dominance of the country. But over the past two months, the generals’ aura of invincibility has been significantly dented at home. Resistance forces galvanized by the junta’s coup in 2021 — which seized power from a democratically elected government — have made unprecedented gains, seizing a growing number of towns, more than 400 military outposts and the strategic initiative.

These gains, achieved without significant international support, bring Myanmar to a critical point in the long struggle to throw off the yoke of the junta.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the rebel group Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army are seen with weapons purportedly seized from the Myanmar army, in the town of Chinshwehaw in Shan state on Oct. 28. The photo was distributed by Kokang Media, a rebel-affiliated news outlet. (Kokang Media/AP)

Nov. 8 marked the third anniversary of elections in Myanmar, whose results were overturned by a military coup on Feb. 1, 2021. The coup set in motion some of the largest, most diverse protests in the country’s history, which subsequently led to a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy activists. Today, the junta is prosecuting a war of terror, marked by airstrikes against civilians, the blocking of humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable, and the arrests of thousands of political prisoners.

In recent weeks, however, the junta is facing serious military setbacks, especially in the country’s north, at the hands of an alliance of fighters composed of the country’s ethnic minorities.…  Seguir leyendo »

President’s Take: Hot Spots Near and Far

The year 2023 has seen peace and security challenges both far from the EU’s borders and closer to home. The latter, especially, have heightened in recent weeks and months, which have seen fighting in the South Caucasus and Kosovo, even as a second year of war in Ukraine stretches on. While the three crises are very different in nature, all suggest a worrying inclination on the part of some governments to seek solutions to disputes through force of arms. Insofar as this jarring trend involves a proliferation of new wars, large and small, it flies in the face of the decades of energy that the EU has invested in turning the page on past conflagrations in Europe and its neighbourhood.…  Seguir leyendo »

Demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 2021. Stringer / Reuters

Ever since the Burmese military seized power in a coup in early 2021, the country has been caught in a deadly tailspin. What began as peaceful mass protest against the junta flared into armed resistance, with much of the country descending into renewed civil war. The conflict has since turned into a protracted insurgency, with newer pro-democracy forces fighting alongside ethnic armed groups that have battled central authorities for decades. Amid growing signs of a strategic stalemate, both the junta and the resistance appear determined to fight on. Neighboring states have tried to mediate, but a negotiated peace is not in sight.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters wave the flags of groups opposed to Myanmar’s military during a protest in Yangon in 2021 against the coup that took place three weeks earlier. USUAF

When the military seized power in a coup on the morning of Feb. 1, 2021, I grabbed some clothes and other essentials and stumbled out onto the streets of Yangon. I haven’t returned home since.

I lead a group of activists opposed to military rule of Myanmar, and I knew then that the soldiers would soon be coming for me. Since the coup, my colleagues and I have played cat and mouse with security forces in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. We organize nonviolent protests — small, quick demonstrations to remind the military that it is not in complete control and to give hope to our citizens.…  Seguir leyendo »

Why Inclusion Matters for Myanmar’s Resistance

“You’ve messed with the wrong generation”.

In the days after Myanmar’s military staged a coup in February 2021, sparking mass protests across the country, this became a regular refrain for those opposing the military takeover, appearing on banners, placards and social media posts. Younger people – Generation Z and millennials – were the main driving force behind popular opposition to the power grab, not only on the streets but also within the Civil Disobedience Movement and online. They orchestrated boycotts of military-linked goods, launched fundraising drives for anti-coup activities, and organized “social punishment” campaigns aimed at pressuring individuals to cut ties with the regime.…  Seguir leyendo »

Burmese protesters hold up pictures of detained Burmese civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a demonstration outside Myanmar’s embassy in Bangkok on Dec. 19, 2022. Jack Taylor/AFP via Getty Images

Myanmar’s military dictatorship brought 2022 to an end in just as inhumane and brutal a manner as it had attempted to rule the country throughout the year: by sentencing democracy leader and former de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi to another seven years in prison on sham charges of corruption, taking her total sentence to 33 years. The 77-year-old Nobel laureate, who has been jailed over the past 18 months on 19 false charges, faces the prospect of spending the rest of her life behind bars.

Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy, won an overwhelming victory in November 2020 elections and were poised to begin a second term of government.…  Seguir leyendo »

U Kyaw Min Yu, his wife, Daw Nilar Thein, and their daughter after the couple’s release from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, in January 2012. Soe Than Win/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

We apologized to our baby daughter before she was born.

My husband, Kyaw Min Yu, a writer and activist known across Myanmar as Ko Jimmy, would lean down to my swollen belly, recite Buddhist mantras of love and say we’re sorry for the life we had chosen. We had spent years campaigning for a democratic Myanmar, were repeatedly imprisoned for that, and were painfully aware that our little girl, Phyu Nay Kyi Min Yu, whom we nicknamed Whitey (“Phyu” means white in Burmese), would not enjoy a normal childhood.

Fifteen years later, our worst fears have come true. My husband is dead, executed in July by Myanmar’s military junta, which overthrew a democratically elected civilian government and seized power in February of last year.…  Seguir leyendo »

Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military council, inspects officers during a parade to commemorate Myanmar's 77th Armed Forces Day in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on March 27. (Aung Shine Oo/AP)

The United Nations acted decisively in response to the crisis in Ukraine. The Security Council voted on a condemnation resolution within 24 hours of the Russian invasion. When Russia predictably used its veto to block the resolution, the General Assembly promptly established a process to subject future use of the veto to greater scrutiny. The secretary general visited Ukraine and brokered an agreement to prevent global food shortages due to the conflict. U.N. agencies mobilized under his leadership to see the agreement implemented.

Ukraine has shown that the United Nations can act in a crisis. Unfortunately, the same does not apply to a comparably dire situation in a country on the other side of the world: Myanmar.…  Seguir leyendo »

Estoy en el que llamamos «Hospital en la Colina» de Médicos Sin Fronteras (MSF) en Bangladesh. Desde aquí, desde este cerro en Bazar, se divisa parte del mayor campo de refugiados del mundo. Bazar, un destino turístico de playas kilométricas en el sureste del país, alberga hoy un millón de refugiados rohingyas.

A pesar de haber estado dos años trabajando en este lugar, me sigue sorprendiendo su enorme escala. Es un caos organizado, una mezcla de precarias cabañas de bambú y plástico construidas con la misma rapidez con la que se taló el bosque. Una apariencia de orden jalonada de caminos y desagües que, como cicatrices, recorren las cimas y las laderas de las colinas, todo ello contenido dentro de un kilómetro tras otro de vallas de alambre de espino.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the Myanmar security forces stand guard on a street in Yangon on July 19. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Ever since the Myanmar junta seized power in February 2021, there have been calls to engage with the regime to negotiate a path to peace. But facing a widespread resistance, the desperate junta will stop at nothing—including mass killings and large-scale village arson attacks—to remain in power. So far, the military regime has shown no signs of backing down and has continued to intensify violent repression.

The recent execution of four pro-democracy activists against appeals by the international community clearly demonstrates that the junta rejects the peaceful resolution to the current crises, as has been proposed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and neighboring countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Myanmar protester wears a facemask of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party during a demonstration near Sule Pagoda in Yangon against the military coup. Photo by Myat Thu Kyaw/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Whichever angle it is viewed from, it is clear the situation in Myanmar has significantly worsened one year on from the Tatmadaw military coup – and the military itself appears to have badly misjudged the degree to which the population had changed after enjoying a decade of relative freedom, underestimating the level of resistance it would face.

The Tatmadaw has been attempting to brutalize the population into submission with reports estimating almost 1,500 killed by the military – many of them allegedly tortured to death – and 12,000 arrested, has instead only resulted in radicalization rather than acquiescence, but this resistance is having devastating effects.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters discharge fire extinguishers to counter the effects of tear gas fired by police in Mandalay, Myanmar, on March 7, 2021. (AP)

A little over a year ago, I was filled with hope for the future of my country. In November 2020, citizens of Myanmar had voted overwhelmingly for pro-democracy forces in a national election — the culmination of about a decade of progress toward a more open society. Like many others, I had taken advantage of our country’s access to the world to seize new opportunities — in my case, graduate study in the United States. In January 2021, I took a job working for lawmakers in our nascent parliament.

But then everything changed. On. Feb. 1, 2021, I was in Naypyidaw, the capital, getting ready to start work on the first day of a new parliamentary session.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesters make the three-finger salute as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on 1 December 2021. STR / AFP

What is the situation in Myanmar today?

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing clearly did not anticipate that his power grab would face such strong, determined resistance when he engineered the coup a year ago. The resistance emerged almost immediately after his junta deposed the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, charging her with numerous offences most regard as trumped-up. Since then, despite its brutal repression of opposition, the military regime has been unable to consolidate control of the country. It is resorting to increasingly extreme violence to try terrorising the population into submission. It has killed some 1,500 civilians in the past year – including some who were summarily executed or tortured to death in interrogation centres – and arrested, charged or jailed nearly 9,000 more.…  Seguir leyendo »

Aung San Suu Kyi, left, and Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, right, in Naypyidaw, the Myanmar capital, on May 6, 2016. (Aung Shine Oo/AP)

On Monday, a Myanmar court sentenced Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to two years in prison for inciting unrest and breaking covid-19 regulations. She is on trial for nine more alleged offenses. Even if she were to be cleared of all of them, one can be certain that the reigning military junta would come up with further charges. So long as the generals remain in control of the government in Myanmar, Suu Kyi is guaranteed to spend the rest of her life in prison.

Last year, she emerged as the overwhelming victor in her second national election. Threatened by her popularity, and fearing the buildup of an irreversible democratic momentum in the country, the Myanmar military launched a coup in February.…  Seguir leyendo »

Min Aung Hlaing led a military coup in February that overthrew Myanmar’s elected leaders. Photograph: Reuters

Promoting democracy worldwide is an admirable ambition, unless of course you are a bloody-minded dictator and serial human rights abuser like Myanmar’s top general, Min Aung Hlaing. This coup leader and junta boss prefers brute force to ballot boxes.

While the US president, Joe Biden, hosts more than 100 countries at a virtual “summit for democracy” this week, Min Aung Hlaing and his Tatmadaw troops will be busy killing civilians for demanding democratic rights, launching merciless attacks on villagers they call “terrorists”.

The contrast between what the US state department says the summit aims to do – counter authoritarianism, fight corruption, promote human rights – and the international community’s inability to do any of that in Myanmar could not be starker.…  Seguir leyendo »

How Myanmar coup fuelled rise in illegal drugs trade

In a predawn operation on August 13, Thai police seized 1,000kg of crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as “ice”, alongside a highway in Hat Yai province in the south of the country. The seizure — with a street value of 300m Thai baht ($9m) — was one of several in recent weeks in Thailand and across south-east Asia that officials and analysts who track drug trafficking and addiction in the region are watching with growing alarm.

They say the narcotics originate from neighbouring Myanmar, which has spun into political chaos and civil conflict since February’s military coup toppled Aung San Suu Kyi.…  Seguir leyendo »