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Myanmar

Crisis Group is monitoring the upsurge in violence in the country triggered by the military's 1 February 2021 coup d'état which deposed the Aung San Suu Kyi administration. The regime has brutally cracked down on protesters, killing hundreds and detaining thousands. Public sector strikes and other forms of civil disobedience have prevented the regime from consolidating its control, and plunged the country into deep economic crisis. Some of the country’s ethnic armed groups have gone on the offensive, and new forms of armed resistance by civilian militias and underground networks have emerged. Although Rakhine State has so far avoided some of the worst of the violence, the plight of the Rohingya remains unaddressed and the prospects for a return of almost one million languishing in camps in Bangladesh looks bleak. Through field research and advocacy, Crisis Group works to understand the new violent dynamics unleashed by the coup and mitigate the impact on the people of the country.

CrisisWatch Myanmar

Unchanged Situation

Deadly fighting between Tatmadaw and resistance forces continued, while China demonstrated public support for regime. April saw profusion of military raids and clashes between regime and locally-organised people’s defence forces (PDFs). Notably, in Magway region regime forces 2-4 April raided villages in Yesagyo township, destroying at least 120 homes and killing elderly man; resistance groups 2-3 April clashed with military, reportedly killing commanding officer and injuring at least three soldiers in Myaing township. Elsewhere in Myaung township, 22 resistance groups 2-3 April led combined assault against military, reportedly killing 12 soldiers. In Sagaing region, regime forces 3 April raided village in Khin-U township, burning 200 homes; in Pinlebu township, Kachin Independence Army and PDF fighters 30 March-10 April clashed with regime forces, capturing key buildings before withdrawing under aerial bombardment from military; resistance forces reportedly detained at least eight soldiers, while fighting killed at least 13 civilians and resistance fighters and displaced some 1,000 civilians. In Kayin State, Karen National Liberation Army fighters 4 April clashed with regime forces at two locations along Kawkareik-Myawaddy stretch of so-called Asian Highway connecting Myanmar and Thailand. National Unity Govt (NUG), PDFs and ethnic armed groups 10 April congratulated Arakan Army (AA) on anniversary of foundation, underscoring growing power of group; AA leader warned that forces should “be ready to go to war”, raising possibility of renewed fighting between AA and regime forces in Rakhine state. Festivities were subdued at official Thingyan (Myanmar New Year) events 13-17 April, as resistance groups urged boycott; military 17 April announced release of 1,619 prisoners; monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma said 10,238 people were in detention for coup-related offences as of 15 April. NUG 7 April claimed responsibility for shooting Central Bank Deputy Governor. Naypyitaw court 27 April sentenced deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi to five years imprisonment in first of 11 pending corruption cases. Meanwhile, State Administration Council (SAC) FM Wunna Maung 1 April met Chinese FM Wang Yi in Huangshan city, China; in strongest public backing of regime to date, China declared it “will always support Myanmar in safeguarding sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity”.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

20 Dec 2021
Myanmar's status as one of the world's largest illicit drug producers is only possible because of criminal justice failures. VICE

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
6 Dec 2021
Myanmar needs to be a much higher diplomatic priority for the major powers and the UN. The Guardian

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
21 Nov 2021
There’s significance in the propaganda war that’s playing out [in Myanmar]. I think they [the military] make the resistance feel emboldened and confident. The New York Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
1 Oct 2021
Much of the population [of Myanmar] is determined to prevent a return to military rule, at the cost of their lives if necessary. AFP

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
17 Sep 2021
Many people in Myanmar struggle to see how nonviolence can be effective in a situation where the regime is willing to unleash extraordinary levels of violence against ordinary people. LA Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
7 Aug 2021
This is a deep, deep economic crisis [in Myanmar]. It’s a confidence issue — confidence in the regime, the banks and the economy. The New York Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar

Latest Updates

Event Recording / Global

EU Watch List: 10 Cases Where the EU can Build Peace in 2022 (Online Event, 28th January 2022)

Crisis Group’s Watch List identifies ten countries or regions at risk of deadly conflict or escalation thereof in 2022. In these places, early action, driven or supported by the EU and its member states, could enhance prospects for peace and stability.

Briefing / Asia

The Deadly Stalemate in Post-coup Myanmar

World attention to Myanmar is waning, despite the deepening impasse between the junta and resistance forces. Major powers should back the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in reinvigorated efforts to relieve the suffering of people facing poverty and disease as well as regime repression.

Podcast / Asia

#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and guest co-host Comfort Ero talk to Crisis Group’s Richard Horsey about the armed resistance forming against the military regime in Myanmar six months after the coup and the broader crisis provoked by the Tatmadaw’s crackdown.

Briefing / Asia

Taking Aim at the Tatmadaw: The New Armed Resistance to Myanmar’s Coup

Across Myanmar, militias are forming to counter deadly repression of demonstrations against the 1 February coup. In response, the military has deliberately targeted civilians, displacing tens of thousands. Outside actors should press the regime to respect international law and allow humanitarian aid to the displaced.

Also available in Burmese
Commentary / Asia

Help Contain the Damage of Myanmar’s Military Coup

The 1 February coup d’état has pushed Myanmar toward possible state collapse. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2021 – Spring Update, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to channel significant aid to Myanmar, support regional diplomacy, expand targeted sanctions on the regime and ensure that the EU arms embargo is strictly enforced.

Our People

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
rshorsey

Thomas Kean

Senior Consultant, Myanmar & Bangladesh
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