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.
In August 2017, the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. Hundreds of thousands fled and are now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Thomas Kean explains why prospects for near-term repatriation remain low.
Military clashed heavily with Arakan Army in Rakhine State and resistance forces in centre amid mounting allegations of atrocities, while regime pardoned thousands of prisoners.
Arakan Army (AA) stepped up ambushes on military in Rakhine State. Clashes were reported in four townships 8 Nov, with AA claiming to have killed at least ten members of security forces. AA landmines 10 Nov struck military truck carrying rations in Ponnagyun township, killing ten soldiers; regime forces same day retaliated by massacring at least nine civilians in nearby village. AA 14 Nov ambushed military convoy in northern Maungdaw township, 15 Nov attacked military outposts in Buthidaung and Ponnagyun townships. Military 15 Nov allegedly shelled children’s birthday party in Maungdaw, killing at least 11 civilians.
Resistance forces and military battled in central and southern areas. In Sagaing region, regime soldiers 6 Nov allegedly killed as many as 14 people, including eight civilians and four People’s Defence Forces (PDF) members, in Monywa township; several victims showed signs of severe torture. Meanwhile, Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) and allied PDFs launched several major attacks in mid-Nov, capturing military outposts; notably, 12 Nov attacked police station in Kyaikmayaw township, Mon State, killing three police officers, and same day captured three military camps in Bago region.
Regime released prisoners amid 2023 election preparations. In mass pardon to mark National Day, regime 17 Nov released almost 6,000 prisoners, including former ministers, activists, senior National League for Democracy (NLD) officials and four foreigners; regime claimed 700 were political prisoners. Meanwhile, Vice Senior General Soe Win 10 Nov chaired meeting on verifying voter lists for 2023 election while leader Min Aung Hlaing next day underscored importance of ongoing peace talks with ethnic armed groups to support election, expressing hope of concluding agreements with armed groups by year’s end. New Mon State Party 9-10 Nov participated in third round of talks with regime.
ASEAN reiterated support for its diplomatic initiative. Regional body ASEAN leaders 11 Nov retained its Five Point Consensus to end crisis, tasked FMs with developing “concrete” implementation plan, and agreed to maintain ban on regime officials attending meetings.
This charge against a Japanese journalist shows the regime [in Myanmar] is determined to continue stifling objective reporting, whether by local or foreign journalists.
Myanmar's status as one of the world's largest illicit drug producers is only possible because of criminal justice failures.
Myanmar needs to be a much higher diplomatic priority for the major powers and the UN.
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.
Much of the population [of Myanmar] is determined to prevent a return to military rule, at the cost of their lives if necessary.
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 ord...
Facing opprobrium after the 2021 coup, the junta in Naypyitaw has deepened its relationship with the Kremlin to relieve international pressure. Powers wishing to see Myanmar return to democracy should not try to break these ties but rather redouble their targeted sanctions and embargo efforts.
An unofficial ceasefire has kept Rakhine State quiet compared to much of Myanmar following the 2021 coup. But friction is building between the military and ethnic Rakhine fighters. The parties should strike a formal deal to avert a return to war.
Armed opposition to Myanmar’s coup is spreading, leading the junta to mobilise civilian militias that, in turn, have set off a spate of reprisals. For now, informal justice meted out by local leaders is the best means of stopping the pattern from becoming self-sustaining.
In this short interview, Crisis Group's Myanmar expert Richard Horsey assesses the situation in Myanmar one year after the military coup, and what the future may hold.
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.
The 1 February 2021 coup in Myanmar removed Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government. A broad spectrum of society continues to resist the coup in various ways. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey assesses the situation and what the future may hold.
The numerous ethnic armed groups fighting Myanmar’s regime have taken different tacks after the 2021 coup. Some are aiding the parallel government; others are not. With civil strife set to continue for some time, donors should concentrate on mitigating war’s effects on the population.
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.
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