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 clashes between regime and armed groups persisted amid uptick in assassinations in urban areas, while regional body ASEAN lamented regime’s “limited progress” on plan to resolve crisis. Military and allied militias conducted village raids throughout month in northern Chin State, southern and western Sagaing region, northern Magway region and across Kayin State, Kayah State and Tanintharyi region, with local defence forces putting up resistance. Notably, more than dozen local defence forces in Dry Zone (centre) launched second combined offensive during month, reportedly inflicting significant army casualties. Month saw uptick in assassinations in urban areas: from 1-7 Aug, underground cells assassinated five long-serving pro-military Yangon state ward administrators and military killed three top underground cell leaders in Mandalay city. Local defence forces 21 Aug massacred eight members of family in Magway Region in apparent case of mistaken identity; defence force in Mandalay 23 Aug mistakenly killed married couple when targeting police officer with similar name. Tensions remained high between military and ethnic armed group Arakan Army (AA) with clashes escalating following deadly 13 Aug AA attack on military in Rathedaung township, Rakhine State; parties clashed several times in Maungdaw township, on border with Bangladesh. Kachin Independence Army 8 Aug launched significant attack, seizing regime outpost near Sezin village, Hpakant township, and two nearby outposts reportedly controlled by Shanni Nationalities Army; military next day deployed helicopter gunship and two fighter jets. As of 24 Aug, fighting had killed at least four civilians and displaced some 3,000 residents. On international front, regional body ASEAN 3 Aug held foreign ministers’ meeting without regime representation. Joint communique 5 Aug lamented “limited progress” and “lack of commitment” from regime to implement five-point consensus and recommended ASEAN summit in Nov assess progress to guide next steps; regime same day insisted ASEAN refrain from interference in “internal affairs.” Russian FM Sergey Lavrov 3 Aug visited capital Naypyitaw in first ever bilateral visit to Myanmar, likely intended as signal of support for regime. Regime 24 Aug detained former British Ambassador Vicky Bowman and husband Htein Lin, former political prisoner, for alleged household registration error pending trial in Sept.

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In The News

31 Jul 2022
This charge against a Japanese journalist shows the regime [in Myanmar] is determined to continue stifling objective reporting, whether by local or foreign journalists. AFP

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
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 ord... LA Times

Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar

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Richard Horsey

Senior Adviser, Myanmar
Richard Horsey

Thomas Kean

Senior Consultant, Myanmar & Bangladesh
Thomas Kean