Myanmar Remains In A Social And Economic Crisis Since Military Seized Power.
Myanmar Remains In A Social And Economic Crisis Since Military Seized Power.
Two years after the failed coup in February 2021, the world and aid donors have forgotten about Myanmar’s turmoil. Myanmar is still embroiled in a protracted battle that has split the nation politically, economically, and socially one year after the military takeover on February 1 2021.
In several areas of Myanmar, local civil wars have erupted, and millions of Burmese face utter destitution. Even if the international world primarily acts passively, Myanmar is beginning to resemble a failed state. After barely five years of democratic rule, Myanmar’s military came to power on February 1, 2021, thanks to Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party’s resounding victory.
The military has supported the partial democratic opening that Myanmar has experienced since 2011. Still, in the end, the military’s high brass could not accept Aung San Suu Kyi’s sustained popularity. Several charges she is currently dealing with could result in her leaving politics.
The military has asserted that it came to power to defend its brand of “disciplined democracy” and stop electoral fraud. The majority of people in Myanmar reject this assertion. Following the coup, hundreds of thousands of people protested and went on strikes across racial, religious, generational, and gender lines, sparking a sizable Civil Disobedience Movement. Additionally, about 2,000 police and military have deserted to the “people’s side.” They choose democracy over a return to the old military system.
Since that time, the opposition has improved its political clout. Additionally, it is attempting to strengthen internal cohesion, mainly through the National Unity Government (NUG), which is based primarily in exile. Parallel to this, the resistance has intensified its violence, sparking a nationwide battle between the military forces and civilians.
Myanmar’s economic catastrophe is another effect of the military coup. Foreign investment and tourism have plummeted due to the sanctions the world community has placed on the military and its officials. Due to this, the nation’s economy has experienced a rapid collapse, which has increased unemployment and widespread poverty. A shortage of needs like food and medicine has been brought on by military operations, making it impossible for people to get necessities like these.
The military is adamant about clinging to its recovered authority despite the fierce international criticism of the coup and the overwhelming resistance. The security forces’ violence, arrests, and scare tactics escalate daily. Over 1,500 civilians had been slain by the end of January 2022, and at least 12,000 people had been taken into custody.
The opposition hopes that a growingly cohesive resistance made up of the diverse groups in Myanmar would be able to put pressure on the military to leave and establish a new type of federal democracy. Although Western nations have levied some penalties, the international community has not yet taken many steps to condemn Myanmar’s military actions. Many believed that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, would significantly promote communication between the parties, but this expectation has not yet materialised.
Myanmar, along with Ukraine, is one of the nations that had the highest levels of violence and conflict fatalities last year, according to ACLED. This organisation gathers statistics on conflict severity. Since the failed coup, at least 1.1 million people have been displaced, and this year, 17.6 million people will require humanitarian aid, according to the UN.
While the number of those in need is identical in Myanmar and Ukraine, there is a glaring difference in the two nations’ humanitarian capacities. The UN-backed response plan for Ukraine is five times larger than the one for Myanmar, which is significantly underfunded. Compared to 79% for Ukraine, only 35% of the response plan for Myanmar was funded last year.
Even worse for Myanmar’s economy is that this year’s aid targets are far smaller than last year’s: 4.5 million people as opposed to 6.2 million. According to the UN, this choice results from a “realistic review of potential responses within a difficult access and finance context.”
Although it can be challenging to provide charity in Myanmar, there are various ways to do so. Even though this crisis has been going on for two years, numerous international humanitarian organisations and UN organisations are still working with the junta by signing dubious agreements and memoranda of understanding that give it international legitimacy.
Despite decades of unambiguous evidence to the contrary, they do this in the expectation that the military will collaborate and widen the field for humanitarian operations. It’s either a hallucination or a selfish plan that ignores the demands of the people of Myanmar.
War on civilians
Since the crackdown on demonstrators in towns and cities, the military has forcefully and frequently indiscriminately attacked regions of the nation controlled by rebels. Its strategies include breaking into homes to apprehend adversaries and taking family members hostage if they can’t locate their target. As of December 2022, the junta had detained over 143 journalists and closed down independent press organisations.
Soldiers have raped women, fired at fleeing residents, burned homes and villages, and cut off the food supply in rural areas. A civilian camp was struck by fighter jets. At least 80 people were killed when military aircraft bombed an outdoor concert in Kachin State on October 23.
Since the coup, fighting has forced at least 1.4 million people from their homes; many now reside in improvised camps in the bush. Aid organisations have been unable to provide food, medical care, and other assistance due to military restrictions.
Numerous migrants have escaped to nearby nations like Thailand and India. They frequently don’t belong. Refugees who attempted to cross the border were turned away by Thailand. Additionally, Malaysia deported at least 150 people in October before UN representatives could determine whether they were eligible for political asylum, drawing stern criticism from human rights organisations.
The world’s response
The United States and other foreign nations have fiercely denounced the coup and imposed sanctions on junta leaders. However, the UN Security Council, which supports Myanmar because it has two veto-wielding members in Russia and China, has not taken many actions. Myanmar receives a lot of armaments from Russia.
A “Five-Point Consensus” on resolving the crisis was adopted by the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar. Reaching a peaceful conclusion demands an immediate cessation of hostilities and productive conversation. However, neither the regional organisation nor the junta has taken any action to implement the idea.
Rights organisations have urged world governments to adopt strong measures, such as instituting a worldwide arms embargo, outlawing the sale of aviation fuel, and withholding funds from Myanmar’s joint ventures with foreign corporations.
In conclusion, since the military seized power, Myanmar has remained in a social and economic disaster state. Widespread human rights abuses, a collapse in the nation’s economy, and a humanitarian crisis have all been caused by the military’s actions. The international community must cooperate to bring democracy back to Myanmar and ensure its citizens live in peace and prosperity.
edited and proofread by nikita sharma