Updated: Mar 10, 2021
On February 1st, Myanmar’s entire governance was altered: a decade-long democratic system was uprooted by the launching of a coup against the nation’s most prominent political party. The party, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, was replaced by Myanmar’s military in a violent coup, which has drawn condemnation from all over the world.
This was done without support from the people, and as pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets to denounce the takeover. In response, the military launched a bloody crackdown, employing violent tactics to ensure control over the people was obtained. Civilian leaders were arrested, protestors were brutalized, and access to internet was shut off.
While the military has time-set their reign, saying that it will remain in control for at least a year, it’s unlikely that the military, which has virtually seized complete control over Myanmar, will relinquish power after 12 months. The ultimate authority now rests with Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who, as the leader of the military, has overseen numerous campaigns against several of Myanmar’s ethnic minority groups, like the Rohingya, the Shan, and the Kokang.
International response to this overthrow in power has varied quite a bit, with the UK, Canada, New Zealand, the US, and the EU all announcing targeted sanctions on Myanmar’s military leaders. However, on the other hand, neighboring countries like China and Russia have shown implicit support for the military, with China even blocking UN condemnation of the Myanmar military and ignoring cries for help.
Regardless of the specific action taken, it’s necessary for nations around the world to act in an effort to defend individuals within Myanmar who are being stripped of basic rights, like freedom of speech and movement, and as individuals across the world, it’s also necessary for us to continue keeping tabs on the situation to ensure that those rights are upheld.
Ashley Shan, District 13