Conflict in Myanmar continues to escalate

The situation in Myanmar has escalated dramatically since our last report, with the Burma Coordinator for the Alternative ASEAN Network, Debbie Stothard, declaring “an all-out civil war” as an increasing probability in Myanmar to the BBC.

According to Turkish News site “Anadolu” 581 civilians have been killed by the military in the country – with 43 children included in that statistic (Save the Children). Whilst the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group have put the figure of those arrested at 3,500 with 2,750 remaining in custody.

The protests have been against the coup brought in by the military of February 1st, but also against the internet access block and denial of print media. Alp Toker, founder of internet blockage observatory NetBlocks, told Reuters that there is an “information abyss” occurring in Myanmar.

Despite this, eight countries attended a parade celebrating Myanmar’s military on March 27th. Those being India, China, Russia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

China is perceived to be supportive of the Military coup in Myanmar and as a result 32 Chinese-invested factories in the country have been subjected to arson attacks in the last month.

Unlike the US and UK, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have rejected the idea of sanctions against the country. The likelihood too, of imposed sanctions from the UN is poor as both China and Russia hold veto seats on the UN security council.

Could the situation in Myanmar bring tensions between “east” and “west” to a boiling point?

With Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, in an Interview with Al-Jazeera, suggesting the military could extend its emergency order to two years, it is certainly reinforcing the notion that the turmoil in Myanmar will not simply disappear.

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Freyja Elwood

May 2021
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