Myanmar has been in turmoil since armed forces have deposed elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi on the 01st of February. Followed by mass protests for freedom and democracy, which are shut down violently.
In November Aung San Suu Kyi was elected government leader of Myanmar, she is part of the National League for Democracy (NLD). After her election, Myanmar’s armed forces, the Tatmadaw, stated that the election was fraudulent. The armed forces have backed the Myanmar opposition, who were demanding a new election. This was followed by forcefully dispatching the country’s civilian government in early February, removing civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The military declared a year-long state of emergency. Because the election commission stated that there was no evidence of fraud during the election diverse actors, such as the EU, the U.S. and the UK are referring to the happenings as a “military coup“. Military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing has taken power now. He said that the takeover was due to the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of vote fraud in November’s election. He has received international sanctions for his alleged role in the military’s attacks on ethnic minorities.
Christine Schraner Burgener, the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar, stated: “that the situation in the country challenges the stability of the region and could lead to a real war“.
Moreover, Human Rights Watch adviser Linda Lakhdhir has underlined that “This is an extremely crushing blow to efforts to present Myanmar as a democracy”
Since the intervention Suu Kyi has been held at an unknown location, facing various charges, such as violation of countries official secrets act and publishing information that might cause fear. Since February mass protests started, demanding freedom, justice, and democracy. The protests are the largest in Myanmar, since the so-called „Saffron Revolution“ in 2007. They were violently interrupted and controlled by the military. International criticism was raised due to the violation of peaceful protests. The military has imposed curfews, limits on gatherings and other restrictions. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) has published that approximately 776 people died and more than 4800 individuals went to prison, after the coup.
The EU has expanded sanctions on Myanmar military officials and two companies, over a coup and the suppression of peaceful protests. The sanctions include travel bans and asset freezes. “The individuals targeted by sanctions are all responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar/Burma, and for repressive decisions and serious human rights violations,” was stated by the Council of the EU. Moreover, the Tatmadaw military has been urged to publicly commit to honoring the fundamental rights of freedom and freedom of expression during protests.
Also, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has stated that the violence against citizens must stop and democracy should be reinforced.
Overall, the military coup and violation of protests are alarming processes in the area of Myanmar, which could lead to reducing peace in the region and are a threat to democracy and human rights.