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Coup Watch December 2021: Junta Capitalizes on Poor International Resolve to Step Up Savagery

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  • Burma’s illegitimate military regime kept trying to grind down a nation that overwhelmingly rejects it. During 1 Feb–10 Dec 2021, there were at least 7,053 attacks on civilians or armed clashes that failed to protect them, a 664% increase from the same period in 2020. As of December, junta forces had killed at least 94 women and 100 children. They also perpetrated systematic sexual and physical violence against women in detention.
  • As of 31 Dec, the junta had killed at least 1,384 people and arrested at least 11,289 politicians, activists, journalists, and others. It continued to target relatives of people evading arrest.
  • During December, junta forces escalated savage attacks on civilians—they murderously rammed vehicles into peaceful protesters, and burned civilians alive on multiple occasions.
  • The junta continued to shell, conduct air strikes, and raid and torch villages across the country, displacing tens of thousands of
    civilians. Increased attacks caused 5,000 Karen villagers to flee into Thailand, and pushed Thai villagers on the border to relocate
    for safety.
  • Junta courts handed down first sentences to State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and charged or sentenced over 30 other politicians. As of 1 Dec, 432 NLD members remained in detention. Junta military tribunals have sentenced at least 92 people to death.
  • The junta kept targeting perceived opponents, including CDM members, students, artists, and NUG supporters. Regime forces stepped up their attacks on the press, killing a journalist in custody for the first time since the coup began.
  • Junta forces continued to suffer heavy losses, with defections and deaths subtracting hundreds of soldiers per week. The junta tried to shore up its reserves by mandating military training for wives and children of service members, and recalling veterans.
  • Gemstone trade continued to provide a lifeline to the regime, helping it secure foreign currency. France and the US delayed sanctions on oil and gas under pressure from Chevron and Total.
  • UNDP warned that 46.3% of the population will be living in poverty in 2022. It is estimated that 14.4 million people—including 5 million children—will need humanitarian assistance in 2022. This is a dramatic increase of 1340% over pre-coup estimates of 1 million in 2021.

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