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Burma Coup Watch May 2022 – Junta and AA on the Brink of War As Displacement Figures Hit Record High

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Key summary points:

• As of 27 May, there had been at least 12,169 armed clashes and attacks in Burma under the junta, and junta forces had arrested 13,902 civilians. It was reported that at least 5,646 civilians had been killed since 1 Feb 2021, a number unprecedented
in Burma’s modern history.

• The number of IDPs exceeded one million for the first time. Junta troops continued to slash their way through the country, killing civilians and torching villages. Conflict also heated up significantly in the West, with several clashes breaking out between the junta and the Arakan Army (AA) amid an increase in military activity.

• The Restoration Council of Shan State and the New Mon State Party signed several agreements with the regime. The KIO, KNU, KNPP, CNF and other major armed groups refused to attend the junta-led peace talks.

• Reporting showed that junta mismanagement has led to the collapse of healthcare services. Vaccination rates plummeted to staggering lows, resulting in outbreaks of preventable diseases in border areas.

• The regime changed the voting system and created more electoral districts to rig the next elections. It continued to judicially persecute top National League for Democracy (NLD) officials while pro-junta vigilante groups stepped up attacks on party members and supporters.

• The junta continued to target perceived opponents and their families as more reports of torture in custody emerged. It also unleashed terror groups against journalists in a new low for Burma’s media environment.

• The cash-strapped regime started targeting businesses and cronies while its disastrous policies continued to hurt the economy. China lent a helping hand, lifting bilateral tariffs on major forex sources and offering cross-border solutions to electricity blackouts.

• ASEAN drew strong criticism for putting the junta at the center of its humanitarian response. In a snub to the regime, Burma was represented with an empty chair at the first US-ASEAN summit. Malaysia broke ranks by becoming the first ASEAN member to officially engage with the National Unity Government (NUG).

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