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Myanmar: International community must intervene in junta’s forced conscription of youth

February 19th, 2024  •  Author:   FORUM-ASIA  •  2 minute read
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The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) strongly condemns the forced conscription of Myanmar youth as ordered by the military junta on 10 February 2024.

The People’s Military Service Law requires young men ages 18 to 35 and women ages 18 to 27 to serve for up to two years in the military, with possible extensions up to five years during a state of emergency.

For those with specialist expertise—including doctors and engineers—the age range is extended to 45 among men and to 35 among women, with an extended service mandate of up to three years.

Evading orders is punishable by three to five years in prison. However, there are exemptions for members of religious orders, married women, persons with disabilities, those exempted by the conscription board, and those declared unfit by the military medical assessment board. Nevertheless, such exemptions only allow the regime to extort bribes from families wishing to prevent their loved ones’ conscription.

 

Protect Myanmar’s Youth

The draft is set to begin in April. However, there have been reports of mass arrests and abductions of youths for the purpose of forced conscription.

Thousands of youths are scrambling to flee the country, with the majority eyeing Thailand as their destination. The forced conscription order will undoubtedly create an influx of displaced youth, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian and human rights crisis in Myanmar.

‘The illegitimate military junta’s forced conscription order violates international law. This will further restrict Myanmar’s fragile civic space and deprive the youth of their fundamental freedoms. This order must not take effect. FORUM-ASIA invites the international community to condemn the illegitimate junta and all their actions that clearly violate the Myanmar people’s fundamental rights and freedoms,’ said Mary Aileen Diez-Bacalso, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a network of 85 member organisations across 23 countries, mainly in Asia. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity development and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The FORUM-ASIA Secretariat is based in Bangkok, with offices in Jakarta, Geneva and Kathmandu. www.forum-asia.org

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