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Monthly Overview: Human Rights Situation in Mon State, Karen State & Tanintharyi Region

April 1st, 2024  •  Author:   Human Rights Foundation of Monland  •  2 minute read
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March 2024

Injustices in Southeastern Burma are Ongoing as Enforced Disappearances Increase Alongside the Junta’s Illegal and Unjust Forced Conscription Law

Young people and their families in Burma awoke to devastating news on February 10th 2024, following the junta’s announcement that it would begin enforcing mandatory military service. All men aged 18-35, and women aged 18-27 must serve for at least two years.

The declaration followed a trajectory of losses by the Burma Army, notably in Karen and Karenni States as well as in Chin, Kachin and Shan States. The enforcement also comes amid ongoing defections of high-ranking commanders and soldiers, as well as many troops surrendering to ethnic revolution organizations.

The law mandating conscription was initially introduced in Burma in 2010, though it was never put into effect.

Since the attempted coup on 1 February 2021, young people have been at the forefront of a Revolution that has refused to inherit another era of military rule. Women in particular adopted new roles as they transcended previously held gender stereotypes.

The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) was led by sectors dominated by women in education, labour and health care.

When the revolution shifted from peaceful protest to armed resistance, women joined their male comrades on the front-lines, where they continue to participate in the shared quest for freedom.

These efforts have not gone unseen by the military junta, which has unsuccessfully portrayed the youth as guilty in efforts to ‘destabilize the State.’ The regime-backed propaganda machine that has touted lies, fallacies and misinformation for decades has failed as the majority of civilians support the efforts of the revolution.

As stated by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Burma, “The tide is turning in Myanmar because of widespread citizen opposition to the junta and mounting battlefield victories by resistance forces.”

Now, the military is responding by trying to sabotage the futures of young people by forcing them to turn against their pro- democracy allies and take up arms. Those who fail to adhere to the law can be imprisoned for up to five years. Currently, more than 20,000 people have been unlawfully detained by the military junta for their revolutionary activities, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.