Since the Myanmar military took control of the country on 1 February 2021, 2,401 people have been killed, and 15,986 arrested for political resistance. The majority of the country’s 54 million people continue to resist military rule.
One of the single worst attacks took place on 23 October when the junta sent missiles into a township in Kachin state during a music festival killing nearly 100 people and injuring over another 100. The death toll was higher than it would have been as the military refused access for the injured to a nearby hospital. Civil society organisations in Kachin state have called for UN Security Council action.
And in a horrific and grotesque act of brutality, last week in the Taung Myint village in the rural Magway region of Central Myanmar, 46-year-old local high school teacher, Saw Tun Moe was found beheaded by local villagers and his head impaled on the school gate. The school was also burned down. The UN has documented 260 attacks on schools and education personnel since the 2021 coup.
These recent acts of extreme violence have shocked the international community and raised new concerns on the lack of international community action against the junta.
Unity in the call for sanctions
The Myanmar diaspora around the world is united in calling for sanctions against the military junta, its military-owned entities and senior military leaders. The US, EU and UK have introduced sanctions and continue to build on these with new sanctions. Australia has not as yet, and the federal Labor government continues to say sanctions are ‘under active consideration’. Here is a comparative list of sanctions against the Myanmar junta.
Workers led the resistance to military rule. And so they and their unions have also been targeted for murder and arrest. Here is an update on the situation of workers and union leaders killed or jailed.
Myanmar Roadmap to Democracy
On 29 September 2022, the Myanmar Campaign Network co-hosted a forum to discuss the Myanmar roadmap to federal democracy, with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and National Unity Government, at the Museum for Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and via Zoom.
The forum provided essential insights into the constitutional and political developments in Myanmar, and the challenges and opportunities for federal democracy, covering the interim institutions that emerged after last year’s coup, the importance of the federal democracy charter, transitional justice, the process of negotiating a new federal constitution and establishing a new justice system.
Dr. Tun Aung Shwe, the National Unity Government of Myanmar representative to Australia, spoke about the history of conflict in Myanmar. A panel discussion was moderated by Professor Mark Kenny, director of the National Press Club.
The panelists included Dr. Marcus Brand, Head of Programme Myanmar, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, and H.E. Dr. Lian Hmung Sakhong, Union Minister of the Federal Union Affairs Ministry, National Unity Government and H.E. Thein Oo Union Minister of Justice Ministry, National Unity Government who joined via Zoom. International IDEA’s Director of the Asia and the Pacific Region Leena Rikkilä Tamang made the closing remarks.