On February 1st, 2021 the Myanmar military or Tatmadaw staged a raid to detain incoming State Chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. Phone lines in the capital were cut and state television dropped all broadcasts. 400 members of parliament were placed under house arrest and a one year long state of emergency was enacted to placed the Tatmadaw in power. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing accepted all executive, legislative, and judicial powers granted by the state of emergency.
The United Nations has recognized the actions of the Tatmadaw as a military coup and several nations have enacted sanctions over the coup and following crackdown on protests. On February 4th, 2021 the United Nations Security Council called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi without condemning the coup. On February 20th at a workers strike at a Mandalay shipyard, at least two were killed by security forces opening fire with live ammunition on the crowds. The trend of protestors and lethal crackdowns have continued, by May over 800 protestors had been killed. In December the Tatmadaw employed helicopter gunships to attack at least five villages that were home to members of the National League of Democracy, NLD, the political party of Aung San Suu Kyi. The number killed by that incident has not yet been recorded. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed grave concerns over the continued violations of the rights to life, liberty, prohibition against torture, and the right to a fair trial. As of December 10th, over 1,300 have been killed and 10,600 have been detained by the Tatmadaw.
“People’s Defence Forces” PDF, have been organizing and taking up armed resistance against the Tatmadaw, yielding additional conflict in the nation. Individual cells have fled into the jungles to train former protestors in the use of firearms and in military movement. A stalemate of attacks and counterattacks has fallen upon Myanmar.
On December 26th, the United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs condemned all attacks on civilians and called upon all armed groups in Myanmar to defend them after 33 civilians and two aid workers were killed in the Kayah state. The perpetrators of the attack were identified as members of Tatmadaw.
The United Nations Security Council must consider how to peacefully resolve this crisis and put an end to the attacks on civilians. The UNSC must also consider how to deal with the Tatmadaw government while it continues to imprison the elected leaders of Myanmar.