Throughout the reporting period of January to June 2022, ND-Burma members witnessed the Myanmar military make a mockery of democratic norms and principles. Our findings make clear that the regime is continuing to act with deeply ingrained impunity amid a full fledged humanitarian crisis which has now seen over one million civilians internally displaced by the junta’s violence.1
When the Myanmar military orchestrated their coup on 1 February 2021, it changed the political discourse in the country. It also triggered a domino-like effect of opposition groups forming to protest the junta’s illegitimate seizure of power. Within the first few months following the overthrow of the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government, a Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) which continues to show its strength, emerged. Led by the civil service sector, medics, teachers, engineers and those representing other professions, announced that they would refuse to adhere to their responsibilities under the military junta. In March 2021, the CDM was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.2
In addition, the Spring Revolution has rallied support through strategic organizing efforts which have even exposed the military junta for violating their own Constitution in the attempted power-grab. The establishment of the National Unity Government (NUG) and the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) were formed as legitimate platforms for formal engagement and diplomacy in Myanmar. Armed opposition groups called People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) were created in direct response to the junta’s violence being deployed against civilians who rejected their illegal coup. Civilians across various backgrounds and ethnicities continue to work in solidarity in fierce opposition to the dictatorship.
What has become abundantly clear throughout the reporting period is that the junta is no match against the resilience and bravery of civil society organizations and pro-democracy affiliated organizations, including EROs. While global actors have overwhelmingly failed to respond to the multiple crises in Myanmar with the urgency required, actors inside the country have exemplified bravery by sacrificing their lives for their freedom. Rather than work with trusted, long-time activists, including the NUG, some international bodies have risked legitimizing the junta by working with them.