Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 354, 31 March 2021

Myanmar: Bloodiest week, Armed Forces Day celebration and the resurgence of ethnic conflicts
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

In the news
On 27 March, more than 100 people were killed by the security forces in a day. On the same day, the regime celebrated Armed Forces Day; it was attended by representatives from eight countries - Russia, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and India. On the same day, the Chiefs of Defence of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States released a joint statement condemning the violence in Myanmar. 

On 29 March, the Karen National Union (KNU) declared not cooperating with the current government. The Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA) had blocked the food supply to Tatmadaw stationed in the region. On 26 March, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) seized Myanmar's strategic outpost near the Chinese border. On 31 March, the Brotherhood alliance comprising of three ethnic armed forces (National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) and Arakan Army (AA) declared war against the Tatmadaw. 

This week, the violence and airstrikes have resulted in an exodus of more than 10,000 to the neighbouring countries. On 31 March, Thailand refused the Myanmarese refugees to enter its territory. On the other hand, Manipur, an Indian State, re-tracked its order and allowed the refugees to enter through Tamu, a small-town connecting Myanmar to India. 
 
Issues at large
First, the escalating State violence becomes evident. Compared to earlier weeks, this week has witnessed a surge in violence. The fatality was 200 in February;  in March, it has doubled and now is more than 500. This includes several children within the 5-15 age group. Shooting anybody in the road, plain cloth military personnel with ammunitions, killing and burning people during night raids, burning houses and attacking people during funerals have become the regime's strategy.   

Second, the Armed Forces Day celebration showcasing the regime's assertion and power. The presence of foreign dignitaries was a part of a strategy to showcase its international support. The Russian deputy defence chief, though, said that Moscow does not support violence, but the support towards the regime is evident. A statement made by Thailand's Prime Minister in Bangkok also underlines the same; regarding Thailand's participation in the above Armed Forces Day, he clarified that Thailand does not support violence but wants to maintain a good equation with the government regarding the refugee problem.

Third, the resurgence of ethnic conflict and a new refugee exodus. The ethnic conflicts in Myanmar are not new; however, the NLD government successfully brought the ten ethnic groups to sign NCA. These groups earlier declared to cooperate with the military but now have started attacking the latter. KNU was one the largest groups to have signed NCA but have declared that they do not recognize the present government.  This new development is leading to an exodus with people escaping to the neighbouring countries.

In perspective
In the coming weeks, the violence is likely to increase; the showcasing of the military power in the Armed Forces Day and the presence of international participants projects the strategy that the regime is likely to pursue in using force. Second, the continuing street protests and the statements from the ethnic groups highlight the likely response from the people and the ethnic groups. Third, the above developments led by the State and the ethnic groups are likely to create a new exodus into the neighbouring countries.

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins

March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire
February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt

January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars
December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists
November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal

January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings

December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019
November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar