The Burmese military announced on 28th March 2023 that it has banned 40 political parties, including the National League for Democracy (NLD), which has won every election it has been able to contest.
The ban follows the military demanding that the political parties reregister with the military-appointed Union Election Commission, something the parties refused to do as the military has no legitimacy or legal power to set election rules.
The Burmese military have arrested, killed, jailed and tortured NLD members, and closed their offices, but have never gone so far as to impose a complete ban. The ban is a sign of how desperate and insecure the Burmese military are as they face unprecedented resistance after their attempted coup began two years ago.
“The Burmese military banning 40 political parties should be a wake-up call to those in the international community who still think there can be genuine dialogue and compromise with the military,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “For decades the Burmese military has held the country back from building democracy, human rights, and economic development. The people of Burma want a future without the Burmese military and the international community should be supporting them in achieving that goal. At the present time, the Burmese military receives far more international support than Burma’s democracy movement, with even the USA and UK still dithering over whether to sanction gas revenues.”
There are no soft-liners or genuine reformers in the military waiting in the wings. The Burmese military is not an institution which can be reformed. Each leader is more hardline and brutal than the last. Even the so-called reform period during the 2010s saw a significant escalation of violence and human rights violations perpetrated against ethnic people in Burma, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The plodding pace of the implementation of sanctions enables the Burmese military to continue to receive revenue, arms and equipment, including aviation fuel, which it is using to commit violations of international law against the population of Burma.
“Faced with increased repression, airstrikes, artillery bombardments and a humanitarian crisis, the people of Burma need swift and decisive action to cut off revenue and arms to the Burmese military, including gas revenue and aviation fuel. The pace of sanctions implementation is simply too slow, and people are dying as a result,” said Mark Farmaner.
The 40 political parties listed in Burmese military-controlled state media are:
- Lahu National Development Party
- Democratic Party (Myanmar)
- Kayen National Party
- Ta’ang (Palaung) National Party
- Party for Democracy and Peace
- Shan Nationalities Democratic Party
- Wunthanu Democratic Party
- National Democratic Party for Development
- Ethnic National Development Party (ENDP)
- Kaman National Development Party
- Bamar People’s Party
- National League for Democracy
- Democratic Party for a New Society
- Myanmar National Congress Party
- Asho Chin National Party
- Shan National League for Democracy
- United National Congress Party
- National Prosperity Party
- Dawei Nationalities Party
- Federal Union Party
- Union Pa-O National Organization
- Khumi (Khami) National Party
- Democratic Party for a New Society
- Karen National Party
- Mro National Democracy Party
- Guiding Star Party
- 88 Generation Democracy Party
- Lhaovo National Unity and Development Party
- New Era Union Party
- Zo National Region Development Party
- National Development Party
- Daingnet National Development Party
- Arakan League for Democracy Party
- Kayah State Democratic Party
- National United Democratic Party (NUDP)
- The Yeomanry Development Party (YDP)
- Chin National League for Democracy Party
- Chin National Party (CNP)
- Kachin National Party
- Alliance of Myanmar’s Worker and Farmer Party (AMWFP)