Myanmar’s military junta has sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in jail – later reduced to two – but this shows no sign of slowing all kinds of resistance against military rule, reports France 24.
Much of this is down to younger generations who “were just used to speaking their mind on social media”, Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, told France 24. “They are used to more freedom of expression. They had a future ahead of them, and the military took that all away.”
“In 100 small ways, people are protesting every single day,” Mark Farmaner said. “No one is sitting around and waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi to be released. Things are not dependent on one leader anymore, and they cannot arrest enough people because it’s not the same kind of resistance as before.”
Coordinated legal actions on behalf of victims and survivors of genocide started today in the UK and US, reports the law firm Mishcon de Reya. They allege that Facebook’s negligence encouraged and facilitated the genocide carried out by the Myanmar regime and its extremist supporters against the Rohingya people.
Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK, commented: “These cases are important not just to compensate Rohingya genocide survivors, but also to force Facebook to face up to the role it played in facilitating genocide and change the way it operates. Even today Facebook still allows the military to use Facebook to raise funds and spread propaganda.”
Aung San Suu Kyi has been sentenced to two years in prison on charges of incitement and violating COVID-19 restrictions, reports Canada’s Globe and Mail.
Ten months after the military overthrew and imprisoned her, the regime’s decision to prosecute rather than returning her to house arrest sends a signal that “they’re not willing to consider any compromise whatsoever,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK.
“I was 4 years old when my mom took me to meet my dad for the first time. I thought we were traveling to a park or a playground, but then we arrived outside Insein prison in Rangoon” writes Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, Burma Campaign UK’s Campaigns Officer, in CNN Opinion.
“Since then, he has been in and out of prison for continuing to protest military rule and advocating for human rights … The same day the [February 1] coup began, the military came for my father, who had most recently been released from prison in 2012.
“Though I do not know when my father will be released from prison this time, or when I will be able to go home safely, I will continue to speak out against the military and amplify the voices of people in Burma who have been oppressed by the brutal military regime.”
Despite several major accounting bodies around the world pulling out of the upcoming ASEAN Federation of Accountants’ conference in protest at the inclusion of the Myanmar junta’s auditor general as a keynote speaker, two UK accounting bodies say they will still attend. They are the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
“ACCA and ICAEW are deluded if they think participating in a conference with a representative of a military regime which committed genocide is acceptable,” Burma Campaign UK’s director, Mark Farmaner, told Myanmar Now. “These organisations have a low public profile but now face their public reputation being associated with a military which rapes children.”
Government violence against the Christian minority in Myanmar is intensifying, reports the Catholic Herald.
More than 18,300 people have been displaced in the attacks on the Christian-majority Chin State, which has been at the forefront of some of the strongest resistance to the military junta following the coup of February 1.
Human Rights Watch and Burma Campaign UK are among more than 500 civil rights organisations who are calling on the UN Security Council to ‘act now to end the Myanmar junta’s campaign of terror’.
Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to the UN, said that he had held “productive” talks with Min Aung Hlaing, the general who led the February coup, on a recent visit to discuss humanitarian aid. Rights activists said he gave the junta an air of legitimacy.
Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK, was critical of Mr. Richardson for not securing the release of other prisoners apart from a former employee of his nonprofit group. Mark Farmaner said on Twitter that the trip had given Min Aung Hlaing “the money shot he waited 9 months for. Will he get Danny Fenster [an American journalist] in return? What about the other 7,000 political prisoners?”
The United Nations security council is facing new calls to act against the Myanmar junta after soldiers burnt scores of homes, churches and charitable institutions in a brutal campaign against resistance fighters.
The Times reports that more than 500 civil rights organisations, including Burma Campaign UK, have signed a letter to the security council urging an international arms embargo against Myanmar as fears grow of a new offensive against anti-junta forces in Chin State, in the far northwest.
“As the offensives escalate in Chin State, the security council must act. It must convene an urgent meeting on the escalating attacks and the overall deepening political, human rights and humanitarian crisis”, says the letter.
Myanmar’s military has been accused of torching and occupying churches and killing and detaining pastors in its latest brutal offensive in Chin state on the northwest border with India, reports the Telegraph. Fears rise that the military is building up to a major assault on the majority Christian state.
“The situation in North-Western Burma today has some echoes of the situation in Rakhine State in 2017 before the military offensive against the Rohingya,” said Anna Roberts, executive director of Burma Campaign UK.
The Myanmar regime will not be invited to attend the upcoming G7-ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in person, the UK has said. The UK is serving as the G7’s host nation this year, reports the Irrawaddy.
Anna Roberts, executive director of Burma Campaign UK, said not being invited to the G7 ASEAN summit in the UK was another blow to the efforts of the Myanmar military to gain international legitimacy following the coup. “We urge them not to allow the military to take part via video link either. The military have no legitimacy as the representative of Burma [Myanmar] and should have no place at international diplomatic meetings.”