Myanmar is on the brink of becoming a failed state  . The rapidly deteriorating and increasingly violent crisis in post-coup Myanmar is producing atrocious consequences including over 500 deaths and more than 2,000 people detained since the military takeover of power on 1 February 2021. This crisis presents risks to both the people of Myanmar, threatening their lives and the enjoyment of their rights, and the ASEAN region as a whole. In fact, the risks to ASEAN are some of the greatest it has faced since its founding in 1967.
Risks to civilian protection, regional security, and development gains include:
- Increased bloodshed and violence against civilians, including women and children, inside Myanmar
- The likelihood of a protracted civil conflict, involving a broad civil insurrection against the Tatmadaw
- A major humanitarian crisis inside Myanmar characterized by widespread food insecurity and growing numbers of internally displaced persons, and exacerbated by diminishing humanitarian access for both international and local aid organisations
- Greater refugee flows to neighbouring countries and the wider region and the lack of a regional protection strategy to assure refuge and humanitarian assistance to people fleeing Myanmar
- A downward spiral of Myanmar’s domestic economy and a rise in poverty
- The very real possibility that Myanmar becomes a failed state with security, capacity, and legitimacy severely compromised, which could contribute to a rise in transnational crime across the region, including arms smuggling, drug trafficking, human trafficking and other illicit business activities
We, GWL Voices for Change and Inclusion, urge these actions to be taken to prevent the continuation of the fatal consequences that are taking place in Myanmar:
- The military must cease its violence against the peaceful Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) protesters,including women, release all political prisoners, and relinquish control . As of 3 April, it has been confirmed that 604 people have been killed following this junta coup. The actual number of fatalities is likely much higher. Additionally, a total of 2729 individuals have been detained in relation to the attempted military coup on February 1. Women have been at the forefront of the CDM, leading advocacy both on the ground and online. The military has traditionally used rape as a weapon of war against the ethnic minorities and will likely use sexual violence against female detainees. There have also been recorded instances of soldiers targeting female protestors with derogatory language and threats of sexual assault. We underline the military’s crimes against the Rohingya and reiterate the call in the General Assembly resolution on authorities to combat incitement of hatred against the Rohingya and other minorities.
- Urgent unfettered humanitarian access to people in need in Myanmar. We call on Myanmar’s neighbouring countries to provide access to territory and protection for those fleeing violence in Myanmar.
- The international community should not recognise the military to avoid granting it legitimacy. Any engagement with the military should be strictly limited to resolving the crisis. The international community should instead focus on engaging with the CRPH and other leaders that the people of Myanmar consider legitimate, such as ethnic leaders (including the Rohingya). GWL Voices agrees that a new charter that brings the military under civilian control and allows for an ethnically and religiously inclusive nation-building process is needed. The United Nations and its member states are urged to give official recognition to the Interim National Unity Government, which represents the will of the people, as the legitimate government of Myanmar. The support of the international community is a concrete step towards meaningful dialogue, restoring democracy, and mitigating the escalation of violence.
Myanmar suffers from a multi-faceted crisis that is political, economic, and ethnic. The country needs a political system which can provide freedom and stability. Meanwhile, its economic system needs rapid growth and development. Myanmar must also resolve complex ethnic conflicts as well as address its vulnerability to climate change. The young generations want to see Myanmar become a 21st century country, not move further backwards.
We, GWL Voices for Change and Inclusion, advocate for the implementation of these actions. The international community cannot look away from the situation in Myanmar. Silence is a non-action that will lead to the worsening of the situation.
This document is signed by GWL Voices members as a collective, with the exception of : Navi Pillay disassociates given her responsibilities as a judge].