Since international efforts have failed to protect the people of Myanmar, a People’s Defence Force (PDF) has been constituted in the troubled nation.
By Rakesh Raman
A Myanmar court ruled today (April 27) that the overthrown leader Aung San Suu Kyi will serve a 5-year prison sentence in a corruption case which is largely believed to be fabricated. The case is stated to be the first of 11 corruption charges against the Nobel laureate, each carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
As the military junta is holding her trials clandestinely, the full details of the case are not known. In December 2021, the court had sentenced Ms Suu Kyi to four years in prison under charges of inciting dissent and breaking Covid rules under a natural disasters law.
She has been in detention since a military coup on February 1, 2021 toppled her elected civilian government, ending a brief period of democracy in the Southeast Asian country.
The military rulers in Myanmar have blatantly defied the repeated calls from world leaders to protect human rights of the citizens and restore democracy in the country. The governments of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States had issued a joint statement in November about the deteriorating situation in Myanmar.
The leaders of these countries also said they will continue to work closely with ASEAN, the UN, and the wider international community to promote accountability and support a lasting resolution to the current crisis and a return to the path of democracy in Myanmar.
However, the military junta’s “reign of terror” in the country continues and all the international measures including sanctions have failed to restore normalcy in Myanmar.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a new report released in March 2022 that the international community must take immediate measures to stem the spiral of violence in Myanmar, where the military has engaged in systematic and widespread human rights violations and abuses – some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
At least 1,600 people have been killed by security forces and their affiliates and more than 12,500 people have been detained in Myanmar. At least 440,000 others have been displaced and 14 million are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, the delivery of which has largely been blocked by the military in new and pre-existing areas of need.
Since international efforts have failed to protect the people of Myanmar, a People’s Defence Force (PDF) has been constituted in the troubled nation. PDF is the armed wing of the National Unity Government (NUG) comprising youth and pro-democracy activists who resist attacks by the autocratic military junta. Estimates suggest that PDF’s membership reached 50,000 in February 2022.
By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society.
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