Southeast Asia’s most undemocratic country, known for outing its democratic head and imposing a military dictatorship- Myanmar has reported that the army weapons, raw materials, training and machine supplied from outside the country is being used to target its people.
Border security and military forces empower confidence in the citizens of any nation. For Myanmar, this has taken the face of a nightmare. Military weapons, army training, military resources and machinery, both home-produced and imported are being used to carry out violent activities against civilians who oppose the military actions.
Special Advisory Council on Myanmar said, “An equally important factor, however, is the fact that Myanmar’s armed forces can produce, in-country, a variety of weapons that are being used to target civilians.” But weapons and other military resources are continued sold by many and bought by the military in Myanmar. “And Myanmar does not export any arms. Since 1950, it’s made its arms to use against its people.” the council said.
This crucial information comes from a report written by Yanghee Lee, UN’s former Special Rapporteur on Human Rights along with Chris Sidoti and Marzuki Darusman, from the UN’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar. Yanghee Lee claims “Myanmar has never been attacked by a foreign country.” “When it started… it seemed that the military could overpower those fledgling opposition movements, but the tide has turned a little bit in recent months and weeks,” explains Soe Win Tan, head of the BBC’s Burmese service.
After the general election of 2020, a military coup took over in Myanmar in 2021. International sanctions and isolation were imposed but all in vain. The military continues to manufacture a litany of weapons, including sniper rifles, anti-aircraft guns, missile launchers, grenades, bombs and landmines. India, France, the USA and Japan are a few countries that have supported international sanctions to isolate Myanmar.
Violent activities have taken a standard shape in Mynamar, even before the 2021 coup, the military was infamous for conducting genocides and massacres against the ethnic minority of Rohingyas in Myanmar. The UN Report proved that since 2017 home-produced weapons were used for various kinds of violent acts against the Rohingyas. The Inn Din Massacre of 2017 was proof of this act when soldiers were seen carrying made-in-Myanmar rifles to kill 10 unarmed ethnic Rohingya men.
“More recently, we had the massacres in the Sagaing Region,” explains Chris Sidoti. The military was seen using helicopters to open fire at a temple school in the Sagaing region which took the lives of 11 children and 15 went missing. “The weapons that were found, or the… military artillery shell casings that were found on that occasion were identifiable as coming from those (produced outside Myanmar) production plants.”
How the world is trying to end Myanmar?
The Advisory Council Report has released the names of a few countries suspicious of supplying weapons to the military of Myanmar. One such nation, whose name appeared was Austria, along with Taiwan, China, Germany and Japan to name a few.
With the help of former military sources, shipping records and interviews, we can trace how a weapon is supplied, made and maintained in Myanmar and then used against its civilians.
The report laid out that Austrian supplier GFM Stey provides a high-precision machine used to make equipment for weapons like gun barrels which were found in several locations. Taiwan has become a storehouse for the maintenance of these weapons which are then shipped back to Myanmar. China and Singapore have become supply hubs for providing raw materials like Iron and Copper, on the other hand, India and Russia provide fuses and electric detonators. The machinery in weapon factories is from Germany, Japan, Ukraine and the US. While Israel and France provide the software programmes.
The sanctions have only come from individual states or groups of states, otherwise. “The international sanctions have been very hit and miss,” says Sidoti. The UNSC has also not imposed any sanctions on Myanmar.
“So, it’s been relatively easy for many companies to avoid the sanctions, by going through other companies in countries that do not impose sanctions, or dealing with local Myanmar intermediaries.”
This is how wars, conflicts and genocides are being controlled in the world.
“Life in Myanmar for ordinary people is incredibly tough. Myanmar is not functioning as a viable country and I think it’s close to internal state collapse,” says Ronan Lee, doctoral lecturer at Loughborough University London. He adds, “The opportunity for the international community, who care about the people of Myanmar, is now for them to tell the military that it can’t continue to build weapons that they are going to use against civilians.”
Post-military coup takeover in 2021, some grave political issues in the country have been exposed which posed a threat to the civil liberties in the country. Although unarmed resistance against the military dictatorship has grabbed world attention, targeted killings of civilians continue to take place, and the cases of violence and torture continue to increase.
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