Since the military overthrew the elected government on February 1, 2021, the situation of human rights in Myanmar has deteriorated dramatically. Human rights defenders, lawyers, scholars, students, and journalists, particularly those speaking out about the situation of the Rohingya, religious intolerance, and violations by the military, have faced surveillance, intimidation, and attacks.
As of September 13, 2022, at least 2,273 people have been killed and 12,372 detained in the aftermath of the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an advocacy group based in neighboring Thailand. Security officials have responded to dissent with a brutal crackdown and detained thousands. More than 400,000 others have been displaced and 14 million are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, the delivery of which has been blocked by the junta government.
Since the coup, there has been a sharp increase in the number of attacks on schools and universities. The Impacts of Attacks on Education and Military Use in Myanmar report found 170 such instances in which the military had taken over a school or university in 2021. Attacks on schools and universities have increased by approximately 1,800 percent from 2020 to 2021.
In the past two years, the military has also used schools and universities as bases, storage facilities for weapons, detention sites, and fighting positions. Such use of the education facilities endangers the lives of students and educators, damages buildings and infrastructure, and poses a major threat to the right to education. Women and girls in particular face a larger barrier to their education as families are apprehensive about sending their daughters to schools for fear of violence and sexual assault.
The report has also found the long-term effects of taking over educational facilities to include: presence of unexploded ordinance, making schools and universities targets of attacks, and institutional shutdowns, setting back educational progress.
The junta government has also sought to intimidate overseas scholars and students.
Myanmar students and scholars in Australia were told to pledge loyalty to the Myanmar junta government, not to participate in any civil disobedience movements, nor criticize the government on their social media profiles. ESW condemns this blatant attack on academic freedom.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide demands the Myanmar military cease using educational institutions as their bases of operations. Military use of such facilities is a threat to the safety and security of education. These military takeovers have created hostile learning and teaching environments for scholars and students in Myanmar. Furthermore, students and scholars, inside Myanmar and overseas have the right to protest and criticize the government without intimidation. ESW calls on the government to restore the democratic rule to Myanmar.
Please send appeals to the following:
Ambassador Aung Lynn,
Embassy of Myanmar (Burma),
2300 S Street, NW, Washington DC 20008, USA
(202) 332-3344, (202) 332-4350, (202) 332-4352
Kyaw Moe Tun,
Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations,
10 E 77th St, New York, NY 10075, USA