On the early morning of February 1, the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) detained most elected members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), along with dozens of activists and students, and it declared a one-year state of emergency. Within days of the coup, the public responded with large-scale protests that have since spread to all segments of society, bringing public life to a halt across the country.
The military regime has responded with increasingly repressive measures: security forces have killed some 50 people and detained, charged or sentenced 1,498 demonstrators, civil society activists and journalists since Feb. 1, according to a leading rights group.
- What does the military’s illegitimate seizure of power mean for the space occupied by Myanmar civil society throughout the last decade?
- What is the role of women and youth within the resistance movement and beyond?
- To what extent does the coup represent a ‘political awakening’ - the emergence of a united front rejecting the centralized, militarized politics we’ve seen in Myanmar since independence?
- How, in practice, might current developments bring Myanmar closer towards a federal system of governance that would resolve longstanding ethnic grievances?
To understand this fast-developing context, Dr Alicia de la Cour Venning, a research fellow with the International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London and the University of Gothenburg, will chair a discussion, followed by a Q & A with:
- Dr Cynthia Maung, founder of the Mae Tao Clinic that has been providing free healthcare services on the Thai-Burmese border for over three decades. Dr Cynthia is Maung is a recipient of six international awards in recognition of her work, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership and listed as one of 2003 Time Magazine’s Asian Heroes.
- Tin Tin Nyo of the Burmese Women's Union is an award-winning women’s rights defender and advocate for gender equality. She has spent over 20 years working towards a more equitable and peaceful society in Myanmar. Tin Tin Nyo is also Managing Director of Burma News International.
- Esther Jeyang, a peace educator who has worked consistently with civil society on Myanmar’s peace process since 2012, with a particular focus on supporting youth and women’s participation.
- Cheery Zahau, a Chin human rights activist, women’s rights activist, feminist, politician and writer. She is the Founder and leader of the Women’s League of Chinland.
This event is part of a series of public discussions on the Myanmar situation, which are co-hosted and organized by scholars at the University of Gothenburg's School of Global Studies and Queen Mary University’s School of Law.
See our latest blogpost: What’s so funny about a military coup? How Generation Z is trolling the Myanmar army
The event is part of a development research project supported by the Swedish Research Council/Vetenskapsrådet (2019-05443) and a research Fellowship funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council.