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Dhaka Tribune

‘Myanmar junta facing existential threat’

The junta is struggling to crush resistance to its rule by long-established ethnic rebel groups and newer pro-democracy People's Defence Forces

Update : 20 Mar 2024, 10:50 PM

Myanmar's junta is already facing an "existential threat" but the world could help end its "nightmare" rule with coordinated sanctions, the UN special rapporteur on the country said on Wednesday.

Mass casualties among junta forces, as well as defections, surrenders, and recruitment challenges have led to dwindling troop numbers, posing "an existential threat for the Myanmar military," said Tom Andrews.

"Those who have bet on the junta to restore order and stability in Myanmar have made a losing bet," he said.

The junta came to power in the February 2021 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's democratically elected government, ending a 10-year experiment with democracy and plunging the Southeast Asian nation into bloody turmoil.

The junta is struggling to crush resistance to its rule by long-established ethnic rebel groups and newer pro-democracy People's Defence Forces.

"The junta is the principal driver of violence, instability, economic decline, and lawlessness in the country," Andrews said.

The former US congressman is the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Special rapporteurs are mandated by the UN Human Rights Council but are independent experts who do not speak for the United Nations.

Andrews said sanctions -- restrictions on financial flows and on equipment for military use -- were disrupting the junta's operations.

He cited Singapore, which has clamped down on sales of equipment for military use, and such transfers fell by 83% last year, Andrews told a press conference in Geneva.

But he stressed that this was not the case for Russia and China, respectively the first and second suppliers of arms to the junta.

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