Is Myanmar the next Syria?

Posted on 27 April 2021

Ten years ago "the west failed to act decisively, 500,000 or more Syrians are dead, 13.3 million are displaced, the country is in ruins – and no one has apologised. Meanwhile, half a world away, history repeats itself. Is Myanmar the new Syria?" writes Simon Tisdall in the UK Guardian.

"There is little doubt Gen Min Aung Hlaing, the junta boss, and members of the military and police are each day committing crimes against humanity and war crimes."

Min Aung Hlaing is already wanted for the 2017 genocide of the Rohingya minority.

New Zealand has joined other countries in condemning the military coup, but many are calling on the government to do more. 

The Council for Trade Unions (CTU) has called on the government to halt negotiations on the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) trade deal, between 15 countries, including New Zealand and Myanmar. To continue would give the military junta legitimacy, says CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges said.

"The New Zealand union movement has deep ties to the union movement in Myanmar, thanks in part to the long-term work of (CID member) UnionAid in Myanmar. We are hearing regular firsthand accounts of some of the atrocities that have occurred and continue to occur."

All eyes are on China, who along with Russia has blocked sanctions at the UN Security Council. And yet they are best positioned to resolve the crisis, given China's close ties with Myanmar, argues The Conversation. At the very least, they could call for political prisoners arrested since the coup, to be released.