Military Council Faces Backlash Over Conscription Law Implementation

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – March 30 Scenes

MoeMaKa, March 31, 2024

Military Council Faces Backlash Over Conscription Law Implementation


As Myanmar grapples with the repercussions of the military coup, the ruling Military Council’s decision to enforce a conscription law has sparked widespread outrage and resistance, plunging the nation into a state of uncertainty and dissent.

Since the law’s implementation a month and twenty days ago, communities across the country have been grappling with the implications of forced military service. Parents, fearing for the safety and well-being of their children, are vehemently opposed to the prospect of their loved ones being forcibly enlisted into the notorious army, notorious for its brutality and human rights abuses. Even staunch supporters of the military junta and members of the USDP are actively seeking to evade conscription, unwilling to participate in a conflict they perceive as futile and morally bankrupt.

Amidst this climate of resistance, an exodus of young people leaving the country, both legally and illegally, has been observed, with some opting to join armed groups opposed to the Military Council’s rule. Ethnic armed organizations, such as the Shan armed group, have intensified recruitment efforts in their controlled territories, seeking to bolster their ranks in the face of escalating tensions.

The Military Council’s haste in implementing the conscription law, summoning individuals for training courses ahead of schedule, underscores the urgency with which it seeks to replenish its dwindling ranks. Desperate to shore up its forces amidst widespread opposition, the council has disregarded previous assurances of delaying conscription until after the Thingyan festival, heightening tensions and exacerbating societal divisions.

Against a backdrop of economic turmoil and widespread hardship, the lure of financial incentives, ranging from 20 to 50 lakh kyats, has enticed some individuals to enlist in the military. Exploiting the vulnerabilities of those struggling to make ends meet, the council has sought to coerce compliance through promises of monetary rewards and community pressure.

In response to the outcry, the National Unity Government (NUG) has pledged to assist those impacted by forced conscription, although the specifics of this support remain unclear. Questions linger as to whether the NUG can provide safe havens for conscientious objectors and facilitate contact with revolutionary armed groups or ethnic enclaves.

As the nation stands at a crossroads, the implementation of the conscription law represents a high-stakes gamble for the Military Council, with far-reaching consequences for Myanmar’s future. The NUG, in turn, faces a daunting challenge in navigating this volatile landscape and rallying support from disparate factions within the resistance movement.

As tensions escalate and the specter of conflict looms large, the role of emerging youth forces and the resilience of the revolution will shape the trajectory of Myanmar’s struggle for freedom and democracy.