The Fight Continues: How can you help Myanmar?
February 24th 2021
World Affairs
When Orientalist representations seep through the porous boundaries of ourselves, the demand for media representation is a demand for an authentic self.
Written by Christina Aquino (The British Asian Collective) and Phu Pwint Thin Hlaing (GM4MD)
The fight for democracy prevails against the brutal military junta, as the people of Myanmar stand up against those who have long oppressed them. Their willpower is truly commendable and gives us the opportunity to reflect on the importance of freedom. Living in the UK, we often do not realise the privileges we hold in even being able to speak our mind and speak out against the institution. We must use our freedom to give strength to the people of Myanmar and their movement.

We would like to thank the wonderful GM4MD (Global Movement For Myanmar Democracy) team for collaborating with us for this piece and directing us to reliable and credible resources.

GM4MD was formed in the wake of the February coup. Their aim is to organise the Myanmar diaspora, friends of Myanmar, friends of democracy in general, and existing organisations into a global community that coordinates grassroots action to bring about a democratic society that: respects the rights of all persons, rejects all forms of discrimination including but not limited to: race, ethnicity, skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, or disability; and rejects any form of militarisation of the government. To contact their UK advocacy team:
N.B. The information on this post was accurate at the time of writing, however as the situation in Myanmar continues to escalate, some statistics and figures are likely to change. DAYLDN acknowledges that this article and our infographic does not highlight everything that has happened, but we hope to bring you a glimpse of the situation in Myanmar, and most importantly what we can do to help.
Since seizing power on February 1st, the military junta (Tatmadaw) in Myanmar has only inflicted terror and violence in its efforts to quash the pro-democracy movement. As the death toll continually rises, over 700 civilians have been killed, including at least 43 children. Moreover, over 3000 people have been detained, and thousands more have been injured. The desire for ethnic solidarity and a federal government grows stronger, especially amongst Burmese millennials and Generation Z. Myanmar’s government-in exile, the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), has committed itself to this “coalition around a vision of democracy: a national federal, democratic state.” Meanwhile, Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has altogether been charged with 6 criminal offences, which could potentially bar her from taking office for life. Protesters in Myanmar remain determined to fight for democracy and freedom from the junta. From Easter eggs to watermelons, defiance in creative manners have become the norm.
International Response
Even though many global leaders have condemned and voiced anger at the junta’s brutality, the international response thus far has lacked in preventing further deterioration in Myanmar. Sanctions have also been limited and even then have had little impact in cutting the junta’s access to revenue, which helps sustain its illegal activities. ASEAN has been increasingly divided over its response to the coup, but are facing increased pressure to act decisively. China and Russia blocked the UN Security Council from responding to the crisis. Both countries have ties to the Tatmadaw, as the respective first and second largest suppliers of weapons to Myanmar. Thus, this decision comes as no surprise, as put by the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrel, that the “geopolitical competition in Myanmar will make it difficult to find common ground.”
The UK's response
In February, the UK government imposed asset freezes and travel bans on 9 military generals for serious human rights abuse - including the Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing. Early Day Motion 1545: “Political and security situation in Myanmar” was tabled in the House of Commons. It calls for sanctioning military companies, building a global arms embargo and holding military generals accountable for their crimes against humanity. Further sanctions were imposed in March on the two main military conglomerates Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC).

On April 7th, the military attaché seized the Myanmar Embassy in London, ousting ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn from office. The following day, the FCDO released an ambiguous statement, which implied their recognition of the termination of the ambassador. This is particularly concerning for the Burmese diaspora and community. Not only does the embassy in London hold responsibility over Burmese citizens in the UK, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark, but a lack of follow-up actions from the UK government potentially emboldens the junta to do the same in other countries’ embassies.
How can you help?
  • Sign this global petition to urge the FCDO to not recognise any military diplomat assigned by the SAC and to provide protection visas for the Burmese diaspora in the UK, Ireland, Sweden, and Denmark:
  • For British nationals, send a personalised email or letter to your local MP to provide a protection visa for Burmese citizens and to deny the termination of Myanmar’s Ambassador. A template can be found here:
  • For UK residents, write to your local MP to support the EDM1545:
Where you can donate