The need for protection in Myanmar
In the midst of a global Covid-19 pandemic, Myanmar was plunged into crisis when its military seized power in February 2021. The military takeover has dramatically reshaped the country’s conflict landscape, abandoning a decade-old peace process and sparking a new wave of violence.
As of February 2023, more than 16,000 people are detained, an estimated 3,000 civilians killed, and 1.5 million displaced. The takeover, followed by the crackdown of the military junta, prompted an escalation in fighting across the country and a national uprising turned into an armed resistance movement. As Myanmar appears to be heading for a protracted conflict, the need for civilian protection is greater than ever.
NP’s work in Myanmar
As Myanmar emerged from military rule in 2012 and embarked on a peace process, we extended our support by promoting inclusive ceasefires. Between 2013 to 2018, we trained and coached more than 700 community members from 8 different states in ceasefire monitoring and unarmed civilian protection and supported them in establishing their own networks. We also provided training in ceasefire monitoring to ethnic armed organisations and facilitated dialogue between ceasefire parties and civil society groups, promoting civilian protection as an integral part of ceasefire processes. As we became more aware of the specific needs of women and youth within ceasefire monitoring networks and the broader peace process, we accelerated our efforts in strengthening their capacities. Since 2018 we have supported hundreds of emerging women and youth leaders to respond to issues that are important to their communities and connect them with leaders in others areas of the country. In areas where the peace process appeared to be stagnating or absent, we worked with civilian protection networks to strengthen their resilience. Since the military overthrew the government in 2021, we have continued to support local partners and others who reached out to us for help in mitigating security threats and facilitating humanitarian assistance.
The future of NP’s work in Myanmar
As so many civilians in Myanmar are living in the midst of violence and insecurity, our first priority is to assist our partners and other unarmed civilians who reach out to us in keeping themselves and each other safe. We will work in particular to strengthen the resilience of women, youth and displaced people in conflict-affected areas. Secondly, as Myanmar plunges deeper into economic collapse, we will continue to support humanitarian actors in delivering assistance in ways that protect themselves and the people they serve. Thirdly, we will work to support local initiatives of unarmed civilian protection and nonviolence.