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Myanmar’s military government imposes mandatory conscription law

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Myanmar's military government imposes mandatory conscription law

Myanmar’s military government imposes mandatory conscription law

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  • Men aged 18-35 and women aged 18-27 must serve at least two years under military command.
  • The junta has extended the terms of service up to five years during a state of emergency.
  • The military’s performance in recent battles with ethnic armed groups has raised doubts among supporters.
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As Myanmar’s turmoil persists, the government has declared mandatory military service for all young men and women. The army, which seized power from the civilian government in a coup in February 2021, has faced defeats in recent months in battles against ethnic militias and anti-coup fighters. The announcement made on Saturday mandates that all men aged 18-35 and women aged 18-27 must serve at least two years under military command.

The junta stated in a statement that its defense ministry would “release necessary bylaws, procedures, announcements, orders, notifications, and instructions,” but no further details have been provided. The military has suffered a series of humiliating defeats in recent months.

At the end of last year, three ethnic insurgent armies in Shan State – supported by other armed groups opposing the government – seized border crossings and roads responsible for most of the overland trade with China.

Last month, the Arakan Army (AA) announced that it had seized control of Paletwa in Chin State and the last military post in Paletwa Township, including the hilltop base at Meewa.

The military-installed president of Myanmar, Myint Swe – a former general – previously cautioned that the country faces the risk of breaking apart if the government fails to bring the fighting under control.

Until now, authorities in Myanmar have not enforced a law introduced in 2010 that allows conscription.

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According to the legislation, the terms of service can be extended up to a period of five years during a state of emergency. Individuals who ignore summons to serve can instead be jailed for the same period.

The country’s junta announced a state of emergency in 2021 and recently extended it for a further six months.

Before the move towards democracy in 2011, Myanmar had endured almost 50 years of rule under oppressive military regimes.

On 1 February 2021, the military declared it had seized control of the country.

Disorder and fighting have plagued the country ever since, resulting in the displacement of more than one million people and the deaths of thousands.

Critics and doubts have arisen among supporters of the army due to its performance in recent battles with ethnic armed groups, some of which have resulted in defeats and retreats.

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