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Burma downgraded in civic freedoms report

Burma was downgraded from the category of ‘repressed’ to ‘closed’ in its annual report “People Power Under Attack 2022” by the CIVICUS Monitor, which rates 197 countries on civic freedoms. The report noted that since the 2021 military coup, there has been violent suppression of opposition groups, attacks on press freedom, as well as arrests of thousands of activists. Burma is now ranked alongside China, Russia and Iran as ‘closed’ countries, where civic freedoms are being violated.

“The military is committing brutal violence. They’ve arrested thousands of activists. They’ve even tortured and executed people. The downward slide on the civic freedom chart indicates that [it’s] worrisome,” said Josef Benedict, a CIVICUS Monitor researcher in the Asia-Pacific region. “Burma went down to the bottom of the list of CIVICUS Monitor because of the simultaneous suppression against media and civilian groups. The international community needs to take actions against the military. [It] must take responsibility for the violent crimes committed and [hold] them accountable for their crimes.” 

In its most recent report on press freedom in Burma, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) stated that a minimum of 42 journalists have been arrested and at least four have been killed since 2021. Since the regime enacted the Registration of Associations Law in October 2022, it has become difficult for non-governmental and civil society organizations to operate in Burma. In the CIVICUS Monitor “People Power Under Attack 2022,” the ratings are based on the conditions of civic freedom and set into five categories: open, narrowed, obstructed, repressed and closed, Twenty-six countries, including Burma, were rated in the ‘closed’ category.

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