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Political parties condemn violence but exclude military atrocities

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

A gathering of 25 political parties, which have either re-registered or registered for the first time with the regime’s Union Election Commission (UEC), convened at the pro-military Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) headquarters in Yangon on March 16. 

Delegates said that the meeting was an attempt to address the crisis in Myanmar. But its joint statement issued afterward only condemned violence and attacks on non-military targets. It didn’t even mention the crimes perpetrated by the military against civilians, which have been documented and repeatedly condemned by the international community since the 2021 military coup.

The joint statement denounced Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs), those of which have rejected the regime’s offers of talks in the capital Naypyidaw. It also mentioned the People’s Defense Force (PDF), which is the armed wing of the National Unity Government (NUG). Both have been formed by civilians and elected lawmakers following the coup and violent crackdown on anti-coup protests.

Khin Yi, the USDP chairperson, called the March 16 meeting as a follow-up to a previous gathering of political parties on Feb. 25. This is when delegates discussed each party’s stance on organizations labeled “terrorist” by the regime, such as the NUG and PDF.

The Union of Myanmar Federation of National Politics Party (established by UEC in 2010) Chairperson Aye Lwin said that all groups engaged in terrorism, including the military, were condemned at the meeting last month. But at the March 16 meeting, this subject was not mentioned and instead the focus was placed on EAOs fighting the military. 

Since October, more than 5,500 regime troops have been killed or captured, including 10 brigadier generals. More than 30 towns are now under the control of resistance forces. Overall, the regime has lost no less than 30,000 soldiers since 2021. The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) has documented nearly 50,000 people killed in Myanmar over the last three years of conflict.

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