Lawyers Under Attack in Myanmar

public protest in front of a building

Myanmar is experiencing civil unrest due to a military coup on February 1, 2021. Deeming the November 2020 election results invalid, the military seized power from the civilian government, spurring pro-democracy demonstrations in the streets.

The military has detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and senior members of the National League for Democracy Party. This motivated many citizens around the country to protest against the military coup and return the country to democracy.

The Myanmar’s Reaction to the Coup

Myanmar has a long history of military control preceding the past decade of democratic rule. The recent military coup has threatened democracy in the country, causing the citizens to take action.

The working citizens of Myanmar have banded together in protest against military control. Many citizens have even carried arms for the defense of their people.

Lawyers Being Targeted by the Myanmar Military

Alongside the citizen protestors in Myanmar, lawyers have been working to bring a legal defense against the military’s actions. Many see the Myanmar military actions as a violation of basic human rights. The Myanmar military has reacted by arresting lawyers and law students who have participated in the protest movements.

By doing so, the Myanmar military is challenging the basic human rights of speech and protest. The military is oppressing and controlling its citizens through set curfews and mass detainment. Lawyers and media reporters who challenge these actions go missing daily in secret arrests.

International Reaction to Myanmar’s Coup

Many countries and organizations around the world have condemned the actions of the Myanmar military and voiced support for the protesting citizens. The United States, India, Australia, and Japan have recently stated that if violence builds, they will stand to push for democracy with the people of Myanmar.

Among the organizations supporting the people of Myanmar is the National Association of Criminal Defense Layers (NACDL). The NACDL has released a statement defending the lawyers and people of Myanmar fighting against military rule. President of the NACDL Christopher Adams recently said, “NACDL stands with and supports the criminal defense bar, and indeed all threatened Myanmar lawyers and defenders of the rule of law, in the face of recent military actions in Myanmar.”

The military continually attempts to silence the voices of these lawyers, calling for international support of Myanmar’s democracy and the protection of its citizens. Despite the serious risks, lawyers and other protestors continue to fight for the basic rights of the people of Myanmar against the oppressing military.