It has been over a year since the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) instigated a coup on February 1, 2021, arresting political leaders and ending civilian rule in Myanmar. Since then, the Tatmadaw’s forces have been deliberately attacking the civilian population in an attempt to subdue the people to accept their illegitimate rule.
With more than 3,598 civilian deaths (as per the data collected by the Institute for Strategy and Policy - Myanmar) the year 2021 was reported to be the deadliest year for the people of Myanmar in three decades.
Over the past twelve months, the military raided 113 hospitals and clinics; forcibly detained 284 health workers; launched 355 attacks on the health workers; and killed 31 health workers across the country. An escalation of attacks on health workers was seen in November 2021 – at least 80 health workers were reported to be arrested or detained, more than in any other month since the beginning of the coup. In most arrests, the Tatmadaw has accused the health workers of providing healthcare services to the IDPs (internally displaced persons) or aiding wounded PDF (Peoples’ Defence Force) soldiers. Artillery and arson attacks on hospitals and clinics were also reported in the Shan, Karen, Karenni states and in Mandalay and Yangon region. Nevertheless, the people of Myanmar have persevered, and striking workers continue to challenge the Tatmadaw’s attempt at administration.
In December 2021, Tatmadaw raided the safe houses where the 75 striking workers PSI had been supporting were taking shelter. Many CDM workers and civilians were forced to flee into deep jungles to escape bombardment as the military used air strikes on the territories where striking workers were taking refuge, i.e., in Karen, Karenni and Chin states.
Phone Myint, one of the CDM strikers who PSI has been supporting, recalls his experience:
“Our safe houses in LayKayKaw were raided by the military in early December. Two of my colleagues in another safe house location were forcibly taken away by the military. To date, we don’t know where they were taken to. And the Tatmadaw dropped bombs (airstrike) over our town, and we had to run to the jungles for shelter. I did not have time to grab anything from the safehouse. I ran with just the clothes on me... I want to thank PSI for giving us emergency support in times of our need.”
“This is the reality of CDM workers on the ground. A year on, we are still targeted by the military’s brutality. We have to move from safe houses to safe houses for safety concerns. And now we have become IDPs, having to run away from the military’s air strikes. All of us want to go home. Sometimes it could get disheartening. But we need to see that our (CDM) resistance has grown into a massive nationwide movement and it is hitting the military hard. In these 12 months’ time, we have made it clear that we will not be frightened to accept the military’s rule. One thing for sure is that we will continue to strike on in any forms and in any ways that we could,” said Aung Aung, a union leader and a CDM support organiser, who has been delivering emergency support from PSI to over 75 CDM strikers in Myanmar.
There is an urgent need to provide essential assistance to striking workers who are currently hunted, in hiding, displaced and seeking shelter in deep jungles to flee from Tatmadaw’s brutal attacks. Through our solidarity fund, PSI has continued to provide urgent solidarity support to the striking workers.
Click here for information on how to contribute to the PSI Strike Fund for workers in Myanmar.
Myanmar airstrikes displace more people along Thai-Myanmar border– Reuters (Dec 24, 2021)
Bodies found after military air raid in Myanmar’s Magway: Report – Aljazeera (Dec 22, 2021)
For more information and to get your union involved please contact Trimita <firstname.lastname@example.org>