BWI denounces Myanmar junta’s mandatory military service targeting young people

The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), together with its trade union affiliates across Asia and the Pacific, expresses its vehement condemnation of the recent plan by the military junta in Myanmar to implement mandatory military service targeting the nation's young people. This coercive measure, mandating all men aged 18-35 and women aged 18-27 to serve for up to two years, with the potential for extension up to five years, represents a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights and democratic principles. By forcibly conscripting young individuals into military service, the junta tramples upon their autonomy and dignity, depriving them of their right to choose their own path in life.

This policy also threatens to sow division among Myanmar's youth, pitting them against those who are fighting for democracy and perpetuating internal strife and deeper societal discord within the country. The junta's resort to such draconian measures underscores its desperation and lack of popular support, as evidenced by the relentless resistance from the people of Myanmar. However, rather than putting an end to its illegitimate rule, the regime opts for oppressive tactics in a futile attempt to maintain its grip on power.

It is crucial to recognize that the military junta's plan completely disregards the documented human rights abuses detailed in reports such as the International Labour Organisation-Commission on Inquiry (ILO-COI), which have documented atrocities committed against the resistance movement and trade unions such as the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM). Instead of addressing these grave violations, the junta exacerbates the situation by implementing mandatory military service, further trampling upon the basic rights of the people.

As part of the global labour movement, BWI urges the international community to unequivocally denounce the Myanmar military junta's latest action and to lend their unwavering support to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Myanmar for freedom, democracy, and justice. We stand in solidarity with the brave trade unionists and workers of Myanmar who are tirelessly working towards a future marked by peace, democracy, and respect for human rights in their country.