29 November 2023

Lunas Collective stands in solidarity with the peoples of Myanmar and their liberation. We join the 16 days of activism against gender based violence and stand for the right of all peoples to live with dignity, and live free of and safe from violence. This includes the right to one’s sexuality, reproductive freedom, irrespective of age, abilities, socio-economic status, gender identity or sexual orientation, political or spiritual affiliations, and convictions. 

As advocates of reproductive freedom and justice, we recognize that sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights are often taken from structurally disenfranchised people–this includes the women, men, children, and genderqueer individuals of Myanmar. 

We take a stand against the harms of capitalism, colonialism, and racism. We stand for reproductive freedom and justice, and join global calls for  equitable access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights for all. In this regard, we condemn the Myanmar military’s seizure of all legislative, executive, and judicial powers in the country. We also strongly denounce the Myanmar military’s violent crackdown on dissent and democratic processes, bolstered by the funding of global political powers.

Since the Myanmar military seized control of the country through a coup in 2021, more than 25,400 human rights defenders and civilians have been arrested, more than 19,700 have been detained, more than 4,200 have been murdered, and more than 2 million have been forcibly displaced from their homes. 

Documented cases of sexual and gender based violence against women, men, girls, and boys, at the hands of the Myanmar military, continue to increase. The routine and systematic use of rape and sexual violence as weapon by the military have been also documented by the United Nations. Security Force Monitor’s study “Under Whose Command?” uncovered that more than 60% of all senior army commanders had alleged disappearances, killings, rape, or instances of torture committed by units under their command since 2011. Moreover, more than 50% of the commanders were promoted in rank after at least one alleged disappearance, killing, rape or instance of torture was committed by the units under their command. The Women’s League of Burma reported that fear of further harassment deterred many from reporting sexual violence.

Most recently, the Myanmar military bombed Mung Lai Hkyet, a camp for conflict-displaced people in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State. 28 civilians including 12 children were killed and dozens of shelters were destroyed. 

The coup is an escalation of the Myanmar military’s decades-long abuse against ethnic minorities in the country. Since the 1960s, the Myanmar military’s use of its “four cuts” strategy has been documented–cutting off the access to food, funds, intelligence, and recruits of whom it considers an opponent, harming civilians in the process.

Lunas Collective joins hundreds of civil society and social justice organizations and groups in the call for an end to the atrocities perpetrated by the Myanmar military.

We amplify the call for immediate global action to end military rule issued by women’s rights groups in Myanmar and in Asia, which specifies the following demands:

  1. To institute a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar, to end the direct and indirect supply sale or transfer of all weapons and other military equipment used for training, intelligence and military assistance; 
  2. To institute a jet fuel embargo and end to military air strikes against civilians;
  3. To increase humanitarian assistance to Myanmar and migrants and refugees from Myanmar, including cross border aid;
  4. To immediately dispatch a well-equipped monitoring and intervention mission to Myanmar to end the state sponsored human rights violations being perpetrated against civilians exercising their rights to peaceful assembly.
  5. To refer military coup council members and personnel to the ICC for their mass atrocities against peaceful protesters; ethnic Kachin, Karen, Shan, Rohingya, Rakhine; and, other civilians.

We believe in the feminist principle that our oppressions and freedoms are interconnected. To borrow the words of intersectional feminist Audre Lorde, none of us are free until all of us are free, even when our shackles are different from each other’s.