Statement: In support of the nonviolent opposition in Myanmar

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A large crowd of people march down a street. The photograph is taken from above.
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WRI denounces the military oppression and violence in Myanmar, calls for a nonviolent civil response to the crisis, and demands recognition and safety to the conscientious objection of military/police personnel who have refused to participate in such atrocities.

The War Resisters' International (WRI) is closely following the ongoing military coup in Myanmar that began on 1st February 2021 when the Tatmadaw - Myanmar's military - overthrew the democratically elected government and declared the military rule in the country.

Since then, the people of Myanmar have repeatedly come out on the streets to nonviolently resist the military coup, and the Tatmadaw have carried out horrendous acts of killing, torture, violence and oppression. Despite facing severe oppression, the people of Myanmar have continually found powerful and creative ways of nonviolently resisting the military. We want to offer them our solidarity and support.

We are aware of cases of conscientious objectors within the military and police who are choosing to use their conscience to reject orders from the military to use weapons, violence and cruelty over the nonviolent protesters, and instead have fled the country for their safety. The trauma being imposed on the families of these conscientious objectors and others in general, especially women and children, is severely damaging the peaceful life of families and communities in Myanmar for generations to come. This is what history teaches us.

We believe that there are better and more humane ways to deal with conflicts and govern peacefully, other than by imposing violent and militarized methods of controlling and silencing people. Therefore, the WRI denounces the ongoing military oppression and violence in Myanmar, calls for a nonviolent civil response to the crisis, and demands recognition and safety for the conscientious objection of military and police personnel who have refused to participate in such atrocities. We also support calls for an immediate arms embargo of Myanmar.

WRI is an international network of more than nineteen pacifist/antimilitarist organizations in about forty countries. Our founding declaration in 1921 says 'War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war'.

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