Briefing Paper: Effective Control in Myanmar

September 5th, 2022  •  Category Briefings  •  771 Views

The Myanmar people are engaged in an historic revolutionary struggle to overthrow the oppressive Myanmar military. Allied resistance forces loyal to the National Unity Government (NUG) are waging a highly effective campaign of non-violent and armed resistance against the Myanmar military, which attempted a military coup in February 2021. The military is losing what territorial control it has left at an increasing rate and is incapable of governing the country.

As this briefing paper illustrates, resistance forces are making major territorial gains and, in coordination with the NUG and its ethnic allies, delivering vital government services to the majority of the civilian population in areas across the country liberated from military control. As such, the NUG has the greatest claim to effective control of Myanmar. The illegal military junta does not have effective control of the country and cannot continue to be engaged with by the international community on the assumption that it does.

Effective control is a key criterion applied by foreign governments and international actors to determine whether to recognise an entity as the government of another country and how to engage with it. 

Download the briefing paper: SAC-M Briefing Paper Effective Control in Myanmar ENGLISH

SUMMARY

The National Unity Government of Myanmar, the legitimate government of Myanmar, has the greatest claim to effective control of the country.

The National Unity Government is at the centre of a democratic revolution shaped by organisations opposed to the Myanmar military junta, or resistance organisations. These organisations are the de facto authorities across more of the territory of Myanmar and for more of the population than the junta and are administering a growing range of government functions.

The democratic revolution, solidifying around a shared vision of federal democracy, has a viable pathway to ending decades of oppression by the military. The mass uprising of Myanmar people against a return to autocratic military rule continues to build in intensity and is not going to cease anytime soon.

The junta does not have effective control of Myanmar. It neither has full control of the country’s territory nor of its people. It is unable to effectively administer the functions of government and shows no signs of establishing a permanent order. The military’s strategy to gain control is focused on committing mass atrocities and causing humanitarian suffering amongst the civilian population.

The junta is losing what control it does have at an increasing rate. The conflict’s trajectory currently favours the democratic revolution as both armed and non-violent resistance to the junta continues to build. International support is required to put the country more decisively on a path to peace, stability and civilian rule. Denying recognition to the junta and providing it instead to the National Unity Government is a priority.