Myanmar’s ruling military junta announced Wednesday that they have extended the country’s state of emergency period for another six months, according to military-run media Myawady TV’s web portal. The junta previously extended the state of emergency period by six months on July 31, 2023 and postponed an election it promised to hold in August 2023. The state of emergency was first declared in the aftermath of the 2021 coup and has been continuously extended since then.
While Article 425 of the Constitution stipulates that a state of emergency will usually only be extended twice at maximum, the junta stated that it was necessary to extend the state of emergency as Myanmar was in an unusual situation. The junta also said that the rule of law in Myanmar was weak and that local ethnics in some parts of northern Myanmar were deprived of socioeconomic standing due to the armed conflicts.
The junta claimed that they are aiming to develop a more effective public defense system to improve public security in Myanmar. It commended its military personnel in stating that they engaged in “brave and daring actions … [to protect] the destructive activities that are currently undermining the stability and security of the country.”
In addition, the junta blamed opposing organizations for keeping the country from conducting multi-party democratic elections in Myanmar. The leading opposing organization, the National Unity Government (NUG), came together in April 2021 after many now-members were ousted from the ruling government in the 2021 coup. Since then, the NUG has operated as a government in exile.
UN Security-General António Guterres expressed concerns on Wednesday over the protection of civilians in Myanmar. He wrote that the country’s humanitarian crisis has continued to deteriorate and emphasized the importance of ensuring that all communities in Myanmar are protected.
On January 23, the Centre for Information Resilience suggested that there was a correlation between areas in Myanmar under the junta’s martial law and those subject to airstrikes. It also stated that ethnic and religious minorities were targeted by the military. On December 21, 2022, the UN Security Council expressed concerns over the state of emergency extension and criticized the junta for executing pro-democracy activists.