Since the military attempted a coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021, the country has been thrown into chaos with over 2 million internally displaced persons as the military’s oppression and escalating conflicts with ethnic revolutionary organizations intensifies. The death toll from the military crackdown has already exceeded 4,000 people. While Japan is the largest aid donor to Myanmar, it has not exerted its influence in the correct manner, while continuing its Official Development Assistance (ODA) after the coup attempt and supplying public funds to businesses related to the military. Moreover, the situation in regions inhabited by ethnic minorities who have long sought autonomy and the voices of people with diverse backgrounds have not been well understood in Japan.
This webinar seminars is co-hosted by the #NoMoreBusinessWithJunta campaign organizers (Mekong Watch, ayus:Network of Buddhists Volunteers on International Cooperation, Friends of the Earth Japan Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC), and Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT)) with Progressive Voice. The webinar series intends to amplify voices of the people of Myanmar to Japan. We will discuss and hear ground updates, historical background of conflicts, situation in ethnic minority areas, and what the civil society from Myanmar expects from the Japanese government and society, featuring Myanmar activists and NGO staff as guest speakers.
Session 2: Defying Shadows: A Myanmar Police Officer’s Journey to Defiance
Since the failed coup on February 1, 2021, the Myanmar police forces has been fully subsumed under the control of the military and war criminal, Min Aung Hlaing. In face of the growing resistance against the military, thousands of soldiers and police forces have deserted the Myanmar military to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), a key pillar of Myanmar’s Spring Revolution working towards federal democracy that has yet to garner deep understanding in Japan.
In the second session of the webinar series “Listening to Voices from Myanmar,” Kyaw San Han, a former Special Liaison Police Officer of the Myanmar Police Force, will share his unique perspective on the crisis in Myanmar as a former policeman who joined the CDM. Kyaw San Han will share his first firsthand experiences within the Myanmar police force and his transformative journey from being part of the military establishment to joining the Civil Disobedience Movement and his decision to leave Myanmar. He will share with us his hopes for the future of Myanmar.
As a former captain in the police force, Kyaw San Han offers rare insights into the workings of the military and police as well as the ongoing crisis in Myanmar. His courage in speaking out against military atrocities and his role in saving Sean Turnell, a distinguished economist and former senior advisor to the democratic government led by Aung San Suu Kyi who was imprisoned in Myanmar for nearly two years after the coup attempt, highlights his commitment to a better future and democracy in Myanmar. In learning about his journey from serving in the police force in Myanmar to taking refuge in Japan, we critically examine Japan’s approach, notably the continuation of Official Development Assistance, and its impact on the crisis faced by the people in Myanmar.
Date and Time
January 19, 2024 (Friday) 19:00-20:30 JST
Online Event (Zoom Webinar)
English (with simultaneous Japanese interpretation)
Kyaw San Han Speaker
Born in the Ayeyarwady Region, Kyaw San Han enlisted in the Myanmar Police Force in 2008 after surviving Cyclone Nargis, aiming to help and save civilians. He received further police training at RPCA in Thailand and obtained a master’s degree in international relations from Flinders University in Australia. Supporter of democracy in Myanmar, he ignored the junta’s orders to arrest protesters after the unlawful coup in 2021. He fled to Japan via Thailand in December 2022 and obtained refugee status in July 2023.
#NoMoreBusinessWithJunta campaign organizers (Mekong Watch, ayus:Network of Buddhists Volunteers on International Cooperation, Friends of the Earth Japan Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC), and Network Against Japan Arms Trade (NAJAT)) with Progressive Voice
Mekong Watch email@example.com