Myanmar’s junta is making military service compulsory for all young men and women, state media announced on Saturday (February 10th).
All men between the ages of 18 and 35 and women between the ages of 18 and 27 must serve for up to two years, and specialists such as doctors under the age of 45 must serve for three years.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun told state media that it is the duty of all citizens to protect the nation.
“That’s why I want to say to everyone that you should be proud to follow this conscription law,” he said.
The junta’s information group said in a statement that it had “issued a notice on the effectiveness of the People’s Military Service Law starting February 10, 2024.”
The Law on Compulsory Military Service was introduced in 2010, but was not enforced.
Violation of the law is punishable by imprisonment for up to five years.
Members of religious orders are exempt, while civil servants and students may receive a temporary reprieve.
Why is military service introduced?
Myanmar was embroiled in a civil conflict with a military coup in February 2021 ousted the democratically elected government formed by the National League for Democracy, which is linked to Aung San Suu Kyi.
Resistance to the coup began almost immediately, with large protests eventually giving way to significant armed resistance.
Since then, fighting has continued between the military and armed resistance forces, with the military relying on airstrikes that have also resulted in significant civilian casualties.
Last October, a surprise offensive was launched against the military, also known as the Tatmadaw.
The military suffered heavy casualties, while an alliance of three ethnic minority rebel groups allied with pro-democracy fighters seized large territories in the north-east of Myanmar along the Chinese border.
After the failure, the military passed the law, hoping to recruit more non-combat personnel to fight the resistance.
Best photo via @kyawhet_lwin/X