Myanmar’s government has announced compulsory military service for all young men and women as the country continues to face turmoil. The move, announced on Saturday, will require all men aged 18-35 and women aged 18-27 to serve under military command for at least two years. The junta said it would release necessary bylaws, procedures, announcements, orders, notifications and instructions.
The country has been facing defeats in battles with ethnic militias and anti-coup fighters in recent months. Myanmar entered its fourth year since the coup on 1 February 2021 and has seen ongoing disorders and fighting that have displaced more than one million people and led to thousands of deaths. The performance of the army in its recent battles with ethnic armed groups has sparked criticisms and doubts among its supporters.
Myanmar’s military-installed president, Myint Swe, had previously warned that the country is in danger of breaking apart if the government could not bring fighting under control. A law allowing conscription was introduced in Myanmar in 2010 but has not been enforced until now. Under the legislation, terms of service can be extended up to a period of five years during a state of emergency. Those ignoring summons to serve can be jailed for the same period. A state of emergency was announced by the country’s junta in 2021 and was recently extended for a further six months.