The U.N. Needs New Thinking on How to Prevent Civil Wars

An anti-coup protester peeps from behind makeshift barricades in Yangon, Myanmar, March 11, 2021 (AP photo).
An anti-coup protester peeps from behind makeshift barricades in Yangon, Myanmar, March 11, 2021 (AP photo).

Up until the spring, the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar was mainly expressing its opposition to the military junta that seized power in February through peaceful protests. But over the summer, in reaction to the junta’s violent and often lethal response, hundreds of small, armed, civilian resistance groups popped up and begun to carry out ambushes on military convoys around the country. As Betcy Jose and Peace Medie have shown, this is typical of how civilians begin to protect themselves with force when faced with violence from their own government, and in the absence of adequate outside help. And when peaceful protesters begin to […]

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