In a significant move, Myanmar’s State Administration Council (SAC) has officially enacted the 2010 Military Service Law, marking a pivotal shift in the country’s military and civil relations. This legislation mandates compulsory military service for its citizens, with men aged between 18 and 35 and women aged between 18 and 27 required to serve in the military for a period of two years.
The enforcement of this law comes at a time when Myanmar is grappling with internal conflicts and widespread international criticism regarding its human rights practices. According to the legislation, in situations deemed as emergency conditions, the mandatory service period can be extended up to five years. This clause raises concerns about the potential for prolonged military involvement for the youth of Myanmar, amidst already volatile socio-political circumstances.
This development is seen by many as an attempt by the SAC to bolster its military forces in the face of ongoing conflicts within the country. Since the military coup in February 2021, which ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar has been in a state of turmoil, with widespread protests, civil unrest, and armed resistance challenging the military’s authority.