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Myanmar Stops Men From Working Abroad Due To War

There were long queues outside foreign embassies in Yangon in February

Myanmar’s military government will no longer allow conscription-age men to travel out of the country for work, weeks after an enlistment order prompted many to try and flee.

On Thursday, authorities said they would suspend all applications from men for overseas work permits.

There is a large diaspora of Myanmar citizens working in other countries in Asia and previously locals had been allowed to leave for jobs abroad.

But the restrictions come as the junta battles increased opposition in the country’s ongoing civil war.

The junta had imposed the conscription order in February, following months of losses.

Nearly 100,000 men applied for work permits in the three months after that, part of a wider exodus of people fleeing.

Young people had previously spoke to the BBC of their desperation to get out of the country. Men aged 18 to 35 and women aged 18 to 27 are obliged to enlist.

The crackdown on the work abroad now is being seen as another major blow. Many in Myanmar had gone to work in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea as well as the United Arab Emirates.

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A 32-year-old man who was preparing to leave the country for Japan said he was devastated.

He told BBC Burmese: “[Everyone] has lost their hope for the future.”

“There are no job opportunities within the country and now they’ve also forbidden us from leaving the country. Are we not allowed to do anything?” he said.

Ko Phyo, a 28-year-old from Lewey Township in the capital Naypyidaw told BBC Burmese the military council’s directive left the country’s youth with no work prospects at all.

The BBC has witnessed how tens of thousands of young Myanmar people have fled the country since the February edict — with many seeking relief in the Thai border town of Mae Sot.

Most of the recent arrivals have been young men avoiding national conscription.

Since the military toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically-elected government in a 2021 coup, the junta has faced an uprising from several different groups that has escalated into a full-blown civil war.

The war has so far killed thousands and displaced at least 2.6 million people according to the UN. — BBC

Source: BBC via SG.

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