February 1st marks two years since the army, led by army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, took control of Myanmar.
In the past year, the generals have stepped up their efforts to wipe out all opposition to their rule.
The country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was convicted of a series of charges in a closed-door trial and faces the rest of her life behind bars.
In a decision that shocked the world, the military also hanged four anti-coup activists – the first use of the death penalty in more than 30 years.
It is also increasingly turning to air power in its crackdown on anti-coup movements and deepening its ties with Russia, a key arms supplier.
Despite the continued crackdown, diplomatic efforts to end the violence and restore civilian rule have largely failed to make progress.
“It is critical that we reflect on the countless failures of the international community to respond to a crisis that is as urgent today as it was two years ago,” Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, said in a statement.
“It is never too late for the international community to learn from its mistakes. The UN Security Council could follow up its recent and first resolution on Myanmar with a comprehensive and ongoing plan of action that includes measures such as a global arms embargo and referral to the International Criminal Court.”
Here is a timeline of events since the military took over in 2021:
The military is detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy, who were re-elected in a landslide in November 2020.
A state of emergency is declared and army chief Min Aung Hlaing takes control.
Mass civil disobedience is declared, and government workers, including teachers and doctors, walk off the job.
Police announce first charges against Aung San Suu Kyi — illegal use of walkie-talkies.
Police have been accused of using excessive and deadly force against protesters in Naypyidaw, the capital. Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, 20, was shot in the head and died 10 days later. The army prohibits gatherings in municipalities in 10 regions.
Tens of thousands of people in Yangon and elsewhere in Myanmar are joining protests against the coup, the biggest crowds since the generals took power. The United States is imposing its first sanctions on coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and several other senior generals for their role in the coup. Followed by the European Union, Canada and others.
United Nations Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun calls for the “strongest possible action” against the military regime and ends his speech at the UN with the three-finger salute adopted by protesters.
A few days later, the coup leaders announce that he has been fired for “betraying” the country. The UN continued to maintain Kyaw Moe Tun’s credentials despite pressure from the military regime.
The UN Security Council unanimously calls for the reversal of the military coup in Myanmar and condemns the army’s violence against peaceful protesters.
The next day, Tom Andrews, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, tells the UN Human Rights Council that the country is “under the control of a murderous, illegal regime”.
Soldiers have killed at least 160 people as the army holds its traditional Armed Forces Day parade.
Politicians who were forced out of office by the military announce that they have formed a Government of National Unity (NUG).
Min Aung Hlaing travels to Jakarta for a summit with Southeast Asian leaders. The Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces signs a five-point plan to end the violence and find a solution to the political crisis.
Aung San Suu Kyi appears in court for the first time since her government was overthrown.
He faces various charges, including illegally importing walkie-talkies and violating COVID-19 rules during the 2020 election.
Army cancels 2020 election results, citing millions of cases of fraud.
International and domestic observers who monitored the elections said that there were no major irregularities.
Min Aung Hlaing is appointed Prime Minister in the Military State Administration Council. He says the army will hold elections until 2023.
The US has charged two Myanmar nationals with conspiring to injure or kill UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun.
The military frees Ashin Wirathu, a nationalist Buddhist monk notorious for his anti-Muslim tirades, after the ousted government of Aung San Suu Kyi dropped sedition charges.
The NUG calls for a national uprising against the general.
“With the responsibility to protect people’s lives and property, the Government of National Unity… [has] launched a people’s defense war against the military junta,” said Duwa Lashi La, acting president of the NUG, in a video statement posted on Facebook.
“Since this is a public revolution, all citizens throughout Myanmar, revolt against the rule of military terrorists led by Min Aung Hlaing in every corner of the country.”
In an unprecedented move, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is excluding Min Aung Hlaing from its summit, saying the military has failed to make progress on its five-point plan to end the crisis.
Myanmar accuses Aung San Suu Kyi and 15 others of “electoral fraud and illegal acts” during the 2020 elections.
Aung San Suu Kyi was found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison on charges of “incitement” against the military, as well as violating COVID-19 protocols. The sentence was later reduced to two years.
The UN accuses the army of killing dozens of civilians in eastern Myanmar after a raid on a village on Christmas Eve.
The military is rolling out the red carpet for Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who becomes the first – and so far only – foreign leader to visit Myanmar since the coup.
The military executed four anti-coup activists in Myanmar’s first execution in more than 30 years.
Phyo Zeya Thaw, a former lawmaker from the NLD, and prominent democracy activist Kyaw Min Yu, known as Ko Jimmy, were hanged for their involvement in organizing “brutal and inhumane terrorist acts,” the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper said.
Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw were also executed.
Dozens of others are awaiting the death penalty.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Myanmar amid deepening ties between Moscow and the military regime.
Min Aung Hlaing meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Moscow-hosted Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.
“Our relations are developing positively,” state news agency RIA quoted Putin as saying during the conversation.
At least 11 children have been killed and more than a dozen injured after the military bombed a school in the restive Sagaing region where it faces ongoing resistance.
Then-Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says ASEAN needs to decide whether the five-point consensus is “still relevant” or “needs to be replaced”.
Australian economist Sean Turnell, Japanese director Toru Kubota, prominent business consultant and former UK ambassador Vicky Bowman and American Kyaw Htay Oo are among the 5,774 prisoners freed in a Victory Day amnesty.
“It’s one bright spot in what is otherwise an incredibly dark time, where we see things going from bad to worse in Burma,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said of the amnesty, using Myanmar’s former name.
The UN Security Council adopts its first resolution on Myanmar since it was admitted to the world body as Burma in 1948, demanding an end to violence and the release of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.
Out of 15 members of the council, 12 of them vote in favor. China and Russia, which have backed Myanmar’s military leaders since the coup, have abstained, as has India.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s trials end when she is sentenced to seven years for corruption. The 77-year-old winner of the Nobel Peace Prize faces a total of 33 years in prison. The military has not given details on where it will be held.
The army is freeing more than 7,000 prisoners as part of an amnesty to mark 75 years of independence. Only a few are known to be political prisoners.
More than a dozen survivors of military abuses in Myanmar have filed a criminal complaint in Germany, asking prosecutors to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for crimes committed during the crackdown on opponents of the coup and against the Rohingya minority.
“This complaint provides new evidence proving that the Myanmar military has systematically killed, raped, tortured, imprisoned, disappeared, persecuted and committed other acts that constitute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in violation of German law,” said Matthew Smith, Executive Director and co-founder of the advocacy group Fortify Rights, which filed the lawsuit.
The UN reveals that opium cultivation has increased since the military coup.
The state organization Global New Light of Myanmar publishes a restrictive new law on political parties.
Among the measures, parties and individuals deemed to have links to “terrorism” — the military calls its opponents in the National Defense Forces and the NUG “terrorists” — will be barred from running.
Two years since the army took over.
The Association for Aid to Political Prisoners (AAPP) estimates that nearly 3,000 anti-coup activists and civilians have been killed since the coup – double the number of a year ago.
AAPP data show that 17,572 people have been arrested and 13,763 are still in custody.
The UN estimates that around 1.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to the fighting.