Urban Karen Youths Seek Refuge Due to Conscription Law

Following the Junta's announcement of enforcing the conscription law, numerous young urban dwellers in Karen State have sought refuge in rural areas.

Amid mounting concerns over the conscription law, scores of Karen youth have relocated from towns like Hpa-An, Hlaingbwe, and Kawkareik to rural territories beyond the Junta ‘s reach, and under the control of the Karen National Union (KNU).

“Due to the clashes in Kawkareik, I sought temporary sanctuary in Myawaddy. However with the imposition of the conscription law by the Military Council, I no longer felt safe there. Presently I am seeking asylum in a village within the KNU’s jurisdiction, where my relatives reside”, a Kawkareik resident told KIC.

Among the urban youth avoiding the military draft, some have fled to liberated areas and neighbouring Thailand, some of them join up the ranks of armed resistance groups.

a former member of the government who chose to join the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) said, “Some of my friends from the towns have reached out to me, asking about coming here. They are really stressed and afraid to stay in towns any longer. Some are considering fleeing abroad, while others have mentioned joining the armed resistance because they cannot tolerate anymore.”

The young people who fled noted that the Junta’s implementation of the conscription law was not aimed at improving the country’s future, but instead was solely focused on causing widespread destruction, prompting them to make the decision to avoid conscription.

Since the Junta’s announcement on February 10th that the conscription law would be enforced, resistance forces have observed a significant uptick in the number of young individuals reaching out to them, expressing interest in joining the armed revolution.

On the other hand, pro-Junta lobbies organized rallies in Hpa-An, Hlaingbwe, and Myawaddy townships, holding events in support of the conscription law.

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