On February 14, 2021, soldiers reportedly raided the Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University (MAEU) as part of a crackdown on anti-coup protests.
Protests broke out across Myanmar following a military-led coup on February 1, 2021. University students and faculty have been regular fixtures at the protests, which the military has responded to with violent force and detentions. The military has also raided university campuses in an effort to deter students and faculty from participating in the protests.
A group of twenty soldiers broke into the MAEU campus on February 14. A student who witnessed the raid report that when the soldiers were confronted by a group of faculty and staff, they reportedly threatened them, saying they should “behave intelligently” and not do anything to harm the military’s reputation. The soldiers left after roughly thirty minutes. Security footage of the raid was reportedly deleted.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the entry of troops onto campus in an apparent effort to restrict the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. While state authorities have a right to maintain safety and public order, they have an obligation to refrain from restricting the peaceful expression and assemblies. The entry of troops onto campus, especially when intended to restrict expressive activity, undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.