March 7, 2024.

The People's Defense Force (PDF) – Thaton District reported that over 400 young individuals sought refuge in the Karen National Union (KNU)'s Thaton District, fleeing the Junta's mandatory conscription law for military recruitment.

On February 10th, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the coup leader, announced the activation of the conscription law, which was enacted in 2010 under former Junta leader U Than Shwe, but had remained dormant for an extended period.

In almost a month since the Junta declared the activation of the conscription law, over 600 young individuals from across the nation have reached out to KNU-Thaton District seeking refuge, with over 400 of them having already arrived.

Ko Aye Min Tun, an officer of PDF-Thaton District, stated that KNU-Thaton District is currently providing shelter and support to young individuals who voluntarily seek refuge, with the intention to understand each individual's desires and assist them in determining their future paths.

Currently, we are still screening them about each individual's objective. We ask whether they sought asylum solely to avoid military service, or if they intend to join PDF following military training.

Some arrived with family members. Therefore once we understand their individual stance, we can assist them in navigating the next step. We believe that the majority are inclined towards contributing to the revolution”, he told Than Lwin Times.

These young individuals reached out to various resistance forces as intermediaries before ultimately seeking refuge in KNU – Thaton District, with 2 percent of them being women.

The Junta's conscription law mandates that men aged 18 – 45 and women aged 18 to 35 must serve in the military for a duration ranging from 2 – 5 years.

The Junta has declared that the first batch of conscripts will commence enlistment in late April, with intentions to summon 5,000 individuals monthly, resulting in an annual military draft of 60,000.

Following the Junta's enforcement of the conscription law, numerous young individuals unwilling to serve in the military opted to either join resistance forces, or depart en masse to foreign countries, including neighboring Thailand, through legal and illegal means.

News: (Than Lwin Times)

Photo: Thaton District PDF

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