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Myanmar’s Young Demand Their Future

After decades of "closed-door" policies that transformed Myanmar from one of Asia's most promising economies to one of its worst performers, a decade of democratization had given the country's young people a glimpse of a brighter future. They will not soon stand by and let it be snatched away.

GENEVA – Half of Myanmar’s population is under the age of 30, and many of these young people have benefited from their country’s fragile, imperfect democratic transition over the past decade. They know the military’s return to power could reverse hard-won gains in human development and fundamental freedoms. Their future is at stake.

So are their lives. On March 27, General Min Aung Hlaing used the occasion of Armed Forces Day to claim that the military would protect the people and promote democracy. In fact, this turned out to be the bloodiest day since the military coup on February 1.

And yet, as a father clutching his dying son poignantly noted, “on this day, both lives and futures are being lost.” With their prospects vanishing before their eyes, tens of thousands of young people have taken to the streets across Myanmar. They are refusing to live without hope.

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