Asylum In the UK after the Military Takeover in Myanmar

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice. 9 January 2024

We have been instructed by a Myanmar National who was born in Mandalay.

The military takeover in Myanmar in February 2021 put an end to a decade of relative openness and the military could not accept that the prodemocracy party, The National League for Democracy, has defeated its own union Solidarity and Development Party in two elections in 2015 and 2020. Drastic methods were needed to preserve the military rule and prodemocracy politicians and activists were arrested by the military. The military seizure of absolute legislative and administrative powers in February 2021 was followed by massive anti-military civil disobedience campaign.

She participated in a peaceful protest which turned into carnage and of course individuals were killed including our client’s co-worker. Thousands were arrested and tortured while being detained on this occasion.

She came to the UK having obtained a visitor’s visa and we submitted an asylum application on her behalf arguing that the current political situation in Myanmar and the restrictions would put her in danger if she was to return. We have demonstrated that the human rights situation is intolerable and that we provided documents which contained photographs of our client taking part in various prodemocracy activities which would be used against her in trial for subversion (which in Myanmar means opposing military rule). One of the photographs show her holding a banner urging support for the Kachin Relief Fund and showing such support is tantamount to high treason in Myanmar. Since she departed in 2022 the situation has deteriorated even further and accordingly to human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the number of arbitrary arrests and detentions and unfair trials of political prisoners being tortured is higher than ever before.

As human rights lawyers, we also established that, if she was to be returned, she would be arrested and ill-treated. We managed to prove by using a country expert that the fact that she claimed asylum in the UK and participated in political activities in the UK would also most likely be used against her in trial in Myanmar. There is no possibility of her relocating within the country or being integrated into society as long as the military remain in power.

The asylum application was successful to everybody’s delight, having proven that there is no way that she could relocate to any place within the country, that she will face legal consequences of her past activities in the civil disobedience movement as well as her most recent work whilst in exile.