Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Myanmar accused of “hostage diplomacy” following arrest of ex-U.K. ambassador

The Myanmar military’s recent arrest of a former British ambassador is an example of “hostage diplomacy,” activists and opposition politicians say. The detention of the ex-diplomat came as Britain moved to further isolate the Southeast Asian regime. Activists say the detention of Bowman, who is being charged for staying at a different address than the residence that she officially registered, reflects the growing impunity of the military. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/08/26/myanmar-arrest-vicky-bowman-hostage-diplomacy/) The junta has brutally crushed opposition over the past year and defied international appeals last month in executing four pro-democracy leaders. Many also see the arrest as an attempt to pressure foreign governments against undermining the regime, including with stronger sanctions. Vicky Bowman, who served as British ambassador to Myanmar from 2002 to 2006, was arrested Wednesday evening at her Yangon apartment along with her husband, Htein Lin, a renowned Burmese artist. They join the 15,000-plus people arrested by the military junta since it seized power in a coup in February 2021, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a nonprofit that tracks people persecuted by the regime. The figures include at least three other foreigners.

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