State Peace and Development Council

The State Peace and Development Council (Burmese: နိုင်ငံတော် အေးချမ်းသာယာရေး နှင့် ဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေး ကောင်စီ [nàɪɰ̃ŋàɰ̃dɔ̀ ʔédʑáɰ̃θàjajé n̥ḭɰ̃ pʰʊ̰ɰ̃bjó kaʊ̀ɰ̃sì]; abbreviated SPDC or နအဖ, [na̰ʔa̰pʰa̰]) was the official name of the military government of Burma (Myanmar) which, in 1997, succeeded the State Law and Order Restoration Council (Burmese: နိုင်ငံတော် ငြိမ်ဝပ်ပိပြားမှု တည်ဆောက်ရေးအဖွဲ့; abbreviated SLORC or နဝတ) that had seized power under the rule of Saw Maung in 1988. On 30 March 2011, Senior General and Council Chairman Than Shwe signed a decree that officially dissolved the council.[7]

Union of Burma
Union of Myanmar
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Anthem: ကမ္ဘာမကျေ
Kaba Ma Kyei
"Till the End of the World"
CapitalRangoon (Yangon)
Largest cityRangoon
Official languagesBurmese
Theravada Buddhism (official since 2008)
GovernmentUnitary republic under a stratocratic military dictatorship
• 1988–1992
Saw Maung
• 1992–2011
Than Shwe
• 1988–1992
Than Shwe
• 1992–2011
Maung Aye
Prime Minister 
• 1988–1992 (first)
Saw Maung
• 1992–2003
Than Shwe
• 2003–2004
Khin Nyunt
• 2004–2007
Soe Win (prime minister)
• 2007–2010 (last)
Thein Sein
LegislatureState Law and Order Restoration Council (1988–1997)
State Peace and Development Council (1997–2011)
Historical eraCold War
18 September 1988
18 June 1989[1]
23 July 1997
15 August 2007
• Elections
7 November 2010
• Aung San Suu Kyi released
13 November 2010
31 January 2011[2][3]
• SPDC dissolved
30 March 2011
• Total
676,570 km2 (261,230 sq mi) (39th)
• 1990
• 2000
• 2010
GDP (PPP)2010 estimate
• Total
$152.150 billion
• Per capita
GDP (nominal)2010 estimate
• Total
$38.080 billion
• Per capita
HDI (2011)0.526
Driving sideright
Calling code95
ISO 3166 codeMM
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Today part ofMyanmar
State Law and Order Restoration Council
နိုင်ငံတော် ငြိမ်ဝပ်ပိပြားမှုတည်ဆောက်ရေး အဖွဲ့
Council overview
Formed18 September 1988
Preceding agencies
Dissolved15 November 1997
Superseding agency
  • State Peace and Development Council
State Peace and Development Council
နိုင်ငံတော် အေးချမ်းသာယာရေးနှင့်ဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေး ကောင်စီ
Council overview
Formed15 November 1997
Preceding Council
  • State Law and Order Restoration Council
Dissolved30 March 2011

SLORC succeeded the Pyithu Hluttaw as a legislature and the Council of State as a ruling council, after dissolving the state organs of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma. In 1997, SLORC was abolished and reconstituted as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). The powerful regional military commanders, who were members of SLORC, were promoted to new positions and transferred to the capital of Rangoon (now Yangon). The new regional military commanders were not included in the membership of the SPDC.

The SPDC consisted of eleven senior military officers. The members of the junta[8] wielded a great deal more power than the cabinet ministers, who were either more-junior military officers or civilians. The exception was the Defence Ministry portfolio, which was in the hands of junta leader Senior General Than Shwe himself. On 15 September 1993, it established the Union Solidarity and Development Association which was replaced by Union Solidarity and Development Party on 29 March 2010 in time for the elections.

Although the regime retreated from the totalitarian Burmese Way to Socialism of the BSPP when it took power in 1988, the regime was widely accused of human rights abuses. It rejected the 1990 election results and kept Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest until her release on 13 November 2010.[9] The way the junta handled Cyclone Nargis was also internationally criticised.[10] The council was officially dissolved on 30 March 2011, with the inauguration of the newly elected government, led by its former member and Prime Minister, President Thein Sein.[11]


SPDC members greet Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva in an October 2010 visit to Naypyidaw.
SPDC members with Thai delegation in an October 2010 visit to Naypyidaw.

The State Law and Order Restoration Council was formed when the Burmese Armed Forces, commanded by General Saw Maung (later self-promoted to Senior General Saw Maung, died July 1997), seized power on 18 September 1988 crushing the 8888 Uprising. On the day it seized power SLORC issued Order No.1/1988 stating that the Armed Forces had taken over power and announced the formation of the SLORC. With Order No. 2/1988, the SLORC abolished all organs of state power that were formed under the 1974 Burmese constitution. The Pyithu Hluttaw (the legislature under the 1974 Constitution), the Council of Ministers (the Cabinet), the Council of People's Justices (the Judiciary), the Council of People's Attorneys (the Attorney-General Office), the Council of People's Inspectors (the Auditor-General Office), as well as the State/Region, Township, Ward/Village People's Councils were abolished.

The SLORC also stated that the services of the Deputy Ministers in the previous Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) government which it replaced were also terminated. (Under the 1974 Burmese Constitution the Council of Ministers acted as a Cabinet but since the Deputy Ministers were not considered to be formally part of the Council of Ministers, the SLORC made sure that the Deputy Ministers – together with the Ministers' – services in the previous BSPP government from whom it had taken over power were also terminated.) The Orders that SLORC issued on the day of its takeover can be seen in the 19 September 1988 issue of The Working People's Daily. The first Chairman of SLORC was General Saw Maung, later Senior General, who was also the Prime Minister. He was removed as both Chairman of SLORC and Prime Minister on 23 April 1992 when General Than Shwe, later Senior General, took over both posts from him.

On 15 November 1997, SLORC was abolished and reconstituted as the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Most, but not all members of the abolished SLORC, were in the SPDC military regime.




Chairman Term of office Political party
No. Portrait Name
Took office Left office Duration
1 Senior General Saw Maung
18 September 1988 23 April 1992
3 years, 218 days Tatmadaw
2   Senior General Than Shwe
(b. 1933)
23 April 1992 30 March 2011 18 years, 341 days Tatmadaw

Vice Chairmen

Vice-chairman Term of office Political party
No. Portrait Name
Took office Left office Duration
1   General Than Shwe
(b. 1933)
18 September 1988 June 1993 3 years, 218 days Tatmadaw
2   Vice-Senior General Maung Aye
(b. 1938)
July 1993 30 March 2011 17 years, 8 months Tatmadaw

Former members


Ordered by protocol:

Human rights abuses


Western non-governmental organisations, such as the Burma Campaign UK, the US Campaign for Burma, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have made a variety of serious accusations against the SPDC. Reports by these organisations as well as the United Nations and the Karen Human Rights Group alleged gross human rights abuses that took place in Burma under their regime, including:

  • Murder and arbitrary executions
  • Torture and rape
  • Recruitment of child soldiers
  • Forced relocations
  • Forced labour
  • Political imprisonment



One of the worst atrocities in Burma took place during the uprising of August 1988, when millions of Burmese marched throughout the country calling for an end to military rule. Soldiers shot hundreds of protesters and killed an estimated 3,000 people in the following weeks. During the August and September demonstrations of 2007, at least 184 protesters were shot and killed and many were tortured. Under the SPDC, the Burmese army engaged in military offensives against ethnic minority populations, committing acts that violated international humanitarian law.[13]

Recruitment of child soldiers


It has been alleged that the SPDC forcibly recruited children – some as young as 10 – to serve in its army, the Tatmadaw. It is difficult to estimate the number of child soldiers used to serve in the Burmese army, but there were thousands, according to Human Rights Watch[14][15] the Child Soldiers Global Report 2008[16] and Amnesty International.[citation needed]

The UN Secretary-General named the SPDC in four consecutive reports for violating international standards prohibiting the recruitment and use of child soldiers.[17]

Forced relocations


Human Rights Watch reported[18] that since Cyclone Nargis in May 2008, the Burmese authorities expelled hundreds, if not thousands, of displaced persons from schools, monasteries, and public buildings, and encouraged them to return to their destroyed villages in the Irrawaddy Delta. The authorities emptied some public buildings and schools to use as polling stations for the 24 May referendum on a new constitution, despite pleas from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to postpone the referendum and focus their resources on humanitarian relief. The SPDC was alleged to have evicted people from dozens of government-operated tented relief camps in the vicinity of the former capital Yangon, ordering the residents to return to their homes, regardless of the conditions they face.

The forced evictions were part of government efforts to demonstrate that the emergency relief period was over and that the affected population were capable of rebuilding their lives without foreign aid. People who were forced from their homes by Cyclone Nargis are considered to be internally displaced persons under international law. Under the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the Burmese government was urged to ensure the right of "internally displaced persons to return voluntarily, in safety and with dignity, to their homes or places of habitual residence, or to resettle voluntarily in another part of the country."

Forced labour


According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), despite the new quasi-civilian government taking power in Burma, forced labour continues to be widespread in Burma. It is imposed mainly by the military, for portering (that is, carrying of provisions to remote bases, or on military operations), road construction, camp construction and repair, and for a range of other tasks. In March 1997, the European Union withdrew Burma's trade privileges because of the prevalence of forced labour and other abuses. The same year, the ILO established a Commission of Inquiry to look into allegations of forced labour, coming up with a damning report the following year.

In November 2006, the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced it was to seek at the International Criminal Court[19] "to prosecute members of the ruling Myanmar junta for crimes against humanity" over the allegations of forced labour of its citizens by the military. According to the ILO, an estimated 800,000 people are subject to forced labour in Burma.[20]

Political imprisonment


Even before the large-scale demonstrations began in August 2007, the authorities arrested many well-known opponents of the government on political grounds, several of whom had only been released from prison several months earlier. Before the 25–29 September crackdown, more arrests of members of the opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) took place, which critics say was a pre-emptive measure before the crackdown.

Mass round-ups occurred during the crackdown itself, and the authorities continued to arrest protesters and supporters throughout 2007. Between 3,000 and 4,000 political prisoners were detained, including children and pregnant women, 700 of whom were believed still in detention at year's end. At least 20 were charged and sentenced under anti-terrorism legislation in proceedings which did not meet international fair trial standards. Detainees and defendants were denied the right to legal counsel.[21]


  1. ^ The Adaptation of Expressions Law (2). 18 June 1989.
  2. ^ The Law Relating to Adaptation of Expressions, 2011 (1(b),2(a)). The State Peace and Development Council. 27 January 2011.
  3. ^ "၂၀၀၈ ဖွဲ့စည်းပုံအခြေခံဥပဒေ" [2008 Constitution]. Constitutional Tribunal of the Union of Myanmar, Online Law Library (in Burmese). March 2018. Archived from the original on 22 April 2022. Retrieved 17 March 2022. ဖွဲ့စည်းပုံအခြေခံဥပဒေပြဋ္ဌာန်းချက်များနှင့်အညီ ၂၀၀၈ ဖွဲ့စည်းပုံအခြေခံဥပဒေသည် ပထမအကြိမ် ပြည်ထောင်စုလွှတ်တော်စတင်ကျင်းပသည့် ၃၁-၁-၂၀၁၁ ရက်နေ့တွင် စတင်အာဏာတည်ခဲ့သည်။
  4. ^ "Population Pyramids of the World from 1950 to 2100". Archived from the original on 24 July 2022. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Population Pyramids of the World from 1950 to 2100". Archived from the original on 24 July 2022. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  6. ^ "Population Pyramids of the World from 1950 to 2100". Archived from the original on 24 July 2022. Retrieved 24 July 2022.
  7. ^ Shwe Yinn Mar Oo; Soe Than Lynn (4 April 2011). "Mission accomplished as SPDC 'dissolved'". The Myanmar Times. Archived from the original on 16 September 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  8. ^ Leibenluft, Jacob (2 June 2008). "Who's in the Junta? The mysterious generals who run Burma". Slate. Archived from the original on 3 June 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  9. ^ "Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi released". Al Jazeera. 13 November 2010. Archived from the original on 31 May 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  10. ^ Klug, Foster (12 May 2008). "Bush says world should condemn Myanmar". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2008.
  11. ^ Wai Moe (30 March 2011). "Than Shwe Officially Dissolves Junta". The Irrawaddy. Archived from the original on 3 April 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  12. ^ "Myanmar: Junta Member Resigns From Parliament". The New York Times. 16 February 2011. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  13. ^ Pearson, Elaine (6 August 2008). "Burma: No Rights Reform 20 Years After Massacre | Human Rights Watch". Archived from the original on 11 November 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2009.
  14. ^ "Burma: World's Highest Number of Child Soldiers". 16 October 2002. Archived from the original on 25 April 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  15. ^ "The Plight of Child Soldiers in Burma". 2 November 2007. Archived from the original on 5 April 2013. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Child Soldiers Global Report 2008". Archived from the original on 22 February 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  17. ^ "Children and Armed Conflict, Report of the Secretary-General, 26 October 2006 UN Doc. A/61/529 S2006/826" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2010., "Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar to the Security Council, 16 November 2007, UN Doc. S/2007/666" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2011., "Report of the Secretary-General on Children and armed conflict to the UN Security Council, 21 December 2007, UN Doc. A/62/609-S/2007/757" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2011., "Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Myanmar 1 June 2009 UN Doc. S/2009/278" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2011.
  18. ^ ""I Want to Help My Own People"". 29 April 2010. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Human Rights in Myanmar". Archived from the original on 22 March 2006.
  20. ^ "ILO cracks the whip at Yangon". Archived from the original on 4 April 2005.
  21. ^ "Amnesty International Report 2009 | Working to Protect Human Rights". 9 October 2009. Archived from the original on 17 April 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2009.