Statement by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to the United Nations at the Arria formula meeting on Myanmar
United Nations Security Council
(New York, 29 July 2021)
I thank you and your team for holding today meeting to pay close attention on deteriorating situation of my country, Myanmar; the revealing tragedy that continues escalating day-after-day.
It has been almost (6) months since the military staged an illegal coup on 1 February and orchestrated an absolute nightmare in Myanmar. Amid a raging pandemic, the continued terror of the military has caused unbearable sufferings to the people across the country. More than 930 people including 75 children have been murdered; almost 7000 were arbitrarily arrested; more than 5400 are still in detention; and over 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. There is no sign of easing atrocities, killing, arrest committed by the military.
In the face of the military’s brutal crackdown and threats of violence against their life and future, people have no choice but to defend themselves while their calls for international action have not been heeded with concrete action yet. However, the exercise of self-defence and resistance to the military’s violence will not lead us to condone any attacks against civilians, schools, hospitals and religious buildings.
Although the international community has condemned the coup, and has imposed some measures against the military, it is still operating in its own twisted reality ignoring the international community’s demands. The illegal State Administration Council (SAC) led by the military continues ignoring the calls from the international community to ease the violence, instead committing further atrocities amounting to crimes against humanity. According to the report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar of 5 July 2021, the Mechanism’s preliminary analysis of collected information concerning events in Myanmar since the military coup indicates that crimes against humanity have likely been committed.
Against this backdrop, time is of the essence for Myanmar to save lives of its people. We always appreciate the commitment of the international community including ASEAN member states to assist Myanmar. However, the people of Myanmar are disappointed with the lack of progress in the implementation of five-point consensus reached at the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on 24 April. Some ASEAN foreign ministers even expressed their disappointment with painfully slow progress of the implementation of the five-point consensus.
Please allow me to turn to the public health emergency including COVID situation in Myanmar. The military coup has caused a severe health emergency on top of the other military-driven political, human rights and humanitarian crises. The military has been attacking healthcare workers and emergency clinics, making lifesaving activities virtually impossible to operate. The military has been targeting healthcare workers who are participating in CDM with arrest warrants, detaining many and forcing others to hide in fear for their lives.
The military’s mismanagement and its unlawful persecution of healthcare professional have resulted in the interruption of essential healthcare services in many parts of the country. Medications have been in short supply. Clinics have been closed. International and national NGOs have been forced to curtail or reduce their operations. Millions of people are increasingly vulnerable and facing critical situations. Routine disease prevention measures, including infectious disease control and infant vaccination programmes have halted.
Currently, COVID-19 cases are spiking across the country. Death toll is alarmingly rising. Underreported cases are considered to be much more than we know. COVID patients are in urgent need of treatment and their families in desperate search for oxygen. The military has inhumanely restricted selling of oxygen to individuals resulted in many unnecessary deaths. The National Unity Government is working together with Ethnic Health Organizations and has requested the UN and international organizations to provide medical and humanitarian assistance including COVID-19 vaccines. We appreciate the positive response and commitment from the UN agencies and international organizations in this regard.
On behalf of the NUG and the people of Myanmar, I would like to stress that reaching such assistance and vaccines to the people in need and smooth delivery are critically important. We welcome the use of third parties for delivery of aid and COVID vaccination. In order to have smooth and effective COVID vaccination and providing humanitarian assistance, close-monitoring by the international community is essential. As such, we would like to request the UN in particular the Security Council to urgently establish a UN-led monitoring mechanism for effective COVID vaccination and smooth delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as for leaving no one behind.
In conclusion, Mdm Chair, I wish to emphasize that lives of the people of Myanmar are not cheap. During our fight for democracy, we have already paid high cost with death of over 900 people due to the military atrocities since 1 February. We are determined. We will not give up. We will fight until the end of this murderous military in Myanmar.
With the COVID cases surge, it is heartbreaking to see people gasping their last breaths on street, lining up to refill oxygen tanks and overflowing mortuaries. Please don’t isolate my country from the world. Please save people of Myanmar.
What people of Myanmar desperately need is ACTION. We demand for urgent humanitarian assistance and intervention from the international community before it is too late.
I thank you.
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