Statement by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun at the Virtual Event on “ The Coup in Myanmar: A Year On”
Statement delivered by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations at the virtual event on “The Coup in Myanmar: A Year On” organized by Liechtenstein, Canada, Costa Rica, the Gambia, Turkey and the European Union, held on 4 February 2022 in New York.
Statement delivered by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun,
Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations
at the virtual event on “The Coup in Myanmar: A Year On” organized by Liechtenstein, Canada, Costa Rica, the Gambia, Turkey and the European Union
(New York, 4 February 2022)
- Thank you Christian. Thank you Bob.
Excellencies, dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
- I thank the organizers for convening this important event and it is timely. I thank my fellow panelists to join this event.
- On 1 February last year, the military staged an illegal coup. Now one year later, the coup has not succeeded. Why has it failed? Because the people of Myanmar strongly resisted.
- It has been a year of despair, injustice and outrage that have been dominating daily life of everybody across the country as the military junta’s brutal assault on our fundamental freedoms, democracy and basic human rights continues unabated.
- Every single day since the coup, the people of Myanmar demanded respect for their democratic will in every possible peaceful way, from peaceful daily demonstrations to civil disobedience movement. But, the military responded by unleashing a campaign of terror against the population. Peaceful protestors have been shot dead in the streets by snipers. Children have been murdered in their homes. Young people have been disappeared. According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), by 3 February 2022, more than 1513 people had been killed and 11,951 people arbitrarily arrested since the military coup. COVID-19 has also been weaponised by the military, with medical workers killed and arrested and vaccines and medicines withheld.
- People of Myanmar are facing an unprecedented political, socioeconomic, human rights and humanitarian crisis since the military coup. All fundamental rights have been denied. Even clapping is a crime now. No space for civil society organizations and independent media. Nearly half of the population is now under poverty line. The economy is nearly 30 % down. Hundreds of thousands of people including women and children have been displaced by the military’s indiscriminate and deliberate attacks including air strikes against the civilian population. Properties of anti-coup dissidents have been illegally confiscated; their bank accounts blocked. The military is waging a dirty war against the people.
- Importantly, make no mistake: the military junta is not at war with a particular political entity, but with the whole population of Myanmar who do not want to go back to the system used to be in, that is the military dictatorship.
- Before mentioning what the international community can do, I wish to touch on a few following points:
- First, the military junta is illegal, not just in the eyes of the people but also in every legal definition. The military’s seizure of power was a brazen violation of the Constitution they themselves wrote, and thus absolutely unlawful. The junta’s claim of constitutionality is an outright lie. Myanmar people will never accept the junta’s rule under any name or under any circumstance.
- Second, the people had expressed their clear desire through the successful free, fair and transparent 2020 election at which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led NLD won the land slide victory again. In contrary, the military’s so-called 5-point roadmap is nothing more than a coup plan essentially designed to perpetuate military rule. Any election promised under that plan will never be accepted by the people of Myanmar, and the result of the 2020 election must be respected.
- Third, the military junta is not in full control of the country. Far from it. Nationwide resistance to its oppression is growing stronger and will continue to do so. There is no question that everybody inside and outside Myanmar wants a peaceful and sustainable solution to the current crisis. However, the military junta has cornered the whole country with utter brutality. That is what leaves the people of Myanmar no other choice but to defend themselves through people’s defensive resistance. Yet, while armed resistance gets greater strength, other peaceful mass oppositions to the junta including peaceful protest and civil disobedience remains firm and robust.
- Fourth, ongoing so-called trials of elected leaders, convictions and jail sentences against elected representatives, dissidents, celebrities and others are complete sham. The level of absurdity surrounding the conviction of State Counsellor DawAung San Suu Kyi on Walkie-Talkie possession clearly reflects the current failed situation of the rule of law and status of the justice sector in Myanmar. Besides, the military has been spreading hate-speech disinformation and instigating racial and religious extremism especially targeting elected members and democratic forces opposing its illegal rule.
- These are pretty straightforward facts and observable realities of the situation in my country.
- When it comes to international response, we do appreciate the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other UN system bodies for standing with the people of Myanmar and condemning the violence. We also appreciate several individual countries that have imposed sanctions targeting the junta and their members’ interests. However, the international response so far is clearly not enough. More must be done.
- On political aspect, I agree with the fact that we need an urgent coordinated international response grounded on regional unity. However, what we are seeing now is that ASEAN is being increasingly used as a shield for inaction. We understand that ASEAN as an important regional organization has a unique role to play in response to the crisis in Myanmar. Taking this opportunity, we welcome ASEAN’s decisions not to accept the military junta as a legitimate entity. At the same time, ASEAN should not be one and only means to solve the problem. Especially the UN Security Council needs to use its tools at its disposal to give enforcement weight to ongoing international and regional efforts including to the implementation of ASEAN 5-Point Consensus even which is not perfect in the eyes of the Myanmar people.
- Here I wish to echo what Ambassador Greenfield, US PR said, “statements are not enough”. The Council should adopt a resolution in response to the crisis in Myanmar which should include imposition of arms embargo against the military, declaration of no fly zones and justice for victims of the military atrocities.
- On humanitarian front, the Security Council needs to address the blockage by the military of humanitarian aid delivery to all those in need and their targeted attacks on aid workers. Here I wish to express our deep appreciation to our neighbouring countries for helping Myanmar refugees. I hope they will continue to do so and do more in the spirit of humanity.
- Another urgently needed action of the Council is the protection of Myanmar civilians from junta atrocities like the recent Christmas Eve massacre and indiscriminate air strikes, and accountability for the widespread and systematic commission of serious international crimes in Myanmar. Specifically, the Council should take actions in line with its various resolutions including under the agenda of protection of civilians, and women, peace and security, if and when the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, in line with its mandate, can present individual criminal case files with evidence for serious international crimes including crimes against humanity.
- The accountability issue is extremely important and directly related to any future political transformation. In Myanmar, we cannot have any meaning and sustainable political solution without the transitional justice. Any approach based on the assumption that the military must be the center of the solution will fail. What I mean is that we cannot let the military get away with impunity for the past and ongoing crimes and allow them to set the terms for any political arrangement of the country.
- Finally, all is not bad news in Myanmar. Amid all this horror and devastation inflicted by the coup, there is a significant window of opportunity that transcends racial, ethnic and religious lines. That is a sense of empathy and solidarity towards all minority people including Rohingya. This can be a crucial foundation for an inclusive, tolerant, peaceful, federal democratic future of Myanmar. This is the common vision of the people of Myanmar.
- In the recently held People’s Assembly, the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) endorsed the National Unity Government as the legitimate government of Myanmar and will continue to serve as an inclusive collective platform for setting the arrangements to eliminate military dictatorship and build a federal democratic Union which guarantees democracy, equality among all and self-determination of ethnic minorities. Therefore, I wish to appeal to all UN member states to closely engage and work with the National Unity Government and support the NUCC process.
- In conclusion, here is the appeal of the people of Myanmar. No recognition whatsoever on the military junta. End the culture of impunity by bringing perpetrators to justice. Coordinated, targeted tougher sanctions by the international community. Decisive and timely action by the UNSC through adoption of a sanction resolution. Providing humanitarian assistance to the people in need. Recognize the NUG.
- Thank you.