Statement by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, Permanent Representative of Myanmar to the United Nations at the Informal Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Briefing by the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar .
New York, 16 March 2023
It is my honor to continue to represent the people of Myanmar and convey their voices at this august Assembly.
I wish to thank you for convening this important meeting. I appreciate the Special Envoy for her comprehensive briefing as well as her efforts including the inclusive humanitarian forum.
It has been over two years since the military attempted the illegal coup. As the Special Envoy mentioned, impact of the military coup on the people is devastating. The ongoing suffering of Myanmar people including Rohingya is no less than those in any other crisis.
The costs and human sufferings inflicted by the illegal military junta have been huge and consequential for all people of Myanmar, for their future as well as for the region.
Here, I wish to highlight some key points.
First, the situation in Myanmar is not a typical political conflict between the military and a particular political party. It is the re-imposition of brutal military dictatorship versus the absolute opposition of the whole people who refuse to go back to military rule that dragged our country only to injustice, misery and poverty for decades.
Second, the military junta’s actions are not mere human rights abuses.
We are talking about loss of human lives. More than 3130 people have been brutally killed by the military. It includes deliberate head-shot killings of peaceful protesters, killings of at least 920 detainees in military custody, over 145 people in interrogation.
The military conducted indiscriminate aerial bombings, heavy artillery shelling on villages and whole-sale burnings of over 62,000 residential homes, resulting in over 1.6 million people displaced, almost 18 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
It committed summary executions of democratic activists following secret sham military trials.
The inhumane military committed 64 cases of massacres across the country killing 766 people including 62 children. Even this month, a massacre in Tar Taing, Myinmu, Sagaing and another one in Nan Nhane, Pinlong, Shan State, took place.
All these crimes are not mere human rights abuses. They are part of the military junta’s systematic, widespread and coordinated attacks against the civilian populations. The nature, scale, patterns and methods of the military actions are well within what constitutes serious crimes under international law. They are amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
When we talk about the military’s atrocities during this failed coup attempt, we all are still in our mind of the military’s past atrocities against Rohingya. I thank Bangladesh for hosting the Rohingya people.
Third, the current people’s resistance did NOT start with people taking up arms just to attack the law enforcement for political disagreements. It was NOT incited by any foreign influences. Rather, it was the military junta’s blatant disregard for the rule of law and their inhumane brutalities that left people no choice but to defend themselves and their communities.
Fourth, the military junta is illegal and illegitimate. The unelected military junta has no legal basis whatsoever. No constitutional or statutory law allows the military to threaten and detain democratically elected sitting president. The junta has never had and will never have any legitimacy in the eyes of Myanmar people because they do not represent the people’s will.
Fifth, the protracted conflict in Myanmar does not stop at the border lines. The illegal attempted military rule has obviously become one of the biggest destabilizing factors to the peace and security of the whole region especially our immediate neighbors. Facts on the ground speak for themselves. For instance, Ongoing cross-border displacement caused by the junta’s indiscriminate aerial bombardments and heavy weapons shelling; Breeding ground for drug and human trafficking and transactional organized crimes; No possibility for the safe return of the Rohingya refugees living in camps in Bangladesh; Irregular maritime movements of desperate people.
Mr. President and dear colleagues,
Myanmar is now at a critical crossroad towards two very different futures.
One is permanent military dictatorship with total impunity. This is the future the military junta wants and is trying to achieve right now by doing in two ways.
First, they are using brutality and all atrocious means to force the people to submit to their illegal rule. They are doing it with the mentality that they own the country. Clearly, people own the country.
The military’s brutality will not end the crisis. Their widespread violence will not win back the lost control, but it has essentially strengthened further the determination of the people who have lost their relatives and possession to the junta’s atrocities.
Second, they are trying to gain legitimacy through pre-determined sham elections. We have to realize that any election organized and controlled by the illegal junta will never be genuine, free, fair and independent, especially while they are holding credible politicians in hostage and the rule of law has been dismantled. The junta-organized sham election will never be a short-term or long-term solution to the situation in Myanmar. Rather, it will create more bloodshed across the country.
We hope that the international community, our neighbors and friends from our region will not help pave the way to permanent military dictatorship by endorsing the junta’s actions.
On the other hand, there is a future Myanmar people want and are fighting for. That is a democratic Myanmar with minority rights protected and self-determination guaranteed under a federal system.
The democratic forces including the National Unity Government fighting against the military dictatorship in Myanmar are never against the interests of any particular country. They are only against injustice caused by the military dictatorship. Any country genuine to help Myanmar will find in them a reliable and willing partner.
The international community has a key role to play in helping Myanmar steer to a right direction. It is not about choosing one political system over another. It is about addressing the key threat to regional peace and stability.
We understand that the international community, especially the UN Security Council, is giving a chance to ASEAN 5-Point Consensus to solve the crisis in Myanmar. However, serious effort of the UN is much required. We deeply appreciate the Council’s adoption of first-ever resolution regarding Myanmar. But given that the military junta has been ignoring every demand and provision of that resolution, the follow-up enforcement measures from the Council are warranted.
In conclusion, lives of the people are invaluable, and their future must be certain. We want to end this catastrophe as soon as possible. But a Band-Aid fix is never an answer. We must make sure that we do not face a repeat of any such crisis in the future.
What the people of Myanmar want is to live in a free, peaceful, inclusive, just and democratic society. Our goal is clear, and we all are determined to that end. The people of Myanmar will continue their resistance against the inhumane military until the end of the military dictatorship, the restoration of democracy, the reach of a right path to a federal democratic union.
Accordingly, the people of Myanmar need help from the international community. Specifically, we need coordinated decisive concrete actions from the UN Security Council, the General Assembly and individual countries. I urge you all as follows:
First and foremost, save lives by stopping the flow of weapons, jet fuel and money to the brutal military machine.
Second, provide humanitarian aids to people in need through direct channels including cross-border means. Protect Myanmar refugees, asylum seekers and helpless Myanmar people in your countries.
Third, end military impunity and hold the perpetrators of serious international crimes accountable, either by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or by establishing an ad hoc tribunal.
Fourth, reject the junta’s representation and the junta’s sham election scheme.
Last but not least, engage, work with and support the National Unity Government, Ethnic Resistance Organizations, CRPH, NUCC and other stakeholders in laying the foundation for a system of federal democracy with effective, inclusive and accountable security sector institutions.
We look forward to receiving support from all member states.