1 February 2021: The Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma) strongly condemns the actions of the Myanmar Tatmadaw which led to the arrest and detainment of Government officials, including State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President, U Win Myint. The arrests were made early in the morning as those in Burma awoke to Internet outages and communication blackouts. This coordinated attack on democracy constituted that of a coup under the leadership of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. We are concerned for the safety of those detained currently and for the future security of those in the country. Further, ND-Burma calls for their immediate and unconditional release and for the Myanmar Tatmadaw to respect the 2020 General Election results, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government secured a second term victory. The international community must put pressure on the military to adhere to democratic norms and principles, including abolishing the 2008 constitution and re-writing one in its place that does not allow for an abuse of power.
After the military affiliated party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party, lost in the 2020 General Election, the military began questioning the integrity of the results. Despite not having any evidence of alleged election fraud they have repeatedly asserted, they continued to push back on claims they were undermining democracy. Now, they are citing section 417 of the Constitution to justify their coup over the Union Election Commission’s management of the election and election results.
A state of emergency has been declared by the Myanmar Tatmadaw. By way of the Constitution, they have also taken over all three powers of the State including the legislature, executive and judiciary for one year. Their actions today are evident that the Myanmar Tatmadaw is truly not interested in committing to a peaceful transfer of power, nor are they interested in abiding by the country’s existing laws. This week an emergency meeting at the United Nations Security Council must be called, and members must address the current situation in Myanmar with greater force and effectiveness than they have in the past. This must include the UN Security Council to convene an emergency meeting to respond to the situation, including sending a delegation to Myanmar. Calls from civil society organizations must not be ignored.
ND-Burma lends our solidarity to long-time human rights defenders of Burma, who have stood tall in the face of resistance against the forces of the Myanmar Tatmadaw. We align our efforts for justice and respect for the rule of law with the civilians who have lived through history repeating itself too many times. We therefore reinforce our calls for the release of the political leaders and stakeholders immediately. Thus, ASEAN countries must unify in condemnation against the actions of the Myanmar Tatmadaw and assist in the return to civilian government and protection of human rights. The international community at large has a responsibility to not only condemn these actions but to hold the actors within the country accountable for the military’s crimes against democracy and its people.
U Aung Zaw Oo
Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters, Communications and Advocacy Director
+95 942 103 9493 (Burmese)
ND-Burma is a network that consists of 13-member organisations who represent a range of ethnic nationalities, women and former political prisoners. ND-Burma member organisations have been documenting human rights abuses and fighting for justice for victims since 2004. The network consists of nine Full Members and four Affiliate Members as follows: