10 June 2021: Ahead of this weekend’s G7 leaders’ summit, the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M) calls on the group to fill the vacuum left by the UN and ASEAN and take decisive action to defend democracy and human rights in Myanmar.
This weekend, leaders of the G7 nations will hold a three-day summit. The G7 group consists of the UK, US, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy. These seven states will be joined for this meeting by Australia, India and the Republic of Korea and by representatives of the European Union. Meanwhile, as these democratic states meet, the military junta in Myanmar continues to wage its campaign of terror against the people, cracking down on the democracy movement across the country with extreme violence and fuelling a man-made humanitarian catastrophe.
Despite the gravity of the situation, the United Nations Secretary-General has not yet travelled to Myanmar or the Southeast Asia region. The UN Security Council is paralyzed, prevented from taking intervening measures, including targeted sanctions and arms embargos, by permanent members China and Russia. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been given the lead role in responding to the crisis by the international community, but to date it has failed entirely to deliver on moving the situation forward.
The G7 must fill the vacuum left by the UN and ASEAN with decisive action on Myanmar.
“G7 members have been leading the way with targeted sanctions against the junta’s business enterprises,” says Yanghee Lee of SAC-M. “However, there is a glaring omission: the massive revenues the junta receives from oil and gas companies, including France’s Total and the US’ Chevron. Without cutting off this billion-dollar income, all other sanctions will be in vain. SAC-M is calling for a global three cuts strategy against the junta: cut the weapons, cut the cash, cut the impunity.”
“Leaders should use the G7 summit to apply pressure on ASEAN to step up to the plate,” says Marzuki Darusman of SAC-M. “This means engaging with all stakeholders, including the National Unity Government.”
“With the support of the people through their elected representatives and representative organisations, the National Unity Government is the legitimate government of Myanmar,” says Chris Sidoti of SAC-M. “Not only this, but the broad coalition formed among the people that the National Unity Government represents has the potential to end the decades of civil war and military oppression in Myanmar. G7 leaders must stand against authoritarianism, refuse to give any legitimacy to the junta and recognise the National Unity Government.”
SAC-M also calls on the G7 to increase desperately needed cross-border humanitarian assistance to the people of Myanmar. To reach those in need and avoid being exploited by the junta, assistance must be directed through the National Unity Government, existing local structures, civil society networks and ethnic administrations. Official Development Assistance should be immediately re-directed away from the junta or government agencies under the control of the junta and instead directed to the National Unity Government and civil society.
The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar is a group of independent international experts, who came together in response to the military coup in Myanmar, to support the peoples of Myanmar in their fight for human rights, peace, democracy, justice and accountability.
Yanghee Lee is a former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, who held the mandate from 2014 to 2020. During this time, she reported on the military’s deadly offensives against Myanmar’s ethnic and religious minorities, including the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya in 2016 and 2017. In her final report she warned that the hard-fought democratic space in Myanmar was under threat and called for a national dialogue to bring the nation together.
Marzuki Darusman is former Chair of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (FFM) and Chris Sidoti is a former member of the FFM. In 2018, the FFM called for the investigation and prosecution of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and his top military leaders for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In 2019, the FFM exposed the extent to which the Myanmar military uses its own businesses, foreign companies and arms deals to sustain its operations and called for immediate targeted sanctions and arms embargoes.
For more information please contact:
Isabel Todd, SAC-M Coordinator