International Community Must Answer Our Tireless Calls

July 5th, 2021  •  Author: Progressive Voice  •  10 minute read
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“People simply are not receiving enough assistance – this means supporting local organizations with direct aid in a flexible and timely manner, circumventing the military junta who weaponizes aid for their own agenda. Creative solutions through cross-border channels and with local organizations that have worked on humanitarian support in Myanmar for decades should be optimized.”

The situation on the ground in Myanmar is deteriorating at a rapid pace, as the Myanmar military continues its assault on multiple fronts against the people of Myanmar – including through military operations in urban areas five months into the attempted coup. On 22 June, the Myanmar military raided the hideout of the people’s defence force (PDF) in Mandalay, and arrested eight people. During the raid, a bloody shootout between the Myanmar military and the people’s defence force ensued at the intersection of 54th and 11th streets, killing four people inside the PDF hideout. Elsewhere in Mandalay, residents claim other areas of the city were the scene of urban warfare, including a shooting and pursuit of a car which crashed into a power pole killing all four men inside, none of whom were members of the PDF according to their families.

Meanwhile, in ethnic areas the military junta continues to wage war against ethnic peoples, causing hundreds of thousands of people to be displaced, resulting in catastrophic humanitarian consequences. Tragically, six internally displaced persons, including a pregnant woman and two infants, have died in a makeshift IDP camp in Chin State due to lack of access to adequate medical treatment, a displaced person from the war-torn town of Mindat told Radio Free Asia. Adequate food and shelter is an incredibly pressing concern, such as in Matupi, Chin State where the Myanmar military’s light infantry division 140 has blocked the transportation of rice to villagers who desperately need it, falsely claiming it is intended for the PDF. These incidents highlight the challenges facing villagers and displaced communities and pressing need to include local organizations equipped to handle these challenges. This is the message from the ground – find creative solutions to providing aid to people in Myanmar, instead of funneling it through the junta who weaponize it for their own legitimacy and gain.

Amid the human rights and humanitarian crisis, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution that included condemning the military junta’s lethal use of force against civilians, release those arbitrarily detained, allow for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need and calls upon all member states to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar. This is a direct result of collective push from Myanmar civil society to the international community, in concert with INGOs. The road to getting a resolution at the UNGA has not been without obstacles, as ASEAN attempted to obstruct a global arms embargo within the resolution by saying it would not support the resolution if this was included, choosing to align with the junta’s interest. Ultimately, the resolution called for “all member states to prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar” but short of enforcing a global arms embargo. Although, four ASEAN states abstained (Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Brunei), while Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam voted in favor.

In another positive development, the Human Rights Council (HRC) has postponed the adoption of the outcomes of Myanmar’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in light of the military junta’s brutal campaign of terror since the attempted coup 1 February 2021. It would be unconscionable for the junta to represent the people of Myanmar while they continue to brutally murder and arbitrarily arrest the people of Myanmar who are opposing the junta. This comes after 414 Myanmar and international civil society organizations urged the HRC to postpone the session and reject the Myanmar military junta representatives at the UN Offices in Geneva and recognize the National Unity Government (NUG). The groups say it is imperative that Myanmar be represented by the NUG within the international forums. It is also welcoming to see last week that the EU and UK announced further sanctions against eight individuals, including the junta’s self-proclaimed attorney general Thida Oo, and four military owned or affiliated businesses including Myanma Gems Enterprise. This comes after concerted efforts by civil society to push for these sanctions. Other international actors, including Australia which has not imposed any sanctions against the junta should follow their allies, the UK, US and EU, and apply sanctions to stop the flow of funds to the junta.

These developments are a testament to the grassroots activism and the collective efforts of civil society inside and outside Myanmar, who have propelled their messages from the ground to the international community. The resolution at the UNGA and postponement of Myanmar’s UPR are a good first step but need to build on this momentum with coordinated and effective actions. The international community must recognize the NUG as the representative government for Myanmar and recognize them on the international stage at the United Nations and all its UN organs and programs, including at the HRC and during the UPR. Member States that are obstructing progress within the chambers of the Palais des Nations in Geneva and within the halls of power at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, should cease these actions and support the will of the people of Myanmar for a genuine federal democracy. This should also include pushing ASEAN decision makers to listen to the will of the peoples of Myanmar and to work with the NUG. Thus, nothing less than a coordinated response which includes targeted sanctions against military leadership, military affiliated businesses and their cronies and a global arms embargo will put a dent in the Myanmar military’s finances.

The international community must also immediately redouble its efforts for humanitarian assistance to those who have fled the attacks of the military junta. People simply are not receiving enough assistance – this means supporting local organizations with direct aid in a flexible and timely manner, circumventing the military junta who weaponizes aid for their own agenda. Creative solutions through cross-border channels and with local organizations that have worked on humanitarian support in Myanmar for decades should be optimized. While some positive progress is being made at the United Nations, it is merely not enough to respond to the calls from the ground seeking support for the steadfast resistance of the Spring Revolution and to stop the military’s nationwide terror campaign against the people, and cries for assistance in ethnic areas of Myanmar affected by the conflict waged by the inhumane junta. These urgent calls must be answered without any further delay.

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[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term ‘Myanmar’ in acknowledgement that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of ‘Myanmar’ rather than ‘Burma’ without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten. Thus, under certain circumstances, ‘Burma’ is used.


Resources from the past week

actions

Statements and Press Releases

Open letter from Myanmar civil society organizations to the Leaders of the G7 Summit

By 397 Myanmar Civil Society Organizations

Children have been killed in the bloodshed by the military junta

By Assistance Association for Political Prisoners

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

By Asia Justice and Rights, Women’s League of Burma, Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, All Arakan Student’s and Youth Congress, Ta’ang Civil Society Organization, Burma Civil War Museum and Union Of Karenni State Youth

ACEM urges safe release of medical professionals detained in Myanmar

By Australasian College for Emergency Medicine

Burma Campaign UK Welcomes EU Sanctions on Timber and Gems Enterprises

By Burma Campaign UK

Burma Campaign UK Welcomes UK Sanctions on Timber, Pearls and SAC

By Burma Campaign UK

BROUK Welcomes New Round Of Sanctions By EU And UK

By Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK

CDF-Thantlang ၏ သဘောထား ထုတ်ပြန်ချက် အမှတ် ၅/၂၀၂၁

By Chinland Defense Force – Thantlang

Myanmar remains on human rights watchlist as military crackdown on protest movement continues

By CIVICUS Monitor

Myanmar/Burma: third round of EU sanctions over the military coup and subsequent repression

By Council of the European Union

Myanmar: Teenager Describes Torture, Mock Burial

By Human Rights Watch

အမှတ် (၁၁)တပ်ရင်း တပ်မဟာ (၂)စစ်ဌာနချုပ် ကချင်လွတ်မြောက်ရေးတပ်မတော် သတိပေးထုတ်ပြန်ချက်

By Kachin Independence Army

Message of the Chairman of Karenni National Progressive Party on the Occasion of the 146th Anniversary of Karenni National Day

By Karenni National Progressive Party

Objection of Any Arbitrary Killings, Allegedly Committed by the State Actor and Non- State Armed Group (NSAG), Amount to Crimes of International Concern

By Legal Aid Network

Burmese journalists need our support: MEAA

By Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance

Correspondence to Marise Payne re: plight of Myanmar’s journalists in exile in Thailand

By Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance

“၂၂.၆.၂၀၂၁ မန္တလေးတွင်ဖြစ်ပွားခဲ့သော တိုက်ပွဲနှင့်ပတ်သတ်၍ ရှင်းလင်းတင်ပြချက်” ကြေညာချက်အမှတ်။ ။၂/၂၀၂၁

By Mandalay People Defence Force

မိုးဗြဲပြည်သူ့ကာကွယ်ရေးတပ် ကြေညာချက်အမှတ် ၇/၂၀၂၁

By Mobye People Defense Force

Statement on United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Human Rights)

အမျိုးသားညီညွတ်ရေးအစိုးရ အလုပ်သမားဝန်ကြီးဌာန ကြေညာချက်အမှတ် ၂/၂၀၂၁

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Labour)

အမျိုးသား ညီညွတ်ရေး အစိုးရ လျှပ်စစ်နှင့် စွမ်းအင် ဝန်ကြီးဌာန အမိန့်ကြော်ငြာစာအမှတ် (၄/၂၀၂၁)

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Electricity & Energy)

H.E.Dr Sasa’ address to the Parliamentarians of the French Republic

By National Unity Government (Ministry of International Cooperation Myanmar)

အမျိုးသားညီညွတ်ရေးအစိုးရ တရားရေးဝန်ကြီးဌာန ထုတ်ပြန်ကြေညာချက် (၁/၂၀၂၁)

By National Unity Government of Myanmar

The Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma Calls for An End to Junta Violence in New Briefing Paper: “Destruction & Displacement: Civilian Safety and Security at Risk Post-Coup in Myanmar”

By Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma

UN Special Representative Patten expresses grave concern over reports of sexual violence in detention setting in Myanmar

By Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict

စစ်အာဏာရှင် အမြစ်ပြတ်တိုက်ခိုက်​ရေး ပြည်သူ့ကာကွယ်​ရေး အဖွဲ့ ၆ ခု ပူး​ပေါင်း ​ကြေညာ

By People’s Defense Force

Foreign Secretary announces further sanctions on companies linked to Myanmar’s military regime

By United Kingdom (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office)

Deputy Secretary Sherman’s Meeting with UN Special Envoy on Myanmar Burgener

By United States Department of State

အမျိုးသားညီညွတ်ရေးအစိုးရ (NUG) ထံသို့ တကသများ – ရန်ကုန်မှ အိတ်ဖွင့်ပေးစာ ပေးပို့ခြင်း။

By Yangon-based University Student Unions

reports

Reports

Civicus Monitor Watchlist: Myanmar Overview of recent restrictions to civic freedoms

By CIVICUS Monitor

Burma Army Attacks Drive Over 55,000 Karenni into Hiding

By Free Burma Rangers

KCSN briefer on the situation in Karenni State after the February 1 military coup in Burma

By Karenni Civil Society Network

Destruction & Displacement: Civilian Safety and Security at Risk Post-Coup in Myanmar

By Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma

Belarus Votes Against UN Resolution After Over Decade Of Myanmar Military Ties

By Justice For Myanmar

AIIB and World Bank Group Financially Exposed to Myanmar Military Business

By Justice For Myanmar

No Safe Haven: The Plight of Rohingya Children Across Asia

By Save the Children

Myanmar Humanitarian Update No. 8 | 24 June 2021

By United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

WFP Myanmar Situation Report #2 June 2021

By World Food Programme


Progressive Voice is a participatory, rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 transitioning to a rights-based policy research and advocacy organization called Progressive Voice. For further information, please see our press release “Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice.”

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