14 September 2021 — London/Yangon — Burma Human Rights Network calls on the United Nations Credentials Committee to reject the Burmese military’s attempt to represent the country at the UN. UN member states must instead support the credentials of the National Unity Government as the legitimate representative of the people of Burma. The NUG is composed of party members of the elected government of Burma that the military overthrew on 1 February 2021. To recognize the military would give credibility to brute force and ignore the will of the people of Burma.
“The crisis facing Myanmar is not just about the coup or the power struggle between two entities. It is a war between corrupted authoritarian and democratic forces. It is a struggle between a mass murderer and defenseless civilians,” said BHRN’s Executive Director Kyaw Win.
The UN’s Credentials Committee is set to meet today to consider who will represent Burma at the UN. Disputes between parties seeking representation at the UN are settled by the body, which is composed of nine member states.
This is the junta who have been accused of committing genocide against the Rohingya people in 2017 by UN Fact Finding Mission. Since February coup the junta has killed more than 1200 peaceful protesters. By accepting the military’s credentials the UN would give credibility to their ill-gotten claims to power and solidify their control. In doing this they would help ensure that the people of Burma would continue to suffer under the military’s tyranny. If they instead accept the credentials of the NUG they would send a sign to Burma and the world that authority comes from the people, not from cruelty and force.
Over the past 30 years, the UN has rejected credential claims from regimes that gained power through force. To change course now and allow Burma’s military to claim power would undermine any progress the world has made for democracy and representation. In considering what party is given authority in a divided nation the UN has and must continue to consider the rights of the civilians in those countries. In the case of the Junta, they have already proven that they have no respect for human life, democracy, or any fundamental freedom. The UN cannot reward this with any legitimacy.
“Although the decision could be based on national interests, this is a much bigger issue. Any decision made by UNGA would be historical with deep ramifications. We can’t let the mass murderers win,” said Kyaw Win. Yet, by accepting the NUG’s credentials the UN would signal to the world the value of human rights and the value of the democratic will of the people of Burma. The NUG represents a new page for Burma, one where the civilian government may represent the interests of all of Burma’s people, including minorities that have been oppressed and marginalised for years. While supporting the NUG may not solve all of Burma’s problems overnight, it is a step towards achieving justice and peace for the country.
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
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