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Civil Society organizations reject UN Special Envoy’s proposal of “power sharing”

February 2nd, 2022  •  Author:   247 Civil Society Organizations  •  12 minute read
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Civil Society organizations reject UN Special Envoy’s proposal of “power sharing”

Raise alarm at her misinterpretation that the “military are in control”

2 February 2022

247 civil society organizations reject UN Special Envoy, Dr Noeleen Heyzer’s, proposal that those defying the military must negotiate a power sharing as a solution to the current political, human rights and humanitarian crisis created by the terrorist military junta.

In an interview with Channel News Asia, the Special Envoy discusses finding “commonalities”, a political transformation requiring process and a “need to negotiate what this power sharing could look like”. Her comments have been met with strong reactions.

We further raise alarm at the comments she made during her interview in which she claims that “The military is in control at this particular time”.

These statements could set a dangerous precedent, that those who take control through brutal means – massacring, killing, raping, arresting, torturing, burning villages and people, targeting civilians using airstrikes and shelling – be welcomed to share power. Such suggestions send a signal to the military that the UN is willing to act as a broker for their power despite the grave crimes they have committed, and further embolden them to commit atrocities with total impunity.

The youth who are continuing to call for an end to the military’s terror are not being unrealistic in their efforts to see their human rights and fundamental freedoms protected. Their calls reflect the principles laid out in the UN Charter and deserve the full support and respect of UN mandate holders.

In addition, it is not required of revolutionary movements to end in a power sharing agreement with those that have committed genocide and continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. History has shown us that coups around the world have failed, and revolutions have succeeded. Those who have committed grave international crimes must be held accountable, not offered more power, a seat at the table and legitimacy by the international community. This will only embolden them to continue to commit grave crimes with total impunity.

It has been over a decade since the military initiated their political process of power sharing. This consisted of unelected military officials holding 25% of the seats in parliament and control over key ministries that were integral to the governance of Myanmar, under a military-drafted 2008 Constitution that undemocratically ensured their place in the corridors of power.

They stole the wealth of the people of Myanmar for decades during the military dictatorship and throughout the military orchestrated political process of the past decade. They exploited natural resources, while continuing to commit war crimes against people who live in resource-rich ethnic areas.

For over 70 years the military has waged a fierce war against ethnic peoples, committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. While sharing limited power with the National League for Democracy, they committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against ethnic people and genocide against the Rohingya.

The Special Envoy should advise the UN Security Council to immediately refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court so that these grave crimes committed by the Myanmar military can be investigated and prosecuted. Offering them a seat at the negotiating table is not in accordance with the “will and interests of the people of Myanmar” as adopted in resolutions at the UN General Assembly.

The Special Envoy’s misinterpretation that “the military is in control” could not be farther from the truth. Over the past year, Myanmar people’s revolutionary movement has successfully prevented the military from grabbing power over the country, despite all its brutal efforts. The military are, however, conducting fierce airstrikes in ethnic areas where they are losing territorial control; shooting and shelling people forcing them to flee across the border into neighboring countries, threatening international peace and security; burning bodies including children and staff of international organizations in an attempt to instill terror. These are not acts of a military who are in control.

International experts on Myanmar have previously stated in response to UN officials inaccurately suggesting that military has “taken over” or that it has an “iron grip on power”, that “Misinterpretation leads to misrepresentation, misrepresentation leads to misunderstanding, and misunderstanding leads to mistakes”. We could not agree more.

Such mistakes have been a persistent problem for the UN in Myanmar as outlined in the Rosenthal report, which found that systemic and structural failures rendered the UN impotent in the face of the Rohingya genocide. The UN must not make the same mistakes, and once again, fail the people of Myanmar.

If the Special Envoy is genuinely committed to a “Myanmar-led process” and engaging “directly with and listen carefully to all those affected by the ongoing crisis”, she must understand the root causes of the current crisis and genuinely listen to the calls of the people of Myanmar. Their calls have been clear. The military must never rule.

The UN Special Envoy and other mandate holders, as well as UN agencies, funds programs and entities, must support the calls of the people of Myanmar and their efforts towards a future federal democratic Myanmar. They must respect their will and work to ensure that the military is never again allowed to have power.

For further information, please contact:

Signed by Myanmar CSOs and Supported by Regional and International CSOs:

      1. Action Committee for Democracy Development
      2. Ah Nah Podcast – Conversation with Myanmar
      3. Albany Karen community, Albany, NY
      4. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
      5. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)
      6. ALTSEAN-Burma
      7. American Rohingya Advocacy/ Arakan Institute for Peace and Development
      8. Arizona Kachin Community
      9. Asia Democracy Network
      10. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition
      11. Asian Dignity Initiative
      12. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
      13. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
      14. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
      15. Blood Money Campaign
      16. Boat People SOS
      17. Burma Action Ireland
      18. Burma Campaign UK
      19. Burma Canadian Association Ontario (BCAO)
      20. Burma Human Rights Network
      21. Burma Task Force
      22. Burmese American Community Institute (BACI), IN
      23. Burmese American Millennials
      24. Burmese Democratic Forces
      25. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
      26. Burmese Women’s Union
      27. C&D Corporation
      28. Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)
      29. California Kachin Community
      30. Cambodian Americans and Friends for Democracy and Human Rights Advocates
      31. Campaign for a New Myanmar
      32. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
      33. Chin Leaders of Tomorrow (CLT)
      34. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
      35. Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA)
      36. Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam
      37. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland
      38. CRPH Funding Ireland
      39. Dallas Kachin Community
      40. DEEKU, the Karenni Community of TX
      41. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization
      42. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization -DPW
      43. Dhanu Women Organization
      44. Dhanu Youth Organization
      45. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization
      46. Educational Initiatives Myanmar (Czech Republic)
      47. Equality Myanmar
      48. European Karen Network
      49. European Rohingya Council
      50. Federal FM Mandalay
      51. Florida Kachin Community
      52. Foundation of Khmer Samaki (FKSamaki)
      53. Free Burma Action Bay/USA/Global
      54. Free Myanmar Campaign USA
      55. Freedom for Burma
      56. Freedom, Justice, Equality for Myanmar
      57. Future Light Center
      58. Future Light Women and Child Protection Organization
      59. Future Thanlwin
      60. Generation Wave
      61. Georgia Kachin Community
      62. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
      63. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution (GMSR)
      64. Global Neighbors Canada
      65. Global Neighbors Thailand Foundation
      66. Houston Kachin Community
      67. Human Rights Action Center
      68. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
      69. Info Birmanie
      70. Initiatives for International Dialogue
      71. Institute for Asian Democracy
      72. Inter Pares
      73. International Campaign for the Rohingya
      74. International Karen Organisation
      75. Iowa Kachin Community
      76. Justice for Myanmar
      77. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)
      78. Kachin Community of Indiana
      79. Kachin Community of USA
      80. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
      81. Kansas Karenni Community, KS
      82. Karen American Association of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
      83. Karen Association of Huron, SD
      84. Karen Community Association UK
      85. Karen Community in Syracuse, NY
      86. Karen Community in the Netherlands (KCNL)
      87. Karen Community of Akron, OH
      88. Karen Community of Canada (KCC)
      89. Karen Community of Czech Republic
      90. Karen Community of Finland
      91. Karen Community of Hamilton
      92. Karen Community of Iowa, IA
      93. Karen Community of Ireland
      94. Karen Community of Israel
      95. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO
      96. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo
      97. Karen Community of Leamington K
      98. Karen Community of Lethbridge
      99. Karen Community of London
      100. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN
      101. Karen Community of North Carolina, NC
      102. Karen Community of Ottawa
      103. Karen Community of Regina
      104. Karen Community of Rochester, Rochester, NY
      105. Karen Community of Saskatoon
      106. Karen Community of Thunderbay
      107. Karen Community of Toronto
      108. Karen Community of Windsor
      109. Karen Community of Winnipeg
      110. Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)
      111. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
      112. Karen Finland Culture Association
      113. Karen Human Rights Group
      114. Karen Organization of America
      115. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL
      116. Karen Peace Support Network
      117. Karen Rivers Watch
      118. Karen Swedish Community (KSC)
      119. Karen Thai Group
      120. Karen Women’s Organization
      121. Karen Youth Education Pathways
      122. Karen Youth Networks
      123. Karen Youth of Norway
      124. Karen Youth of Toronto
      125. Karen Youth Organization
      126. Karen Youth UK (KYUK)
      127. Karenni Baptist Convention of America
      128. Karenni Civil Society Network
      129. Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX
      130. Karenni Community of Arizona
      131. Karenni Community of Arkansas,
      132. Karenni Community of Austin, TX
      133. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY
      134. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY
      135. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL
      136. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO
      137. Karenni Community of Connecticut, CT
      138. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX
      139. Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA
      140. Karenni Community of Florida, FL
      141. Karenni Community of Fort Wayne, IN
      142. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX
      143. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA
      144. Karenni Community of Grand Rapid, MI
      145. Karenni Community of Houston, TX
      146. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID
      147. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN
      148. Karenni Community of Lansing, MI
      149. Karenni Community of Lousiville, KY
      150. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA
      151. Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN
      152. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO
      153. Karenni Community of New Jersey, NJ
      154. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC
      155. Karenni Community of Portland, OR
      156. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL
      157. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX
      158. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD
      159. Karenni Community of Utah, UT
      160. Karenni Community of Utica, NY
      161. Karenni Community of Washington, WA
      162. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI
      163. Karenni Federation of Australia
      164. Karenni National Women’s Organization
      165. Karenni Society of Canada
      166. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE
      167. Karenni Talkshow-KTS, USA
      168. Karenni Youth of Minnesota, MN
      169. Karenni-American Association
      170. Karenni-American Catholic Association
      171. Kayahlilaykloe, Austin, MN
      172. Kayahliphu Youth – KLY
      173. Kayaw Women Association
      174. Keng Tung Youth
      175. Kentucky Kachin Community
      176. KnA-Kay Phoe Du prgm
      177. Korea Karen Organization
      178. Korea Karen Youth Organization
      179. Kyaukpadaung Youth Network
      180. Kyaukse University Interim Administrative Council
      181. Kyaukse University Students’ Union
      182. LA Rohingya Association/America Rohingya Justice Network
      183. Let’s Help Each Other
      184. Los Angeles Myanmar Movement
      185. Louisiana Kachin Community
      186. Mandalay Regional Youth Association
      187. Mandalay Regional Youth Network
      188. Maramagri Youth Network
      189. Maryland Kachin Community
      190. MeBoun Foundation
      191. Metta Campaign Mandalay
      192. Michigan Kachin Community
      193. Milk Tea Alliance
      194. Minnesota Kachin Community
      195. My STORY photo project Association
      196. Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP)
      197. Myanmar Advocacy Coalition
      198. Myanmar Community Austria
      199. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)
      200. Myanmar Family Community Ireland
      201. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
      202. Myanmar Student Association Ontario (MSAO)
      203. Nationalities Alliance of Burma USA
      204. Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma)
      205. New York Kachin Community
      206. No Business With Genocide
      207. North Carolina Kachin Community
      208. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
      209. Olive Organization
      210. Omaha Kachin Community
      211. Oversea Karen Organization Japan
      212. Pa-O Women’s Union
      213. Pennsylvania Kachin Community
      214. Progressive Voice
      215. Rochester Karenni Community, NY
      216. Rohingya Action Ireland
      217. Sandhi Governance Institute
      218. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
      219. SEA Junction
      220. Shan MATA
      221. Sisters2Sisters
      222. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
      223. South Carolina Kachin Community
      224. Southern Youth Development Organization
      225. Stefanus Alliance International
      226. Students for Free Burma
      227. Support the Democracy Movement in Burma
      228. Swedish Burma Committee
      229. Synergy – Social Harmony Organization
      230. Ta’ang Women’s Organization
      231. Ta’ang Legal Aid
      232. Tanintharyi MATA
      233. Taunggyi Youth Center
      234. Tennessee Kachin Community
      235. The Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
      236. U.S. Campaign for Burma
      237. Union of Karenni State Youth
      238. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
      239. United States Chin Coalition (USCC)
      240. Virginia Kachin Community
      241. Washington Kachin Community
      242. West Virginia Kachin Community
      243. Women Activists Myanmar
      244. Women Advocacy Coalition Myanmar (WAC-M)
      245. Women’s League of Burma
      246. Women’s Peace Network
      247. West Coast Burmese Coalition (WCBC):

    ***We have received overwhelming support for the statement. Below are list of additional organizations that have signed-on to the statement after its release

        1. Action Against Myanmar Military Coup (Sydney)
        2. All Burma Student Democratic Front – Australia Branch
        3. All Young Burmese League (AYBL)
        4. Anti-Myanmar Dictatorship Movement
        5. Anti-Myanmar Military Dictatorship Network (AMMDN)
        6. Australia Burma Friendship Association, Northern Territory
        7. Australia Karen Organization WA Inc.
        8. Australia Myanmar DNF
        9. Australia Myanmar Youth Alliance (AMYA)
        10. Australian Burmese Muslim Organisation
        11. Australian Chin Community (Eastern Melbourne Inc)
        12. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO)
        13. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO) Queensland
        14. Bamar Community Tasmania
        15. Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC)
        16. Burmese Community
        17. Burmese Community Development Collaboration (BCDC)
        18. Burmese Community Support Group (BCSG)
        19. Burmese Friendship Association
        20. Burmese Medical Association Australia (BMAA)
        21. Canadians in Support of Refugees in Dire Need
        22. Canberra Karen Association
        23. Chin Community of Western Australia Inc.
        24. Chin Community SA
        25. Chin Community Tasmania
        26. Chin Youth Organization
        27. CRPH/NUG Support Group Australia
        28. Democracy for Burma
        29. Democracy Supporters Association (California, USA)
        30. Falam Community
        31. Free Rohingya Coalition
        32. Industrial Training Centre (ITC) Family Sydney
        33. Joint Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (JACDB)
        34. Kachin Association Australia
        35. Kachin Association of Australia WA Inc.
        36. Karen Community
        37. Karenni Federation of Australia
        38. Karenni/Kayah Community
        39. Kayin Community Tasmania
        40. Matu Chin Community
        41. Mindat Chin Community NSW
        42. Mindat Community
        43. Mizo Community
        44. Mon Families Group
        45. Mon National council
        46. Myanmar Buddhist Community of South Australia
        47. Myanmar Community Coffs Harbour (MCC)
        48. Myanmar Democracy and Peace Committee (Australia)
        49. Myanmar Democratic Movement (MDM)
        50. Myanmar Engineering Association of Australia (MEAA)
        51. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization in Malaysia (MERHROM)
        52. Myanmar People Residing in Canberra
        53. Myanmar Professionals Association Australia (MPAA)
        54. Myanmar Students’ Association Australia (MSAA)
        55. NLD Solidarity Association (Australia)
        56. Perth Myanmar Youth Network
        57. PWVB (Patriotic War Veterans of Burma)
        58. Queensland Kachin Community (QKC)
        59. Queensland Myanmar Youth Collective (QMYC)
        60. Queensland Rohingya Community
        61. Red Campaign Nirvana Exhortation Group
        62. Remonya Association of WA (Mon Community)
        63. Rohingya Human Rights Network
        64. Shwe Youth Democratic Alliance (SYDA)
        65. Southcare Medical Centre
        66. Spring University Myanmar(SUM)
        67. Support for Myanmar
        68. Sydney Friends for Myanmar Unity
        69. The Institution of Professional Engineers Myanmar
        70. United Myanmar Community of South Australia
        71. Victorian Burmese Care Community (VBCC)
        72. Victorian Myanmar Youth
        73. We Pledge CDM (Australia)
        74. Western Australia Myanmar Democratic Network
        75. Yadanar Foundation
        76. Zo Community
        77. Zomi Association Australia Inc.
        78. Zomi Community Queensland
        79. Zomi Community South Australia

    Download this statement in PDF.