Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación
Defense for Children International
Global Campaign for Education
Human Rights Watch
Save the Children
World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)
World Vision International
Re: Letter to Min Aung Hlaing ahead of the UN Transforming Education Summit in New York
386 civil society organizations are writing to you, outraged by the letter your organizations co-signed on 11 August 2022 in which you addressed Senior General Min Aung Hlaing as “Prime Minister of the Government of Myanmar”. The letter sent to Min Aung Hlaing ahead of the United Nations Transforming Education Summit in New York also addressed sanctioned individual Wanna Maung Lwin as “Minister of Foreign Affairs” and Kyaw Zeya as “Ambassador Extraordinary” to France and “Permanent Delegate” to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
This is an affront to the people of Myanmar who have sacrificed their lives to resist the Myanmar military’s attempt to seize power through a brutal and illegal coup.
Min Aung Hlaing is not the “Prime Minister” of Myanmar, he is the leader of an illegal coup attempt. The military junta is neither a legitimate government of Myanmar nor can it be said to control several key functions of the government. They must not be referred to and addressed as the representatives of the state of Myanmar.
Min Aung Hlaing and his murderous band of military generals has killed 2,189 and detained 12,000 people since 1 February 2021. They hold no legitimacy in the eyes of the Myanmar people. Rather, this letter should be sent to the National Unity Government of Myanmar which is formed on the basis of the 2020 elections results.
Several of these organizations work or have worked in Myanmar, purportedly to improve the lives and rights of the people of Myanmar. By issuing a letter that potentially bestows a misguided sense of legitimacy onto the junta is an abrogation of responsibility that these organizations have to their ‘beneficiaries’.
We demand that you withdraw this letter and make a formal public apology for the gross mistake and misrepresentation. Furthermore, this letter must be submitted to the National Unity Government who are the only entity that can legitimately represent Myanmar at the UNESCO education conference.
The gravity of the situation also calls for an internal investigation by the signatory organizations. It is imperative that such mistake do not occur again.
We await your swift action and response to this letter.
Progressive Voice is a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization rooted in civil society, that maintains strong networks and relationships with grassroots organizations and community-based organizations throughout Myanmar. It acts as a bridge to the international community and international policymakers by amplifying voices from the ground, and advocating for a rights-based policy narrative.