Statement 2299 Views

Letter to the UN Secretary-General: Regarding UN agencies, funds, programmes and other entities engagement with the military junta

September 23rd, 2022  •  Author:   638 Civil Society Organizations  •  16 minute read
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Letter to the UN Secretary-General

H.E. Mr. António Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General
United Nations Secretariat
42nd Street,
New York, NY 10017

23 September 2022

Re: UN agencies, funds, programmes and other entities engagement with the military junta

UN entities must stop legitimizing the Myanmar military junta and instead present letters of appointment, sign letters of agreement and MoUs with the legitimate government of Myanmar, the National Unity Government, and ethnic revolutionary organizations

Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned 638 civil society organizations (CSOs), condemn in the strongest terms the recent public signing of new agreements and presenting of letters of appointment to the illegitimate Myanmar military junta by UN agencies, funds, programmes and other entities working inside Myanmar. We urge you to intervene for a principled, coordinated UN response to the crisis in Myanmar. We call on you and all UN entities to immediately cease all forms of cooperation and engagement that lends legitimacy to the illegal murderous junta. Instead, letters of appointment and agreements must be presented to the legitimate government of Myanmar, the National Unity Government (NUG), and ethnic revolutionary organizations (EROs).

On 10 December 2021, 256 Myanmar CSOs urged UN entities to not engage with the junta in any way that lends them legitimacy. Despite these consistent calls from the people of Myanmar and CSOs, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) all signed new agreements with and presented credentials to the junta in August and September 2022. The public ceremonies, which were arranged with photographs, were used as propaganda by the military junta in its ongoing attempts to assert their legitimacy. The people of Myanmar have categorically rejected its attempts to seize power since its illegal attempted coup on 1 February 2021.

For nearly a year and a half, the people of Myanmar have sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to defend democracy and their rights by engaging in political defiance and armed resistance – as a last resort. Their aim is to prevent the illegal military junta from taking over the country, as it is attempting to do through inflicting immense suffering on the people.

The recent public actions by UN entities are direct interventions that clearly side with the military junta, undercutting the ongoing collective resistance efforts and sacrifices by the Myanmar people to end the Myanmar military’s tyranny and establish a federal democracy. This breaches the principles of democracy, human rights and humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, independence and “do no harm” outlined in the UNs’ Joint Operating Standards and frame work of engagement, for which UN entities must comply with and hold themselves accountable.

Furthermore, in December 2021, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to endorse the recommendations of the UN Credential Committee that had rejected the credentials of the military junta and allowed the incumbent Ambassador, U Kyaw Moe Tun, who represents the National Unity Government (NUG) and thus represents Myanmar, to maintain his position at the UN General Assembly. UN entities, and agencies, funds and programmes in Myanmar should be guided by this decision and should be engaging publicly with the NUG and not the military junta.

The Myanmar junta has neither the political legitimacy nor territorial control over Myanmar. According to a recent analysis by an independent group of experts and former UN mandate holders on Myanmar – Special Advisory Council for Myanmar – the NUG and resistance organizations have effective control over 52% of the territory of Myanmar, while the junta is being actively contested in a further 23% of the territory. This means that the junta can only claim to have stable control over 17% of the territory.

Moreover, UN mandate holders have repeatedly raised concern on the weaponization of humanitarian aid by the junta, actively destroying and restricting aid to the people. These realities question the UN’s effectiveness in reaching the population in need by signing agreements to work with the very perpetrators who are causing the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar. This is also demonstrative of the importance of signing agreements with the NUG and EROs, and the urgent need to work directly with local actors in the provision of humanitarian aid, including from along the borders of Myanmar.

Within 598 days of the attempted coup, the Myanmar military has killed at least 2,311 people, including 192 children in cold blood. More than 15,400 people have been arbitrarily arrested, with at least 12,462 people still detained, with many routinely facing torture. The actual numbers of deaths and arrests are likely far higher. The Myanmar military continues to commit gross human rights violations and atrocity crimes including war crimes and crimes against humanity by torching houses, burning villages, looting properties, massacring people, committing rape and gang rape, shooting on sight, indiscriminate shelling and launching airstrikes in towns and villages. The crimes committed by the military in the past 19 months, in addition to those crimes committed against Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in the past, are collected by the UN, including by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.

The signing of the MoUs and agreements with the junta, coupled with the inconsistent, ineffectual and non-principled approach to addressing the crisis in Myanmar by the UN, conveys the wrong message to the junta and to the world that it recognizes the body that terrorizes the people of Myanmar and is responsible for gross international crimes. This not only emboldens the junta to commit further atrocity crimes with total impunity, but it indicates that the UN, in practice, does not respect the will of the people of Myanmar as adopted in resolutions and statements, including by the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council and in a statement issued by the president of the UN Security Council. The continuing issues in the UN’s approach in Myanmar, followings its “systemic and structural failures” in providing a unified approach in addressing the Rohingya genocide in 2017, highlighted in the 2019 Rosenthal Report, is glaring.

The people of Myanmar have been loud and clear that they want their legitimate government, the NUG and their Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun to be their representative at the UN. The will of Myanmar people in choosing their own government and thus their own representative at the UN and as well as in their struggle for federal democracy and human rights in their country must be fully recognized and respected by the UN and its member states.

Your Excellency, as the people and civil society of Myanmar, the region and throughout the world, we strongly urge all UN agencies, funds, programmes and other entities to stop legitimizing the illegal murderous junta and call on you for your leadership in a coordinated response to the crisis in Myanmar. We call on UN agencies, funds, programmes and other entities to work with the legitimate government of Myanmar, the NUG, EROs, CSOs and community-based organizations.

For more information, please contact:

Signed by 638 organizations, including 239 groups who have chosen not to disclose their names:

  1. 8888 Generation (New Zealand)
  2. Action Against Myanmar Military Coup (Sydney)
  3. Action Committee for Democracy Development
  4. Active Youths (Kalay)
  5. Advocacy Forum Nepal
  6. Ah Nah Podcast – Conversation with Myanmar
  7. La. Ka (12) Hta Khwe. Primary Education Student Union
  8. All Arakan Civil Society Organization Network (AACSON)
  9. All Arakan Civil Society Partnership (AACSP)
  10. All Burma Democratic Face in New Zealand
  11. All Burma Indigenous People Alliance
  12. All Religions Strike Column
  13. ALTSEAN-Burma
  14. Ananda Data
  15. Anti Dictatorship in Burma – DC Metropolitan Area
  16. Arakan Civil Engagement Network (ACEN)
  17. Arakan CSO Network
  18. Arakan Humanitarian Coordination Team – AHCT
  19. Arakan National Democratic Party
  20. Arizona Kachin Community
  21. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
  22. Asia Democracy Network
  23. Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
  24. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition
  25. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  26. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
  27. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
  28. Association of United in Nationalities in Japan
  29. Association Suisse-Birmanie
  30. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
  31. Auckland Kachin Community NZ
  32. Auckland Zomi Community
  33. Aung Myay Thar Zan Education Schools Strike Column
  34. Aung Pin Lae Main Strike Column
  35. Aung San Suu Kyi Park Norway
  36. Australia Karen Organisation
  37. Ayeyarwady Youth Network
  38. Bank Trade Unions Federation of Myanmar (BTUFM)
  39. Beyond Borders Malaysia
  40. Blooming Padauk
  41. Buddhist Solidarity Association
  42. Burma Action Ireland
  43. Burma Human Right Network
  44. Burma Medical Association
  45. Burma Task Force
  46. Burman suomalaiset Finland
  47. Burmese Canadian Network
  48. Burmese Community Group (Manawatu, NZ)
  49. Burmese Rohingya Welfare Organisation New Zealand
  50. Burmese Women’s Union
  51. Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)
  52. California Kachin Community
  53. Cambodian Americans and Friends for Democracy and Human Rights Advocates
  54. Campaign for a New Myanmar
  55. CDM Support Team Mandalay (CSTM)
  56. Central European Institute of Asian Studies
  57. Chan Mya Thar Si Township People Strike Column
  58. Chin Community in Norway
  59. Chin Community of Auckland
  60. Chin Community Of Japan
  61. Chin Leaders of Tomorrow
  62. Chin Resources Center
  63. Chinland Natural Resources Watch Group
  64. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  65. Civil Society Forum for Peace Network (Arakan)
  66. Computer University (Mandalay) Student Union
  67. Cooperative University Student Strike Column
  68. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland
  69. CRPH Funding Ireland
  70. CRPH Support Group, Norway
  71. CRPH, NUG Support Team Germany-Deutschland
  72. Dallas Kachin Community
  73. Daung Sit Thi
  74. DEEKU-Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX
  75. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization
  76. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization
  77. Democratic Party for a New Society, Norway
  78. Dhanu Youth Organization
  79. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization
  80. Education Family (Anti – Fascists Education Strike Columns Coordination Committee)
  81. Educational Initiatives Myanmar
  82. Equality Myanmar
  83. Ethnic Youth General Strike Committee
  84. Federal FM Mandalay
  85. Federal Myanmar Benevolence Group (NZ)
  86. Federation of Worker ‘s Union of Burmese Citizens in Japan (FWUBC)
  87. Florida Kachin Community
  88. Foundation of Khmer Samaki, USA
  89. Free Rohingya Coalition
  90. Freedom for Burma
  91. Future Light Center
  92. Future Thanlwin
  93. General Strike Committee of Nationalities (GSCN)
  94. Generation Wave
  95. Georgia Kachin Community
  96. German Solidarity with Myanmar Democracy e.V.
  97. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy
  98. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution
  99. Grass-root People
  100. Green Network (Myeik)
  101. Hkunzup Development Committee
  102. Houston Kachin Community
  103. Human Rights Educators Network
  104. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
  105. In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), Philippines
  106. Info Birmanie
  107. Initiatives for International Dialogue
  108. Institute for Asian Democracy
  109. International Association, Myanmar-Switzerland (IAMS)
  110. International Campaign for the Rohingya
  111. International Karen Organisation
  112. International Society of Myanmar Scholars and Professionals
  113. Iowa Kachin Community
  114. Justice for All
  115. Justice for Myanmar
  116. Justice Movement for Community – Innlay
  117. Kachin Affairs Organization Japan, KAO(Japan),
  118. Kachin Alliance (US)
  119. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)
  120. Kachin Association Norway
  121. Kachin Community of Indiana
  122. Kachin Community of USA
  123. Kachin Gender Star Group
  124. Kachin State Women Network (KSWN)
  125. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
  126. Kamma Lover
  127. Kansas Karenni community, KS
  128. Karen American Association of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
  129. Karen Association of Huron, SD
  130. Karen Community of Akron, OH
  131. Karen Community of Canada (KCC)
  132. Karen Community of Czech Republic
  133. Karen Community of Finland
  134. Karen Community of Hamilton
  135. Karen Community of Iowa, IA
  136. Karen Community of Ireland
  137. Karen Community of Israel
  138. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO
  139. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo
  140. Karen Community of Leamington K
  141. Karen Community of Lethbridge
  142. Karen Community of London
  143. Karen Community of Louisville, KY
  144. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN
  145. Karen Community of Ottawa
  146. Karen Community of Regina
  147. Karen Community of Saskatoon
  148. Karen Community of Thunderbay
  149. Karen Community of Toronto
  150. Karen Community of Windsor
  151. Karen Community of Winnipeg
  152. Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)
  153. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
  154. Karen Human Rights Group
  155. Karen Organization of America
  156. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL
  157. Karen Peace Support Network
  158. Karen Thai Group
  159. Karen Women’s Organization
  160. Karen Youth Education Pathways
  161. Karen Youth Networks
  162. Karen Youth of Norway
  163. Karen Youth of Toronto
  164. Karen Youth Organization
  165. Karenni Association – Norway
  166. Karenni Civil Society Network
  167. Karenni Community of Arizona, AZ
  168. Karenni Community of Arkensas, AK
  169. Karenni Community of Austin, TX
  170. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY
  171. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY
  172. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL
  173. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO
  174. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX
  175. Karenni community of Des Moines, IA
  176. Karenni Community of Florida, FL
  177. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX
  178. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA
  179. Karenni Community of Houston, TX
  180. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID
  181. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN
  182. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA
  183. Karenni Community of Michigan, MI
  184. Karenni community of Minnesota, MN
  185. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO
  186. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC
  187. Karenni Community of Portland, OR
  188. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL
  189. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX
  190. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD
  191. Karenni Community of Utah, UT
  192. Karenni Community of Utica, NY
  193. Karenni Community of Washington, WA
  194. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI
  195. Karenni National Society Japan, KNS-Japan,
  196. Karenni National Women’s Organization
  197. Karenni Society Finland
  198. Karenni Society New Zealand
  199. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE
  200. Karenni-American Association
  201. Kayan Women’s Organization
  202. K’cho Ethnic Association
  203. Keng Tung Youth
  204. Kentucky Kachin Community
  205. KontraS
  206. Korea Karen Organization
  207. Korea Karen Youth Organization
  208. Kyae Lak Myay
  209. Kyaukse University Students’ Union
  210. Kyauktada Strike Committee (KSC)
  211. Land in Our Hands
  212. League of Labour Union
  213. Let’s Help Each Other
  214. LGBT Union Mandalay (LGBTIQ Strike of Mandalay)
  215. Los Angeles Myanmar Movement LA2M
  216. Louisiana Kachin Community
  217. Mae Tao Clinic
  218. Maha Aung Myay Township People Collective Strike Column
  219. Mandalar University Student Strike Column
  220. Mandalar University Student Union (Mandalay Poets’ Union)
  221. Mandalay Alliance Strike Collective Column
  222. Mandalay Based People Strike Column
  223. Mandalay Civil Society Organizations
  224. Mandalay Computer University Student Union
  225. Mandalay Engineer Group
  226. Mandalay Engineer United Force
  227. Mandalay Private University Student Union (MPUSU)
  228. Mandalay Technical University Student Union
  229. Mandalay University Student Alumni Union
  230. Mandalay Wholesale Strike Column
  231. Mandalay Youth Association (MRYA)
  232. Mandalay Youth Strike Column
  233. Maryland Kachin Community
  234. Matu Burma Foundation
  235. Me Boun Foundation
  236. Medical Family – Mandalay
  237. Medical University (Mandalay) Student Union
  238. Metta Campaign Mandalay
  239. Michigan Kachin Community
  240. Midwives Training School (Mandalay) Student Union)
  241. MIIT Students Strike Column
  242. Minnesota Kachin Community
  243. Minority Affairs Institute (MAI Myanmar)
  244. Muslim Youth Union
  245. Mya Taung Strike Column
  246. Myanmar Accountability Project
  247. Myanmar Action Group Denmark
  248. Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability
  249. Myanmar Baptist Churches in Norway
  250. Myanmar Catholic Community In Norway
  251. Myanmar Community Austria (MCA)
  252. Myanmar Community Group Christchurch New Zealand
  253. Myanmar Community Group Dunedin New Zealand
  254. Myanmar Community in Norway
  255. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)
  256. Myanmar Democratic Force in Denmark
  257. Myanmar Diaspora Group Finland
  258. Myanmar Emergency Fund-Canada
  259. Myanmar Engineers – New Zealand
  260. Myanmar Gonye (New Zealand)
  261. Myanmar Hindu Community – Norway
  262. Myanmar Institute of Information Technology Students Union
  263. Myanmar Muslim Organization – Norway
  264. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
  265. Myanmar People in Ireland
  266. Myanmar Railway, Region (3) CDM Strike Column
  267. Myanmar Students’ Union in New Zealand
  268. Myaung Education Network
  269. Myaung Medical Team
  270. National Culture and Arts University (Mandalay) Student Union
  271. Nelson Myanmar Community Group New Zealand
  272. Netherlands Myanmar Solidarity Platform
  273. Network for Advocacy Action
  274. Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma)
  275. New York Kachin Community
  276. New Zealand Doctors for NUG
  277. New Zealand Karen Association
  278. New Zealand Zo Community Inc.
  279. No 7 State High School Alumni Strike Column
  280. No Business With Genocide
  281. North Carolina Kachin Community
  282. North South Initiative
  283. Norway Falam Community
  284. Norway Matu Community
  285. Norway Rvwang Community
  286. NRFF – New Rehmonnya Federated Force
  287. Nursing Training School (Mandalay) Student Union
  288. Nursing University (Mandalay) Student Union
  289. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
  290. Olive Organization
  291. Omaha Kachin Community
  292. Oversea Karen Organization Japan
  293. Overseas Mon Association. New Zealand
  294. Palaung National Society Japan, PNS-Japan
  295. Pan Pa Wash People Strike Column
  296. Pa-O Women’s Union
  297. Pa-O Youth Organization
  298. Pa-oh Youths Japan, PYJ-Japan
  299. Paramedical Technical University (Mandalay) Student Union
  300. Pennsylvania Kachin Community
  301. People’s Empowerment Foundation
  302. Pharmacy University (Mandalay) Student Union
  303. Phayagye Peace Strike Column
  304. Private Pre-school Teachers Association
  305. Probono Lawyer Network
  306. Progressive Voice
  307. Punnyakari Mon National Society Japan, PMNS-Japan
  308. Pyi Gyi Ta Gon Strike
  309. Pyithu Gonye (New Zealand)
  310. Rohingya Action Ireland
  311. Rohingya American Society (RAS), Milwaukee, WI, USA
  312. Rohingya Community in Norway
  313. Rohingya Cultural Center of Chicago, IL, USA
  314. Rohingya Society of Greater Nashua, NH, USA
  315. Rvwang Community Association New Zealand
  316. Safe of Dawei
  317. SaNaR (Save the Natural Resource)
  318. Sangha Samaga Strike Column
  319. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
  320. Save Myanmar – USA
  321. Save Myanmar Fundraising Group (New Zealand)
  322. Save Myanmar San Francisco
  323. Save the Salween Network (SSN)
  324. SEA Junction
  325. Second Tap Root
  326. Sein Pan Strike Column
  327. Shan Community (New Zealand)
  328. Shan Community in Japan (SCJ)
  329. Shan MATA
  330. Shan State Nationalities for Democracy Japan, SSND-Japan,
  331. Sisters 2 Sisters
  332. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
  333. Social Program Aid for Civic Education (SPACE)
  334. South Carolina Kachin Community
  335. Southern Dragon (Myanmar)
  336. Southern Youth Development Organization
  337. Spring Revolution Myanmar Muslim Network (SRMMN)
  338. Spring Traveller
  339. Strike Column of Representatives of Arbitrarily Arrested People
  340. Strike Column of Teachers from Universities and Degree Colleges of Mandalay
  341. Student Union of Mandalay University of Foreign Language
  342. Students for Free Burma (SFB)
  343. Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar (The Netherlands)
  344. Support the Democracy Movement in Burma
  345. Supporting 4 Myanmar Australia
  346. Swedish Myanmar Supporting Community (Sweden)
  347. Synergy – Social Harmony Organization
  348. Ta’ang Women’s Organization
  349. Taekwondo Sport Association
  350. Tanintharyi MATA
  351. Tanintharyi Nationalities Congress
  352. Tanitharyi People’s Voice
  353. Tanitharyi Women’s Network
  354. Technical University (Mandalay) Student Union
  355. Technical University (Yadanapone Cyber City) Student Union
  356. Tenasserim Student Unions’ Network – TSUN
  357. Tennessee Kachin Community
  358. Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma
  359. Thapaynyo News Letter
  360. The Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
  361. The Ladies
  362. The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development, Chiang Mai University
  363. The Swedish Foundation for Human Rights
  364. Traditional Medicine (Mandalay) Student Union
  365. S Campaign for Burma
  366. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  367. University of Dentistry (Mandalay) Student Union
  368. US Advocacy Coalition for Myanmar (USACM)
    1. Campaign for a New Myanmar
    2. Students for Free Burma (SFB)
    3. Freedom for Burma
    4. International Campaign for The Rohingya
    5. Helping Hands for Burma (H2B)
    6. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
    7. Chin Leaders of Today &Tomorrow
  369. Utica Karen Community, NY
  370. Virginia Kachin Community
  371. Washington Kachin Community
  372. West Virginia Kachin Community
  373. Women Activists Myanmar
  374. Women Advocacy Coalition – Myanmar
  375. Women’s League of Burma
  376. World Kachin Congress (WKC)
  377. World Rohingya Organization, Jackson Height, NY, USA
  378. Yadanapone University Student Union (Ya. Ta. Ka. Tha)
  379. Youth for Democratization of Myanmar (UDM)
  380. Youth Poet Union
  381. Youths for Community-Myaung
  382. Zomi Christian Fellowship of Norway
  383. Zomi Community Norway
  384. ခုနှစ်စင်ကြယ်အဖွဲ့
  385. စစ်ဘေးရှောင်စခန်းများ စီမံခန့်ခွဲရေးကော်မတီ ပုလောမြို့နယ်
  386. ဆီသို့ – စာစဉ်
  387. တက်ကြွလူငယ် (ထားဝယ်)
  388. တူမီး‌ – တော်လှန်ရေးစာစဉ်
  389. ထားဝယ်ပညာရေးဘုတ်အဖွဲ့
  390. ဒေါနတနင်္သာရီ – စစ်ဘေးရှောင်များ အထောက်အကူပြုရေးအဖွဲ့
  391. နိုင်ငံရေးအကျဥ်းသားများကွန်ရက် (ထားဝယ်)
  392. ပြည်သူမှပြည်သူသို့- ကမ္မ အဖွဲ့
  393. ပွင့်ဖြူလယ်ယာမြေကွန်ရက်
  394. ဗေဒါ လူမှုဖွံဖြိုးရေးအထောက်အကူပြုအဖွဲ့
  395. မျိုးဆက်-Generations
  396. မြစ်ကွေ့ -လူထုတော်လှန်ရေးစာစဉ်
  397. ရင်ခွင်သစ်
  398. သင့်မြတ်ခြင်းနှင့်ငြိမ်းချမ်းသောလမ်းစဥ် အဖွဲ့
  399. သူပုန်ဂေဇက် – The Rebel Gazette

*Additional 239 groups have chosen not to disclose their names.

Additional endorsements

  1. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)
  2. Karen Swedish Community (KSC)
  3. Women’s Peace Network

Burmese version.

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