The Military Junta Cannot Succeed: Time to Step-Up Support for Myanmar’s Democratic Movement

February 1st, 2023  •  Author:   Special Advisory Council for Myanmar  •  3 minute read
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1 February 2023: Two years after launching the attempted coup, the Myanmar military junta has failed to impose its political agenda on Myanmar. The international community must now step-up support for the federal democracy movement as the only way forward for Myanmar, said the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M).

SAC-M hosted a press conference yesterday, on Tuesday 31 January 2023, to mark the two-year anniversary of the start of the military coup in Myanmar. The members of SAC-M commented on the growing regional crisis caused by the military in Myanmar, as well as recent developments in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and United Nations (UN) relevant to Myanmar.

SAC-M founding member Yanghee Lee spoke about the outright refusal of the Myanmar people to accept the military coup. “The junta cannot succeed,” said Lee. “This time the old playbook wont work – the movement has come too far, and the people have had enough. The only path to peace and stability in Myanmar now, is through finally realising the peoples will and long-held aspirations for a genuine federal democracy.”

SAC-M founding member Marzuki Darusman discussed the challenges facing Indonesia as chair of ASEAN in 2023. “Indonesia will need to push ASEAN to finally come to terms with the reality that the situation in Myanmar is a political conflict between the junta and the democracy movement,” said Darusman. “As ASEAN Chair for one very short year, Indonesia should try to lay down the groundwork for a realistic, sound and durable political solution. It is imperative that Indonesia acknowledges the reality of the NUG and works with it, as a party to the conflict, to find a solution.”

Chris Sidoti, also a founding member of SAC-M, commented on the recent developments in the UN and international system, including the adoption of the Security Council’s first resolution on Myanmar, the continued rejection of the military junta by the General Assembly, and the ongoing investigations at the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court in relation to the Rohingya genocide. However, Sidoti explained, these steps have all been inadequate.

We, the international system, are challenged, as we go into the third year of this attempted coup. We are challenged to respond far more adequately, far more effectively and far more actively than we have done in the past,” said Sidoti.

All three members of SAC-M dismissed the junta’s stated plan to hold elections in 2023 as yet another attempt to gain power that fails to comply even with the military’s own constitution. “The international community must recognise that whatever the military in Myanmar is doing right now has no constitutional basis,” said Lee.

However, the members of SAC-M concurred that a non-violent solution to the conflict must be found, but that the nature of that solution is not yet clear, and with Min Aung Hlaing leading the military, appears unlikely.

As the coup, and the terrible toll it is taking on the people of Myanmar, enters its third year, SAC-M calls on the international community to close in on accountability by establishing an ad hoc tribunal for Myanmar, and to finally step up, and recognise Myanmar’s National Unity Government.


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