01 February 2023
Today marks the second anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar that took place on 1 February 2021. The Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) continues to stand in unwavering solidarity with the people of Myanmar who have suffered greatly under the brutal regime and condemns the junta’s plan for a sham election.
We remember those who have lost their lives or freedoms in pursuit of democracy. We continue to vehemently condemn the military junta’s flagrant violations of human rights, including the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters, the arbitrary imprisonment of political leaders, activists, government officials and journalists, the infringement of fundamental freedoms, and the atrocities committed against civilians.
As the junta plans to hold a sham election this year to legitimize its rule, we categorically denounce this so-called election as illegal and illegitimate. Genuine, free, and fair democratic elections cannot take place in Myanmar unless fundamental human rights and freedoms are upheld, which is currently not the case in Myanmar. The junta holds no legitimate position nor rightful authority to conduct any elections, and any outcome from such an exercise will not represent the will of the people.
The new Political Parties Registration Law introduced by the junta in late January makes it virtually impossible for most parties to stand any chance in the sham election. All parties must re-register within two months or face immediate dissolution, and those intending to contest nationwide must recruit 100,000 members within 90 days, establish offices in at least half of the country’s 330 townships and be able to contest in half of all constituencies. It is now even more evident that the draconian conditions eliminate all chances of a democratic election.
The international community must acknowledge that any election held by the junta is nothing but a sham, and will be illegitimate and invalid. It is imperative that the international community takes further measures to restore democracy in Myanmar if no positive progress is achieved. The plight of the people in Myanmar demands the collective efforts of the international community, including ASEAN and its new chair Indonesia, to guarantee that they are able to enjoy their democratic rights and liberties without fear of repression.
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