Media Statement

01 February 2024

For inquiries: Contacts: Gani: 09083241195; Benjamin Alvero: 0936 9531358

We, the undersigned members of various civil society, activist and solidarity organizations including members of Burma Solidarity Philippines (BSP) coalition, Nagkaisa! Labor Coalition, Milk Tea Alliance,  Akbayan Youth, Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), and the Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) today, in commemoration of the 3rd year anniversary of the attempted military coup in Myanmar, extend our heartfelt solidarity to the peoples of Myanmar in their continuing quest for genuine democracy, peace and social justice. 

Massive violations of human rights amounting to crimes against humanity that include indiscriminate use of brute military force against civilians and activists, arrests and torture of political prisoners, rape of women, violation of trade union rights and forced labour, attacks against ethnic nationalities, gender-based violence, and continued persecution of the Rohingya people are still happening as you read this statement in Myanmar since the February 1, 2021 attempted military coup, when democratically elected members of the country’s ruling party, were illegally deposed by the junta. 

Today, we call on all human rights, peace and democracy movements around the globe to further strengthen our solidarity to help quickly topple the military junta in Myanmar led by coup leader Min Aung Hlaing. Myanmar’s military junta should no longer be given another year, nay, another day to stay in power. The junta must fall now! We pledge our support and solidarity to the courageous resistance movement in Myanmar to once and for all put an end to this decades-old barbaric military rule. 

The overall human rights situation in Myanmar has significantly deteriorated since the February 1 failed coup. The continued dismantling of democracy in Myanmar will not happen if those who should do something will take appropriate action. By not doing any tangible steps on the political crisis in Myanmar, member states of ASEAN for example, are not only helping, but complicit in  furthering the injustice and casual disregard of the human rights of the peoples of Myanmar. 

ASEAN and the UN too, must know, based on historical engagement with the junta since 1962, that there is no way that Senior General Min Aung Hlaing with his gang of military murderers represent the interests of the peoples of Myanmar. Ending the violence in Myanmar must start with denying the junta the recognition it craves. Allowing the junta to be in power for another day is to lend legitimacy to the junta’s illegal power grab while neglecting the results of the 2020 elections which reflect the true will and desire of the peoples of Myanmar for a genuine democratic society. 

We reject the ASEAN’s 5-point consensus on Myanmar, as this piece of document has miserably failed to bring back democracy in Myanmar. Worse, the junta simply used the 5-point consensus to shield itself from international criticism while practically ignoring all of its provisions. Now is the time for the ASEAN to act decisively against the junta to de-escalate the worsening political crisis, restore civilian rule and democracy in the said country.  

It has become more apparent now that ASEAN can no longer hide behind its policy of non-interference and must act decisively to ensure that the junta ends the violence, and return the state power to the democratically elected civilian government.

Instead of continuously hoping for ASEAN’s 5-Point Consensus on Myanmar to bring tangible change,  we urge the ASEAN to formally recognize Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) composed of the democratically-elected representatives and signify outright rejection of the State Administration Council (SAC) chaired and formed by Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. The SAC is accountable for committing serious human rights violations since the coup. 

Caught in the middle of this continuing political crisis are the ethnic populations in Myanmar, particularly those in Arakan, Kachin and Northern Shan states. Since 2017, the Rohingya have been subjected to genocidal crimes with the brutal Myanmar military junta imposing stricter measures that aggravate the already dismal condition of the remaining 600,000 Rohingya in Arakan State. 

We believe that the longstanding persecution of the Rohingya and the collective failure of the international community to exact accountability from the military generals of Myanmar for its crimes against humanity committed against ethnic populations have further emboldened the junta  to grab power in 2021.   

We reassert our belief that we must address the root causes of the issue and bring into focus the structural-legal discrimination against the Rohingya people. We must also situate the continuous violence and abuses within the recent overall and long-standing patterns of human rights violations against ethnic peoples  by the Burma/Myanmar military in other conflict areas in Myanmar that includes – but not limited to – northern Shan and Kachin States.

We also support the call of all ethnic nationalities in Myanmar for their right to self-determination and governance. We believe that at present, a negotiated political settlement with the junta is not possible within the framework of its Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement described as a sham by the international community for the lack of inclusivity and rules controlled mainly by the military junta. 

We call on fellow civil society groups and solidarity movements to support a youth-led but intergenerational Myanmar people’s movement toward lasting peace and federal democracy. International support for peace and federal democracy in Myanmar must correspond with the demands of Myanmar peoples. 

Silence in the face of injustices in Myanmar is complicity with its military oppressors. With utmost urgency, we urge all ASEAN and UN member states to apply more pressure and take definite action against the military junta, especially now that all legal remedies and democratic avenues have been compromised and restricted by the junta. 

Today, in the spirit of solidarity, we issue the following calls:  

  1. For ASEAN and other UN member states to stop legitimizing the so-called State Administration Council (SAC) of the military junta and categorically reject any tool of the junta, such as sham elections, to secure an exit plan while justifying continued military rule. Officially recognize and engage with Myanmar’s democratically-elected National Unity Government (NUG);
  2. For ASEAN and UN agencies to help ensure safe and full access of conflict-affected populations to humanitarian aid and healthcare through NUGs, Ethnic Resistance Organizations (EROs), and community-based humanitarian organizations both inside Myanmar and along Myanmar’s borders. No genuine humanitarian efforts should go through the Myanmar military; 
  3. Stop all forms of gender-based violence and the use of rape as a weapon of war;
  4. Immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners in Myanmar;
  5. International community to support Myanmar collective vision toward a genuine federal democracy and lasting peace. Stop all state-led solutions, such as negotiations of settlements and exit plans with the military junta, that do not correspond with the calls of Myanmar peoples;
  6. Support the International Labour Organization’s Commission on Inquiry (ILO-COI) on Myanmar’s continued violations of freedom of association and forced labor conventions and to cease all forms of violence, torture and other inhumane treatment against trade unionists;
  7. For all member-states of ASEAN to abide by the principle of non-refoulement guarantees, under International Human Rights Law to provide full protection to refugees and asylum seekers including the Rohingya and other ethnic nationalities in Myanmar.   

Lastly, we urge the Philippine representative to the ASEAN to support and echo the demands of various solidarity groups calling for the peaceful turnover of state power to the democratically-elected government of Myanmar and for the return of democracy, peace, and social justice in the said country. 

The rest of the international community must act fast because we cannot afford to commemorate another year of military coup in Myanmar. Today, we pledge our unrelenting commitment to stand in solidarity with the peoples of Myanmar for a just peace, restoration of democracy, and human rights. ###