The UN General Assembly adopted Myanmar civil society’s recommendations to reject the military junta by refusing to recognize them as a legitimate government. Civil society organizations say it’s an important first step towards justice and accountability.
“We welcome this decision by the UN General Assembly to reject the terrorist military junta and call on all UN agencies, funds and programs to cease all forms of cooperation that lend the junta any legitimacy,” said Khin Ohmar, founder and Chairperson of Progressive Voice, in a statement on Monday.
“UN agencies must end its complicity in emboldening the junta by inviting them to meetings, conferences and other platforms that offer them the opportunity to create a façade of legitimacy,” she said.
On Feb 1 this year, the Myanmar military ousted the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD), arresting its leaders, including prominent democracy voice, Aung San Suu Kyi. Since the coup, at least 1,303 people have been killed related to anti-coup protests, including around 100 children. The junta has also arrested over 10,000 people since the deadly power grab.
In September, 358 Myanmar and international civil society organizations submitted recommendations to urge the UN to ensure Ambassador U Kyaw Moe Tun retains his position as Myanmar’s representative.
The rejection of the junta is significant as there has been disagreement between UN Member States on how to proceed with the junta’s poor human rights record. However, civil society groups say that the rejection is certainly progress.
Myanmar and international groups have long condemned the atrocities coming out of the country, they claim that the junta has committed crimes against humanity with its systematic attacks on its own people. Although they recognize the UN’s decision, they say that the international community must do more to end the Tatmadaw’s impunity and create pathways for justice.
Charles Santiago, chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said in a statement that the decision sent a strong message to ASEAN that it should protect the people of Myanmar.
“Any engagement by ASEAN or any of its members with the military junta undermines its credibility and is an affront to the courageous and continuing calls made by the people of Myanmar to reject the junta,” he said.
“As we saw in a graphic video shared on social media over the weekend of the military deliberately running down peaceful demonstrators, despite the risks, the Myanmar people are literally putting their lives on the line every day to reject the junta, and calling for their voices to be heard.”