My beloved Myanmar Community and Chin people in London, the United Kingdom, Mingalarpar to you all. Thank you for inviting me today on the special occasion of the 75th Anniversary of Chin National Day. A day which has everything to do with the 76th anniversary of the signing of the independent agreement known as Panglong agreement which led to the Burma’s independence from Britain. Before British rule in Burma, for centuries the Chin people enjoyed self-administration, self-determination, and political autonomy. We had our own kings and royal family and were never ruled by an outside power.
75 years ago, if the independence agreement based on Federal Democratic values and principles had been implemented, Chinland could have become a flourishing kingdom in Myanmar just as the UK flourishes. It could have been as vibrant and prosperous as Hong Kong or Singapore are today. But 75 years of failure to implement federal democratic principles, has left the Chin kingdom broken and weak; the victim of three quarters of a century of military oppression, and now officially the poorest state in Myanmar where conditions are gradually worsening to those of North Korea. Sadly, we are marking today 75 years of oppression and attacks on our federal democratic values and principles by a brutal repressive dictatorship. Due to the 75 years of oppression by the horrific dictatorship, the Chin people have not only lost their self-determination, self-administration, and political autonomy but have also suffered genocidal attacks from successive brutal dictators. Despite these genocidal attacks, the brave people of Myanmar have never given up on freedom and democracy and their commitment to federal democracy are strong and unshakeable. We are fighting for freedom and democracy here in Asia as the brave people of Ukraine, our brothers and sisters in spirit, are fighting there in Europe. The victory belongs to the brave peoples of Myanmar and Ukraine.
In the last 24 months alone, the genocidal military junta have carried out more than 9,000 attacks on the people of Burma, killed more than 3,000 unarmed civilians, arrested more than 20,000 people including duly elected officials, members of Parliament, President U Win Myint, and State counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and have wilfully destroyed more than 50,000 homes, schools, churches, and monasteries. These horrific atrocities have forced more than 1.6 million into homeless and they are now living as refugees and IDPs. Furthermore, as a result of the military’s cruelty, more than 17 million people across Burma are great in need of humanitarian assistance – compared to less than 1 million in 2020. One in three people are now in acute need of humanitarian aid and half population of Myanmar are forced to live in extreme poverty. The brutal military junta are using disease, hunger, and starvation as weapons.
We, the National Unity Government of Myanmar (NUG) are grateful to the British Parliament and the government of the UK for their constructive engagements and solidarity. The brave people of Myanmar are thankful to the people and the leaders of the UK for your generous response to the humanitarian crisis by providing more than £45 million in aid to Myanmar in 2022/2023. Myanmar is thankful to the UK for leading a strong, coordinated international response to the brutal military coup in Burma through the UK’s G7 Presidency. Myanmar is grateful to the UK for all the efforts you have made to secure the first UN Security Council Resolution on the situation in Myanmar. Myanmar is thankful to the UK for building a global coalition of countries who are committed to preventing the flow of arms to the brutal murderous military in Myanmar. Myanmar is grateful to the UK for securing commitments of the UN General Assembly and UN Human Rights Council, and the coordinated and joint statement of 47 countries specifically regarding arms sales to genocidal military generals in Burma. Myanmar is grateful to the UK for imposing sanctions against the illegitimate military ruling body, the brutal military high command, and key revenue streams for the military including state owned enterprises, military owned companies, conglomerates and key defense sector entities responsible for providing weapons to genocidal military.
But sadly, this is not enough. The genocidal military junta’s network is large and they will continue to find ways to skirt sanctions and restrictions. There are many powerful allies who continue to engage with them and arm the military in order to expand their own spheres of influence and to bring about a new reign of dictatorial oppression and the cheap labour and resources that offers them. The fate of over 54 million people hangs in the balance. If we lose this fight, Myanmar’s people will become slaves in their own towns, villages, and homes. Forced to work to death to line the pockets of cronies and generals as the nation burns around them. The UK must act to help save the people of Myanmar, and keep both the dream of implementation of the independence agreements and the hope of federal democracy alive. To many in our community, the UK represents a hope for peace, freedom, democracy, and a chance to seek a better life, and provide a better life for our children, and our children’s children. Sadly, our people have been beset, for three quarters of a century, by a violent military dictatorship hell-bent on eradicating our people, our language, our culture, our faith, and our way of life. We are eternally grateful to those who have helped us in our time of need, who have harboured and sheltered our refugees and supported the victims of the military’s brutality, but in truth, we do not want to be refugees. We do not want to have to find better lives and opportunities away from our homeland. Our dream is to build a stable and prosperous new Myanmar in which we can live and thrive, where we can know peace and prosperity, and where we can finally live and breathe without fear of violent arbitrary attacks, shelling, arson, rape, and starvation. The military’s barbarism knows no bounds and the more ground they lose in this war, the more savage they become. It is for this reason that we must again turn to the UK and ask her to lend a helping hand in the cause for justice, freedom and humanity.
The UK is one of the West’s leading powers, a strategic ally of the EU, the US, the vital international leader, a leading member of G7, and a permanent member and pen-holder of the UN Security Council. These strategic positions in international leadership and the historical connection between the UK and Burma place the UK in a uniquely privileged position to engage with the Myanmar crisis. This war is not merely a war for the future of Myanmar, it is a test case for the principles of democracy and freedom against the continuation of corruption and military repression in all of South East Asia. There are many actors working to undermine the revolution for fear of what a functioning popular democracy would mean for dictatorships in the region. They are desperate to crush the people’s democratic movement as a warning to all other subjugated and oppressed peoples hoping to throw off the yoke of their own dictatorships. The eyes of the region, and indeed the entire world, are on this conflict, and the outcome will have long reaching ramifications democracy the world over. The UK must engage quickly and decisively with the cause of the people, the cause of freedom and democracy. Dictatorship is a cancer, and the UK stands as one of the few great bastions of democracy holding back the spread of this disease.
We ask the UK to pressure the UN, her strategic partners, and the international community generally, to intervene in the Myanmar crisis, to see the ASEAN 5 point consensus implemented, to see the 10 points of the UK led UN Security Council Resolution on the situations in Myanmar implemented and to act to protect civilian lives . We also ask the UK to apply the principle of universal jurisdiction as enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, to take seriously the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the the military and to actively pursue the guilty parties and attempt to secure justice for their victims through the international mechanisms the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). And most importantly, we ask that the UK formally recognise the NUG, NUCC, and CRPH as lawful and legitimate representatives of Myanmar in conjunction with declaring the military junta, SAC, and so-called “caretaker government” to be unjust, illegitimate, and unlawful, and refusing to engage with them officially.
Many Britons are deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, and have contributed heavily over the decades to helping to improve Myanmar’s development, human rights, and democracy. The UK has a long and vaunted history of foreign aid and advocacy in the cause of human development and political liberation. We all hope and wish fervently that one day Myanmar can know the same peace and prosperity that the UK knows. This is a desire deep within many Britons and we ask the UK to help make this dream a reality.
May God Bless Myanmar!
May God Bless United Kingdom!
Myanmar Spring Revolution will prevail!
Ministry of International Cooperation
National Unity Government
Republic of the Union of Myanmar