The brave people of Myanmar and the National Unity Government of Myanmar greatly appreciate the People, Parliament and Government of the United Kingdom for standing with us at this critical moment in our history. While the fate of our country is in the hands of our people, strong and continued support from the UK Government and the international community is absolutely crucial to our success. Now, more than ever, the people of Myanmar need your continued friendship and support.
First of all, I would like to reiterate my sincere thanks to the People, Parliament and Government of the United Kingdom for standing in solidarity and being a strong voice for the people of Myanmar. I also want to express my gratitude for the efforts of the UK on coordinating targeted sanctions against key tatmadaw personnel, tatmadaw linked companies and enterprises such as MEC and MEHL, and for providing extra funding to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar. Additionally, I would like to further thank the UK government for taking a strong leadership role in the UN and G7 summits on behalf of the people of Myanmar, and for the recognition of CRPH and NUG as important voices of many in this nation. Truly we are the voice of over 54 million brave people who stand in solidarity against the cruel and ruthless junta. Thank you also for lending protection and support to Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn since he was illegally removed from office by the junta.
I previously had the wonderful privilege of meeting with Minister H.E. Nigel Adams and other British Parliamentarians who reassured me that the People and Government of the UK are strongly committed and supportive of the brave people of Myanmar in our peaceful movement for freedom and democracy against the junta reign of terror. I am also looking forward very much to appearing before the British Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee on the Myanmar military coup hearing.
I am proud to serve as the Minister of International Cooperation and Spokesperson for the National Unity Government. It is my job to provide you with the information and assistance that you need to support the people of Myanmar. I am always at your service.
The duty of a nation’s military is to defend and protect its people. However, under the command of Min Aung Hlaing, the supposed guardians of our nation are doing precisely the opposite of their duty and continue arbitrarily murdering and detaining without cause the brave and innocent civilians of Myanmar on a daily and hourly basis. The people of Myanmar unanimously consider Min Aung Hlaing and those who report to him as terrorists. It has been 102 days since Min Aung Hlaing and his gunmen instigated this illegal coup d’état and took the nation hostage.
Since that day:
- More than 785 civilians have been murdered, including at least 52 children;
- Approximately 5,000 civilians have been detained with roughly 4,000 still remaining in detention;
- Over 1,500 are being hunted by junta forces, evading arrest warrants.
- Continually bombing villages in ethnic States;
- The junta continues using the ASEAN Summit as a propaganda tool;
- I myself am personally wanted for high treason, as are my colleagues;
- Daily raids on private homes continue unabated. In a raid last week of the home of an opposition leader, for example, authorities abducted his wife and 20 day old infant when they could not find him.
- There is significant evidence of the torture of those captured, including the poet Khat Thi who was detained last week and murdered within 24 hours.
- They continue to try and stop the truth from getting out:
- They have shutdown Internet access for weeks now,
- Abolished all free media outlets,
- illegitimately made free association illegal, and
- they have harassed and imprisoned journalists. More than 40 journalists remain in detention in Myanmar including an international Journalist from Japan.
- The violence we are seeing by the junta is both systematic and widespread. It is clear that they are engaging in crimes against humanity against the people of Myanmar.
- Myanmar is quickly becoming a failed state:
- Nearly a quarter million people have become displaced.
- Food insecurity is rising sharply.
- The UNDP is predicting that half of Myanmar’s 54 million people will be living in poverty within a year.
- The WFP analysis has shown that more than 3 million people in Myanmar are going to hunger in coming months.
The violence caused by the junta, is both systematic, widespread, and their intimidation tactics are crossing the borders into neighboring countries. Every day their forces are engaging in crimes against humanity. These crimes must be stopped and illegal detention of political prisoners must end immediately and unconditionally cease. We, the brave people of Myanmar, are doing all that we can to resist the juntas efforts to take away our freedom and democracy with their blood-stained battlefield weapons. The peaceful Civil Disobedience Movements (CDM) led by brave doctors, nurses, health workers, school teachers, educators, students, activists, and concerned citizens have been joined by hundreds of thousands of civil servants and private sector workers. Make no mistake – this is the most powerful peaceful movement ever to rise against a junta-sponsored reign of terror, and this peaceful movement is much more powerful than even the most cruel acts of terrorism the junta can connive. In the last 3 months, the peaceful CDM movement has been joined by millions of brave citizens marching across the country for their freedom and justice. Day after day the brave people of Myanmar continue to demonstrate enormous courage and bravery in the face of the most oppressive and repressive military dictators in the world. These brave CDM participants are not only now the heroes of peace, but this movement has even been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This peaceful movement deserves not only the Nobel Peace prize, but also the full support of the international community, and we request the support of the Uk Government and International Communities to continue this peaceful CDM movement which is much more powerful than the junta’s myriad acts of terrorism. These national heroes of peace must stay safe, healthy, and properly sheltered. We have identified some key points with which the United Kingdom and the international community can assist our brave people in their struggle for freedom and federal democracy:
1. Food Security
We urgently appeal to the United Kingdom and the International Communities for support to help provide food to the brave CDM participants across the country. Food supplies may be brought across the border from partners and donors in neighboring countries and distributed equally according to greatest necessity, and funds may be given to local coordinators to purchase food in hard to access areas. Each state, region, village, township and city has its own coordination team comprised of local CBOs, CSOs, and NGOs. Our heroes and the heroes of peace must not suffer hunger or thirst!
We appeal to the United Kingdom and the International Communities for support to help with medical supplies and medicines, including Covid-19 vaccination options. In addition, funds must be provided for CDM participants including doctors, nurses, midwives, and emergency medical personnel to continue providing basic healthcare services to the brave people of Myanmar. Each state, region, village, township and city has its own coordination team comprised of medical and emergency personnel who can immediately make use of any provided resources. Our national heroes, and the heroes of peace must stay healthy!
We appeal to the United Kingdom and the International Communities for support to help with educational supplies and materials to continue providing in-person and online digital education to the brave students of Myanmar. This peaceful movement against the terrorist regime is largely composed of the brave students of Myanmar, and these students deserve scholarships and support from the international community. Each state, region, village, township and city has its own coordination team comprised of teachers, tutors, and student leaders, and they will be linked together to provide a vast and efficient network across the nation. Our heroes must continue educating our brave students!
We appeal to the United Kingdom and the International Communities for support to help provide shelter and accommodation to CDM participants across the nation who have been forced out of their homes and have been subjected to torture and cruel deaths. If we provide a safe place for these brave CDM participants, many men and women currently serving under the terrorist tatmadaw will defect and join the correct side of history. Each state, region, village, township and city has its own coordination team, and will be linked together so that the displaced CDM participants, IDPs, and refugees can have safe places to stay until the end of this cruel reign of terror. We request the International Communities, especially our neighboring countries, to open their borders for humanitarian assistance and the unobstructed passage of relief supplies. Our national heroes and the heroes of peace must have shelter! We must leave no one behind.
In addition to the above four areas of urgently needed support, we have three core requests to present to the International Communities:
- Engage with the National Unity Government as the sole legitimate representative of the people of Myanmar. We are comprised of leaders elected in Myanmar’s democratic November elections as well as leaders of ethnic states and regions. The people of Myanmar broadly recognize us as the sole legitimate government and our hope is that you will also work with us as the sole legitimate government of Myanmar as well.
- Help us address a growing humanitarian crisis. We need aid. The National Unity Government knows how to get aid to where it needs to go, be it funding to striking workers to meet their basic needs, or cross border aid in concert with civil society organizations, local NGOs, INGOs, International and UN agencies.
- Help us put more financial pressure on the junta. Ideally, this would come through coordinated international action following passage of a strong resolution by the UNSC. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen, so it is critical for the nations of the world who stand with us to band together in a coordinated campaign of further sanctions that would cut the flow of revenue and weapons sales to this murderous regime.
The Civil Disobedience Movement has established strong citizen initiated sanctions on the junta through strikes and other acts of civil disobedience. We are boycotting junta produced goods and a large percentage of civil servants are refusing to support the junta’s work. The sanctions that have been imposed to date have been a helpful start to supporting our domestic efforts. A junta lobbyist recently told a New York Times reporter that revenue was particularly important for the junta as they “don’t have many revenue streams right now.”
While the brutal crackdown by the junta and its forces continue, opposition to the junta remains strong and unanimous among the people. However, greater help and support from the UK and the international community is vitally needed.
By far the largest source of revenue to the junta, the oil and gas sector remains unscathed by the international community. Coordinated and targeted sanctions would provide a measure of assurance to members of this energy consortium. With sanctions, they would have a clear legal obligation to stop the flow of this revenue to the junta.
So, I am asking the United Kingdom and the International communities to place sanctions against Myanmar Oil and Gas and all state-owned enterprises as quickly as possible. We must not continue to allow this illegal junta to gain access to or spend the wealth of the people of Myanmar. I am also seeking your support for an international arms embargo, including the transfer of dual use technology and also to impose a strict “no fly zone” above the territory of Myanmar by whatever means necessary.
Stronger and tougher sanctions on the junta are critically vital to prevent another great civil war and another genocide in Myanmar. These sanctions will generate the necessary blows needed to cripple the junta and end their cruel regime.
Our National Unity Government is ready, willing and able to help in this coordinated effort. We have begun by forming a truly united front that recognizes the strength of our nation’s diversity. Our President H.E. Duwa Lashi La is a revered Kachin leader; our Prime Minister Mahn Winn Khaing Thann is also a revered Karen leader. Our Union Minister of the ministry of Women, Youths, and Children’s Affairs H.E. Naw Susanna Hla Hla Soe is a Karen woman’s leader, and the Minister of the Ministry of Human Rights H.E. Aung Myo Min is an outstanding leader and advocate for Myanmar’s LGBT community. I myself am of the Chin ethnicity.
As we fill out the National Unity Government of Myanmar and prioritize, we will be addressing a range of important issues faced by our nation, including protecting, promoting and respecting the rights, dignity and quality of life of our many ethnic communities, which also fully includes the brave Rohingya people as well. We will be discussing and announcing the positions of our National Unity Government in the coming days and weeks, and I can tell you today that I am proud to call the Rohingya my brothers and sisters and fellow citizens. We look forward to working hand in hand with all ethnicities to build a new future, and a new Myanmar where the rights of all will be protected and respected, regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, gender, and religion.
I am very proud of our many young people who are on the front lines of the movement to liberate our nation from a brutal military junta. Many of them have publicly expressed their regret for not standing up and speaking out for ethnic minorities, including the Rohingya when they were being attacked by the junta in years gone by. Their commitment to the human rights of ALL and their courageous fight for freedom is why I have great optimism for the future of our country.
Mark my words: we, the opposition, will win in our struggle to liberate Myanmar from these terrorist forces, and on the other end of this fight we will emerge an inclusive Myanmar that is committed to democracy, human rights, and to being a responsible partner in the global community. With your help, our vision and our dream will become a powerful reality and create a glorious future for generations of Myanmar people to come.