Regarding ASEAN’s 5-point Consensus
While we are deeply grateful to ASEAN for all their efforts to help bring this conflict to an end, and we applaud the principles espoused in the five-point consensus, we must note that to be effective, any resolution must contain mechanisms of enforcement, and mechanisms of punishment for those who violate terms. To date, the five-point consensus has not resulted in any effect on the ground, and calls for cease-fires and dialogue, ultimately, serve to provide the military an opportunity to regroup and strike back with renewed force once the negotiations fail or the cease-fire expires. At this point, there can be no compromise with the military, and their history indicates that they would not honor the terms of a compromise even if one were offered. The only discussion we can entertain is discussing when and how the military will stand down and return power. Any other interaction will be a waste of time designed only to win the military sorely needed time, and help legitimize themselves on the world stage. Let us be clear, ASEAN must recognize the NUG as the sole legitimate government of Myanmar. Failing to do so brings tacit legitimacy to the military and serves only to improve the military’s chances of re-establishing a dictatorship. Let me remind everyone, the military are aggressively isolationist and egotistical. They cannot be trusted to honor diplomatic agreements or trade agreements.
A military dictatorship would render Myanmar closed to scrutiny, closed to business, and closed to partnership. I therefore urge the international community not only to deal in words and vague promises, but clear, impactful courses of action which can be enforced and monitored.
Regarding Special envoys
We welcome any envoy, observer, investigator, representative, and rapporteur to Myanmar to witness first hand the horrors the military have wrought upon the people. The NUG has nothing to hide. We know that an impartial examination of all the facts will prove beyond any doubt that the NUG is legitimate, democratically supported, and working for the people, to manifest the will of the people. The military, by contrast, have committed the most egregious crimes against innocent unarmed civilian populations. We thank all the envoys who have been appointed thus far, and invite any future envoys to join them, but we must ask them to act quickly. It is essential that the facts of the military’s reign of terror be made known to the international community. We ask all envoys to come as quickly as possible, collect the relevant information, and to present it to the relevant parties so that the global community can understand the true scale of the crisis and take immediate action to curb the military’s depravity.
Regarding Sanctioning of the military
Sanctions against the military are a vital tool in the fight for freedom. Sanctions have already greatly restricted the military’s ability to operate, to acquire new arms, and to live the lavish lifestyles to which they are accustomed. As a result, it has also sown discord in the upper echelons of the military organization. However, these are not sufficient. The junta are believed to be acquiring new armaments from Russia and China, and continue to draw passive income from their many legitimate and illegitimate businesses both domestically and abroad. This is in addition to their hidden slush funds which they have laundered through 3rd party financial institutions. We call on all nations to sanction the Tatmadaw as an organization, its members individually, all businesses owned by or associated with the military – particularly subsidiaries of MEC and MEHL, and any independent businesses which deal with the above. These sanctions must extend to prohibiting any domestically registered company from dealing with or offering services to any of the aforementioned groups. Given the convoluted and shadowy network of businesses through which the military funnel, launder, and hide their funds, this is a large task, but once their access to funds is cut off, their allies will desert them, they will be unable to operate, and the crisis will end abruptly and without further bloodshed. We therefore beseech all nations without exception to take seriously the mission of sanctioning the military and their allies. This is perhaps the most powerful and yet most peaceful contribution foreign nations can make.
Regarding Repercussions – International Law
The NUG is the first government to recognize the Rome Statute. It is our intention that following the end of the crisis, a full investigation be carried out into the coup and subsequent violence. We invite impartial foreign investigators and observers to gather and present evidence. We will cooperate fully with the ICC and ICJ should cases be brought in either. All citizens, whether pro-military or pro-democracy will be subject to domestic and international law, will be able to air their allegations, and will be subject to prosecution should the evidence against them be sufficient. We will accept the courts’ decisions whatever they may be, and will prosecute wrong doers, on both sides, subject to the respective civil, criminal, and military codes of justice as relevant.
Regarding the ICJ case re: Rohingya
The matter of the 2016-18 crisis in Rakhine state is still before the ICJ. As soon as possible, we will continue with this case so that the ICJ may make its determination. We will respect the court’s verdict, whatever it may be. However, I am not an international lawyer, nor am I familiar with the details of this case. I would not dare to speak for the court before its verdict is handed down, and I would not disrespect the experiences and testimonies of the witnesses by conjecturing here today as to what the court may or may not find.
How will the NUG transition back to stability
Fortunately, the nation already has a functioning government in the form of the NUG. A new constitution has already been drafted which will move Myanmar into a progressive modern liberal democracy. The civil service continues to operate, and we fully expect those civil servants who resigned in disgust or participated in the CDM to return to work and continue the task of running the nation. As far as administration is concerned, we anticipate one of the smoothest transitions in Myanmar’s history. The true challenge will be meeting the acute needs of the people in a country ravaged by war and disease. Due to the devastation brought by the military, our tasks in the short term are clear: We will focus on food aid to the millions facing food shortages, we will return displaced persons to their homes if possible, and elsewhere we will provide temporary shelter while permanent housing is constructed. We will finally implement the COVID-19 vaccine roll out which we had planned before the coup and which we have been working tirelessly to continue even under the current circumstances. The task of rebuilding will be monumental and we will need the help of our international partners to help pick up the pieces and return millions of people to a semblance of normality and stability.
Regarding the PDF
In response to the military’s increasing violence and crackdowns, many civilians began to form resistance groups. These groups sought training and armament from black markets, foreign military personnel, Ethnic Armed Organizations, and the internet. We have already seen in other countries the potential for such groups to take root and become something sinister. Therefore the NUG decided to announce the PDF – a way to bring these groups away from extremism, and push together towards a common goal. As part of the PDF, these groups are given guidance, organization, and purpose. The NUG has published an official code of conduct which all PDF groups are expected to comply with at all times. We have made it clear that even in the fight for freedom and democracy, some lines cannot be crossed.
However, not all resistance groups are part of the PDF. The aforementioned EAO’s are contributing heavily to the fight, and many independent unaffiliated resistance groups still exist. The NUG does not, and realistically cannot, control all resistance groups around the nation. The formation of the PDF was the NUG’s attempt to bring together as many such groups as possible by unifying them under one roof, by giving them recognition, a code to live by, and thus far it has proven very effective. Nevertheless, as a symptom of the military’s continuing repression and violence, resistance groups are cropping up regularly, and waging unconventional warfare. The only way to bring these groups together and ultimately unify them is for the military to relinquish power. So long as the military continue to try to force the Myanmar people into submission, the people will continue to fight back in any way they can. This, unfortunately, does mean that some people may violate the code, and behave criminally. While we have repeatedly committed to carrying out investigations of all criminal behaviour, whether pro-military or pro-democracy, investigations after the fact cannot undo the damage. Therefore once again, the only way forward is for the military to immediately cease all violent operations and stand down. Only then can we begin to unify the civilian paramilitary groups into a proper national army.
Does the NUG support violence?
No. the NUG abhors violence, but the military have taken the choice away from the people. The only remaining options now are to fight back in self defense against a ruthless murderous aggressor, or to let oneself be killed. There is no non-violent option left. It is the fervent wish of all Myanmar people that there would be no more violence in the country, but the military will not relent. Out of fear for their lives, the people must take up arms and defend themselves, their families, and their homes against this monstrous cruelty. As an inevitable result, lives will needlessly be lost. Mistakes will be made. The nation will be deeply scarred by this bloodshed for generations. For this reason, we detest violence. But the military will not stop until every free and proud Myanmar person lies dead. So while we loathe violence, it is no longer our choice to make. Our choice is merely to survive.
Regarding the International Community’s Contributions
The international community should place more and tougher sanctions on the military, their personnel, and their related businesses. Furthermore, governments shall declare unequivocally that the NUG is the sole legitimate government, to deal only through the NUG in matters of diplomacy, trade, investment, and aid, and pressure other nations to do the same. Finally, when the times comes to rebuild the nation, foreign powers can contribute most significantly and impact-fully by assisting the long-suffering people of Myanmar through aid of food, medicine, and shelter which has been robbed from the people by the military. Most importantly, countries should under no circumstances attempt to give aid through the military or any private or government agency under their control. Past experience shows that the military will siphon off all aid for their own benefit, giving nothing to the people who need it most.
Can the NUG defeat the TMT (tatmadaw)?
The question is itself wrong. The NUG is not fighting the TMT, the NUG merely represents the people’s political will. The TMT will be overthrown by the people of Myanmar. All people of all politics and races and religions, unified behind one goal – to overthrow this barbaric dictatorial regime. The people can win, and will win. The people outnumber the military greatly, and every day more and more soldiers and police defect to the pro-democracy movement. The military is already suffering setbacks and will not be able to continue the fight indefinitely. The question, thus, is not whether the people can defeat the military. The question is how long it will take to defeat the military. And that question can only be answered by the international community. The more support and recognition the people of Myanmar receive from the international community, the faster the military can be over-thrown, and the fewer lives will needlessly be lost.
In what way is the NUG representative and legitimate?
The NUG is not only made of elected officials who won the mandate of the people through official and formal elections in the 2020 General Elections, but has now in the midst of the crisis won the heartfelt and unwavering support of the people yet a second time. The NUG cannot exist through legal technicalities, or cling to power by abusing constitutional procedure. As democracy has been damaged, and the institutions of the state taken from the people by force, the NUG can only exist through the overwhelming and resounding support of the people. The NUG did not get where it is through gerrymandering or preference voting and back-room deals. The people put the NUG where it is and only the people keep them there. The NUG is perhaps the most democratic government in the history of Myanmar. A government of the people and for the people. Carried aloft by the people’s wholehearted support. If the people were to turn away from the NUG – we would simply cease to be in a matter of days. We would have no mandate, no power, no functional existence. The NUG’s continued presence is a testament to both the people’s confidence and support for the NUG, and the NUG’s strong commitment to the principles of democracy.
The NUG represents ALL people of Myanmar. All races, all religions, all ages, or lifestyles, all political leanings. Our only political opponents are those who do not support democracy itself. And when the crisis is over, we will show even those people, through our works and our accomplishments that democracy will bring prosperity not only to the nation as a whole, but to all her citizens individually.