My dearest colleagues, compatriots and all the freedom loving people of Myanmar, I want to thank you all for your service in this struggle for freedom and democracy to liberate our home from the tyranny of military authoritarianism. Since February, the military junta has slain over 1000 people with their weapons and machines. They have forced countless of our number to perish over the years from displacement, lack of access to medical care, starvation and thirst. Their hands are dripping with our blood. The junta has arrested thousands, and even as I write, they are torturing, raping and murdering just as many. The cruelty of these terrorists knows no bounds. They commit war crimes and crimes against humanity day and night. We the people, however, in our fight against tyranny must not stoop to their debased level. We cannot allow hate to fill our hearts. We cannot be tempted to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity ourselves. not even to defeat the junta are such actions justified. We are to protect our fellow citizens, fight against the common enemy, and keep our hands clean of innocent blood.
I strongly commend the way in which the Kayah Gen Z treated the captured soldier Thein Zaw. He was not tortured, beaten, not even put in handcuffs. He was not confined indefinitely without trial. He was not brutally murdered as punishment for his crimes. Instead, he was seated and interrogated in a thorough and non-violent manner. Although he was an enemy, he was treated with humanity. This is what truly inspires me with hope that the new Myanmar we are building will not be founded on pent up rage, but on level-headed free-thinking principals, law and order. The conduct of these youths in dealing with the enemy is exemplary, and it would do all of our resistance personal throughout the country well to emulate their strong self control, clear thinking, and their level of magnanimity. As the upholders of democracy, freedom and human rights it is our duty to respect the human rights of everyone – even our brutal enemies.
I would like to remind our brave civilian defenders that the National Unity Government of Myanmar released a code of conduct and rules of engagement some months ago. This document outlines the ethical code our brave front-liners must adhere to, and their duties as the defenders of freedom and democracy. It must be noted that this, along with the Geneva and Hague Conventions, strictly forbids torture, violence against, or murder of innocent civilians. In conflict, civilian casualties are in many cases unpreventable, however violence specifically directed at or targeting innocent civilians is strictly forbidden. Even traitors and spies must be dealt with humanely up through their trial, sentencing, and where lawfully ordered, punishment. We, the people of Myanmar, must be better than they, the terrorist regime, and not give into pent up emotions. The military wants to divide us so they can more easily conquer us, and stir us to fight against each other while they kill our neighbours. We must not, under any circumstances, allow division between our peoples. The actions of an individual or individuals must not be projected upon an entire group, race, or ethnicity and allowed to divide our united movement to free our precious land.
Finally, it is of the utmost importance to remember that in the pursuit of justice, there can be no double standard. When the time comes and victory has been achieved over our common enemy, those guilty of war crimes, from whichever party, will be brought to justice and judged according to the same laws. Let this strengthen your hands, compatriots, and may you fight on in justice for freedom and with respect to the human rights of all.
H.E. Dr. Sasa
Union Minister of Ministry of International Cooperation
Spoke Person of Nation Unity Government
Former Special Envoy to United Nations