Myanmar: UN ambassador speaks out against military junta

Myanmar’s ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun called on the international community at the UN General Assembly to put an end to the takeover of power by the military junta in his country. He represents the democratically elected civil government in the country, the diplomat said at a meeting of the body in New York. “We need the strongest possible action by the international community to end the military coup, to stop the oppression of innocent people, to give power back to the people and to restore democracy.”

Tun appealed to the UN member states not to recognize the military government and not to cooperate with it. The states must ask the military junta to respect the result of the parliamentary elections last year, continued Tun. “Stronger” measures are also needed to end the violent repression of the security forces in Myanmar against peaceful demonstrators.

At the end of his ten-minute speech, he used three fingers to form a greeting that is also used by the demonstrators in Myanmar. Many other participants in the meeting applauded afterwards. The United States ambassador to the United States, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, described the speech as “brave”.

The greeting was also shared on Twitter and Kyaw Moe Tun’s speech was praised, for example by former United States Ambassador to the United States, Samantha Power.

The UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, had previously condemned the actions of the security forces in Myanmar and described the use of lethal force against demonstrators as “unacceptable”. “There is no justification for the action of the military and we must continue to call for an end to this inadmissible situation by using all collective and bilateral channels to restore Myanmar’s path to democracy.”

Schraner Burgener criticized that she had been prevented by the military junta from visiting Myanmar. It appears that the military wants to continue “large-scale arrests” at demonstrations. “This is cruel and inhuman,” said Schraner Burgener. To an escalation of the “military brutality” there must be a “quick and collective” reaction of the world community.

Election result in Myanmar declared invalid

At the beginning of February the military in Myanmar had put up a coup against Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi. The 75-year-old won the parliamentary elections in November by a clear margin. Mass protests in Myanmar had occurred repeatedly since the coup. The demonstrators are demanding the release of the appointed head of government and the reinstatement of her civilian government. The military has recently cracked down on the resistance movement with increasing severity.

The new head of the electoral commission in Myanmar, appointed by the military junta, has declared the result of the general election in November to be invalid. Thein Soe announced the decision on Friday at a meeting with political parties in the Southeast Asian country, reported the newspaper “The Irrawaddy”. The move by the electoral commission re-fueled the protests in former Burma.

The security forces, meanwhile, are using increasing violence against peaceful demonstrators. In the largest city of Yangon, police fired shots and arrested participants at several locations where rallies against the junta were taking place, eyewitnesses reported on social networks. The news portal “Frontier Myanmar” spoke of “the most brutal crackdown” of the protests in Rangoon since the coup on February 1. In the northern city of Mandalay, officials tried to use live ammunition and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators. Many participants were also reportedly detained there.

In the past few weeks, at least three people had been shot by emergency services. The military, which had been in power in the former Burma for almost 50 years, had already suppressed any resistance in the past. The generals have so far been unimpressed by the sanctions that the United States and Great Britain, among others, had recently launched.

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