Civil Society organizations reject UN Special Envoy’s proposal of “power sharing”

Raise alarm at her misinterpretation that the “military are in control”

247 civil society organizations reject UN Special Envoy, Dr Noeleen Heyzer’s, proposal that those defying the military must negotiate a power sharing as a solution to the current political, human rights and humanitarian crisis created by the terrorist military junta.

In an interview with Channel News Asia, the Special Envoy discusses finding “commonalities”, a political transformation requiring process and a “need to negotiate what this power sharing could look like”. Her comments have been met with strong reactions.

We further raise alarm at the comments she made during her interview in which she claims that “The military is in control at this particular time”.

These statements could set a dangerous precedent, that those who take control through brutal means – massacring, killing, raping, arresting, torturing, burning villages and people, targeting civilians using airstrikes and shelling – be welcomed to share power. Such suggestions send a signal to the military that the UN is willing to act as a broker for their power despite the grave crimes they have committed, and further embolden them to commit atrocities with total impunity.

The youth who are continuing to call for an end to the military’s terror are not being unrealistic in their efforts to see their human rights and fundamental freedoms protected. Their calls reflect the principles laid out in the UN Charter and deserve the full support and respect of UN mandate holders.

In addition, it is not required of revolutionary movements to end in a power sharing agreement with those that have committed genocide and continue to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity. History has shown us that coups around the world have failed, and revolutions have succeeded. Those who have committed grave international crimes must be held accountable, not offered more power, a seat at the table and legitimacy by the international community. This will only embolden them to continue to commit grave crimes with total impunity.

It has been over a decade since the military initiated their political process of power sharing. This consisted of unelected military officials holding 25% of the seats in parliament and control over key ministries that were integral to the governance of Myanmar, under a military-drafted 2008 Constitution that undemocratically ensured their place in the corridors of power.

They stole the wealth of the people of Myanmar for decades during the military dictatorship and throughout the military orchestrated political process of the past decade. They exploited natural resources, while continuing to commit war crimes against people who live in resource-rich ethnic areas.

For over 70 years the military has waged a fierce war against ethnic peoples, committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. While sharing limited power with the National League for Democracy, they committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against ethnic people and genocide against the Rohingya.

The Special Envoy should advise the UN Security Council to immediately refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court so that these grave crimes committed by the Myanmar military can be investigated and prosecuted. Offering them a seat at the negotiating table is not in accordance with the “will and interests of the people of Myanmar” as adopted in resolutions at the UN General Assembly.

The Special Envoy’s misinterpretation that “the military is in control” could not be farther from the truth. Over the past year, Myanmar people’s revolutionary movement has successfully prevented the military from grabbing power over the country, despite all its brutal efforts. The military are, however, conducting fierce airstrikes in ethnic areas where they are losing territorial control; shooting and shelling people forcing them to flee across the border into neighboring countries, threatening international peace and security; burning bodies including children and staff of international organizations in an attempt to instill terror. These are not acts of a military who are in control.

International experts on Myanmar have previously stated in response to UN officials inaccurately suggesting that military has “taken over” or that it has an “iron grip on power”, that “Misinterpretation leads to misrepresentation, misrepresentation leads to misunderstanding, and misunderstanding leads to mistakes”. We could not agree more.

Such mistakes have been a persistent problem for the UN in Myanmar as outlined in the Rosenthal report, which found that systemic and structural failures rendered the UN impotent in the face of the Rohingya genocide. The UN must not make the same mistakes, and once again, fail the people of Myanmar.

If the Special Envoy is genuinely committed to a “Myanmar-led process” and engaging “directly with and listen carefully to all those affected by the ongoing crisis”, she must understand the root causes of the current crisis and genuinely listen to the calls of the people of Myanmar. Their calls have been clear. The military must never rule.

The UN Special Envoy and other mandate holders, as well as UN agencies, funds programs and entities, must support the calls of the people of Myanmar and their efforts towards a future federal democratic Myanmar. They must respect their will and work to ensure that the military is never again allowed to have power.

For further information, please contact:

Signed by Myanmar CSOs and Supported by Regional and International CSOs:

    1. Action Committee for Democracy Development
    2. Ah Nah Podcast – Conversation with Myanmar
    3. Albany Karen community, Albany, NY
    4. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
    5. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)
    6. ALTSEAN-Burma
    7. American Rohingya Advocacy/ Arakan Institute for Peace and Development
    8. Arizona Kachin Community
    9. Asia Democracy Network
    10. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition
    11. Asian Dignity Initiative
    12. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
    13. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
    14. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
    15. Blood Money Campaign
    16. Boat People SOS
    17. Burma Action Ireland
    18. Burma Campaign UK
    19. Burma Canadian Association Ontario (BCAO)
    20. Burma Human Rights Network
    21. Burma Task Force
    22. Burmese American Community Institute (BACI), IN
    23. Burmese American Millennials
    24. Burmese Democratic Forces
    25. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
    26. Burmese Women’s Union
    27. C&D Corporation
    28. Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)
    29. California Kachin Community
    30. Cambodian Americans and Friends for Democracy and Human Rights Advocates
    31. Campaign for a New Myanmar
    32. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
    33. Chin Leaders of Tomorrow (CLT)
    34. CIVICIS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
    35. Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA)
    36. Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam
    37. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland
    38. CRPH Funding Ireland
    39. Dallas Kachin Community
    40. DEEKU, the Karenni Community of TX
    41. Democracy for Ethnic Minorities Organization
    42. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization -DPW
    43. Dhanu Women Organization
    44. Dhanu Youth Organization
    45. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization
    46. Educational Initiatives Myanmar (Czech Republic)
    47. Equality Myanmar
    48. European Karen Network
    49. European Rohingya Council
    50. Federal FM Mandalay
    51. Florida Kachin Community
    52. Foundation of Khmer Samaki (FKSamaki)
    53. Free Burma Action Bay/USA/Global
    54. Free Myanmar Campaign USA
    55. Freedom for Burma
    56. Freedom, Justice, Equality for Myanmar
    57. Future Light Center
    58. Future Light Women and Child Protection Organization
    59. Future Thanlwin
    60. Generation Wave
    61. Georgia Kachin Community
    62. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
    63. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution (GMSR)
    64. Global Neighbors Canada
    65. Global Neighbors Thailand Foundation
    66. Houston Kachin Community
    67. Human Rights Action Center
    68. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
    69. Info Birmanie
    70. Initiatives for International Dialogue
    71. Institute for Asian Democracy
    72. Inter Pares
    73. International Campaign for the Rohingya
    74. International Karen Organisation
    75. Iowa Kachin Community
    76. Justice for Myanmar
    77. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)
    78. Kachin Community of Indiana
    79. Kachin Community of USA
    80. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
    81. Kansas Karenni Community, KS
    82. Karen American Association of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
    83. Karen Association of Huron, SD
    84. Karen Community Association UK
    85. Karen Community in Syracuse, NY
    86. Karen Community in the Netherlands (KCNL)
    87. Karen Community of Akron, OH
    88. Karen Community of Canada (KCC)
    89. Karen Community of Czech Republic
    90. Karen Community of Finland
    91. Karen Community of Hamilton
    92. Karen Community of Iowa, IA
    93. Karen Community of Ireland
    94. Karen Community of Israel
    95. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO
    96. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo
    97. Karen Community of Leamington K
    98. Karen Community of Lethbridge
    99. Karen Community of London
    100. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN
    101. Karen Community of North Carolina, NC
    102. Karen Community of Ottawa
    103. Karen Community of Regina
    104. Karen Community of Rochester, Rochester, NY
    105. Karen Community of Saskatoon
    106. Karen Community of Thunderbay
    107. Karen Community of Toronto
    108. Karen Community of Windsor
    109. Karen Community of Winnipeg
    110. Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)
    111. Karen Environmental and Social Action Network
    112. Karen Finland Culture Association
    113. Karen Human Rights Group
    114. Karen Organization of America
    115. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL
    116. Karen Peace Support Network
    117. Karen Rivers Watch
    118. Karen Swedish Community (KSC)
    119. Karen Thai Group
    120. Karen Women’s Organization
    121. Karen Youth Education Pathways
    122. Karen Youth Networks
    123. Karen Youth of Norway
    124. Karen Youth of Toronto
    125. Karen Youth Organization
    126. Karen Youth UK (KYUK)
    127. Karenni Baptist Convention of America
    128. Karenni Civil Society Network
    129. Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX
    130. Karenni Community of Arizona
    131. Karenni Community of Arkansas,
    132. Karenni Community of Austin, TX
    133. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY
    134. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY
    135. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL
    136. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO
    137. Karenni Community of Connecticut, CT
    138. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX
    139. Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA
    140. Karenni Community of Florida, FL
    141. Karenni Community of Fort Wayne, IN
    142. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX
    143. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA
    144. Karenni Community of Grand Rapid, MI
    145. Karenni Community of Houston, TX
    146. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID
    147. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN
    148. Karenni Community of Lansing, MI
    149. Karenni Community of Lousiville, KY
    150. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA
    151. Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN
    152. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO
    153. Karenni Community of New Jersey, NJ
    154. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC
    155. Karenni Community of Portland, OR
    156. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL
    157. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX
    158. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD
    159. Karenni Community of Utah, UT
    160. Karenni Community of Utica, NY
    161. Karenni Community of Washington, WA
    162. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI
    163. Karenni Federation of Australia
    164. Karenni National Women’s Organization
    165. Karenni Society of Canada
    166. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE
    167. Karenni Talkshow-KTS, USA
    168. Karenni Youth of Minnesota, MN
    169. Karenni-American Association
    170. Karenni-American Catholic Association
    171. Kayahlilaykloe, Austin, MN
    172. Kayahliphu Youth – KLY
    173. Kayaw Women Association
    174. Keng Tung Youth
    175. Kentucky Kachin Community
    176. KnA-Kay Phoe Du prgm
    177. Korea Karen Organization
    178. Korea Karen Youth Organization
    179. Kyaukpadaung Youth Network
    180. Kyaukse University Interim Administrative Council
    181. Kyaukse University Students’ Union
    182. LA Rohingya Association/America Rohingya Justice Network
    183. Let’s Help Each Other
    184. Los Angeles Myanmar Movement
    185. Louisiana Kachin Community
    186. Mandalay Regional Youth Association
    187. Mandalay Regional Youth Network
    188. Maramagri Youth Network
    189. Maryland Kachin Community
    190. MeBoun Foundation
    191. Metta Campaign Mandalay
    192. Michigan Kachin Community
    193. Milk Tea Alliance
    194. Minnesota Kachin Community
    195. My STORY photo project Association
    196. Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP)
    197. Myanmar Advocacy Coalition
    198. Myanmar Community Austria
    199. Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)
    200. Myanmar Family Community Ireland
    201. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
    202. Myanmar Student Association Ontario (MSAO)
    203. Nationalities Alliance of Burma USA
    204. Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma)
    205. New York Kachin Community
    206. No Business With Genocide
    207. North Carolina Kachin Community
    208. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
    209. Olive Organization
    210. Omaha Kachin Community
    211. Oversea Karen Organization Japan
    212. Pa-O Women’s Union
    213. Pennsylvania Kachin Community
    214. Progressive Voice
    215. Rochester Karenni Community, NY
    216. Rohingya Action Ireland
    217. Sandhi Governance Institute
    218. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas
    219. SEA Junction
    220. Shan MATA
    221. Sisters2Sisters
    222. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
    223. South Carolina Kachin Community
    224. Southern Youth Development Organization
    225. Stefanus Alliance International
    226. Students for Free Burma
    227. Support the Democracy Movement in Burma
    228. Swedish Burma Committee
    229. Synergy – Social Harmony Organization
    230. Ta’ang Women’s Organization
    231. Ta’ang Legal Aid
    232. Tanintharyi MATA
    233. Taunggyi Youth Center
    234. Tennessee Kachin Community
    235. The Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
    236. U.S. Campaign for Burma
    237. Union of Karenni State Youth
    238. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
    239. United States Chin Coalition (USCC)
    240. Virginia Kachin Community
    241. Washington Kachin Community
    242. West Virginia Kachin Community
    243. Women Activists Myanmar
    244. Women Advocacy Coalition Myanmar (WAC-M)
    245. Women’s League of Burma
    246. Women’s Peace Network
    247. West Coast Burmese Coalition (WCBC):***We have received overwhelming support for the statement. Below are list of additional organizations that have signed-on to the statement after its release
      1. Action Against Myanmar Military Coup (Sydney)
      2. All Burma Student Democratic Front – Australia Branch
      3. All Young Burmese League (AYBL)
      4. Anti-Myanmar Dictatorship Movement
      5. Anti-Myanmar Military Dictatorship Network (AMMDN)
      6. Australia Burma Friendship Association, Northern Territory
      7. Australia Karen Organization WA Inc.
      8. Australia Myanmar DNF
      9. Australia Myanmar Youth Alliance (AMYA)
      10. Australian Burmese Muslim Organisation
      11. Australian Chin Community (Eastern Melbourne Inc)
      12. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO)
      13. Australian Karen Organisation (AKO) Queensland
      14. Bamar Community Tasmania
      15. Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC)
      16. Burmese Community
      17. Burmese Community Development Collaboration (BCDC)
      18. Burmese Community Support Group (BCSG)
      19. Burmese Friendship Association
      20. Burmese Medical Association Australia (BMAA)
      21. Canadians in Support of Refugees in Dire Need
      22. Canberra Karen Association
      23. Chin Community of Western Australia Inc.
      24. Chin Community SA
      25. Chin Community Tasmania
      26. Chin Youth Organization
      27. CRPH/NUG Support Group Australia
      28. Democracy for Burma
      29. Falam Community
      30. Free Rohingya Coalition
      31. Industrial Training Centre (ITC) Family Sydney
      32. Joint Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (JACDB)
      33. Kachin Association Australia
      34. Kachin Association of Australia WA Inc.
      35. Karen Community
      36. Karenni Federation of Australia
      37. Karenni/Kayah Community
      38. Kayin Community Tasmania
      39. Matu Chin Community
      40. Mindat Chin Community NSW
      41. Mindat Community
      42. Mizo Community
      43. Mon Families Group
      44. Mon National council
      45. Myanmar Buddhist Community of South Australia
      46. Myanmar Community Coffs Harbour (MCC)
      47. Myanmar Democracy and Peace Committee (Australia)
      48. Myanmar Democratic Movement (MDM)
      49. Myanmar Engineering Association of Australia (MEAA)
      50. Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization in Malaysia (MERHROM)
      51. Myanmar People Residing in Canberra
      52. Myanmar Professionals Association Australia (MPAA)
      53. Myanmar Students’ Association Australia (MSAA)
      54. NLD Solidarity Association (Australia)
      55. Perth Myanmar Youth Network
      56. PWVB (Patriotic War Veterans of Burma)
      57. Queensland Kachin Community (QKC)
      58. Queensland Myanmar Youth Collective (QMYC)
      59. Queensland Rohingya Community
      60. Red Campaign Nirvana Exhortation Group
      61. Remonya Association of WA (Mon Community)
      62. Shwe Youth Democratic Alliance (SYDA)
      63. Southcare Medical Centre
      64. Support for Myanmar
      65. Sydney Friends for Myanmar Unity
      66. The Institution of Professional Engineers Myanmar
      67. United Myanmar Community of South Australia
      68. Victorian Burmese Care Community (VBCC)
      69. Victorian Myanmar Youth
      70. We Pledge CDM (Australia)
      71. Western Australia Myanmar Democratic Network
      72. Yadanar Foundation
      73. Zo Community
      74. Zomi Association Australia Inc.
      75. Zomi Community Queensland
      76. Zomi Community South Australia