Myanmar civil society asks UN to stop giving regime ‘legitimacy’ | United Nations News

A group of hundreds of civil society groups wrote an open letter to UN chief Antonio Guterres asking him to block UN agencies, funds and other organizations linked to the organization. The organization joins the generals who wrested control of the country from its elected government in a coup last year.

The letter condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the continued submission of letters of appointment by various UN agencies and the signing of agreements such as MoUs with coup leaders. It noted that this activity has continued despite a request last December to the UN and its agencies not to engage with the military in any way that would give them some sort of Legality.

“We call on you and all United Nations organizations to immediately cease all forms of cooperation and involvement that give legitimacy to the illegal killing regime,” reads the signed letter. of 638 civil society organizations.

“We call on you to intervene for a principled, coordinated United Nations response to the crisis in Myanmar.”

It noted that agencies including the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed new agreements with the regime and awarded credentials to military appointees in August and September 2022.

It added that “public ceremonies, arranged with photographs, were used as propaganda by the military in its ongoing efforts to assert its legitimacy”.

Under the leadership of the Army’s Commander-in-Chief, Senior Lieutenant General Min Aung Hlaing, the army captured elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and took power in February 2021. The power struggle led to protests. nationwide sentiment and the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG) was largely attributed to those who were removed from office during the coup.

The NUG established the People’s Self-Defense Force (PDF) to fight for the restoration of democracy with the military’s crackdown on those who oppose its policies, encouraging civilians to take up arms.

NUG has attached a The campaign is increasingly vocal for attraction and recognition including at the UN, where Kyaw Moe Tun, the ambassador appointed by the government-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, retains his post.

Dr Tun Aung Shwe, the organization’s representative in Australia, told Al Jazeera earlier this month: “The international community must support the Government of National Unity, the true representative body of the people of Myanmar. “NUG represents the people of Myanmar. The military is not qualified to represent the people of Myanmar at the United Nations.”

Anti-coup fighters are presented with flowers by locals in a town in the Sagaing region, north central Myanmar.
The military’s brutal crackdown on its opponents has led some civilians to take up arms and cooperate with ethnic armed groups that have been fighting the army for decades. A report this month showed that anti-coup forces controlled 52% of Myanmar [File: AFP]

Malaysia is also encouraging ASEAN, which is leading diplomatic initiatives to end the crisis, to join the NUG.

In May, the military’s foreign minister condemned the call as “irresponsible and reckless“, but Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah continued to push for broader engagement.

Earlier this week, sitting with NUG representatives in New York, he called for a more “inclusive” approach to dealing with a crisis that some have likened to a civil war, and said that ASEAN should talk to “all parties involved“In an effort to end the conflict.

The civil society letter said recent actions by UN agencies were “clearly siding with (d)” the military.

“This violates the principles of democracy, human rights and the humanitarian principles of objectivity, neutrality, independence and “doing no harm” enshrined in the United Nations General Performance Standards and the framework of its commitments. to which the entities of the United Nations are bound and held accountable”. the letter said.

It noted that in December last year, the decision to allow Kyaw Moe Tun to continue to hold his post was passed by the United Nations General Assembly.

“United Nations entities and agencies, funds and programs in Myanmar should be guided by this decision and should engage openly with the NUG and not the military junta,” it said.

More than 2,300 people have been killed since the military took control of Myanmar, according to the Association to Support Political Prisoners, a civil society group that tracks the death toll.

A briefing published earlier this month by the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, which includes former United Nations special rapporteurs, showed the army has no effective control nationwide.

The NUG and other organizations opposing the coup effectively controlled 52% of Myanmar’s territory, while the military could claim stable control of only 17%.

Yanghee Lee of SAC-M said in the report: “The world needs to wake up to the fact that a new Myanmar has been taking shape. “The Government of National Unity is not a shadow government or a government in exile. It is representative of the people’s revolution and the resistance of the army, the combined force that controls much of the country”.

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