Growing call for federal democracy in Myanmar
Growing number of civil society networks for peace, health and human rights from around the world are unifying their call for federal democracy in Myanmar. In a joint statement condemning the Coup d’état in Burma (after an online South Asia Solidarity Forum for federal democracy in Myanmar), over a hundred of these individuals, groups and networks from South Asia and other parts of the world united in solidarity with the people of Burma to strongly denounce the military coup d’état on 1 February 2021.
There is a unified call on the Burma Army to immediately cease all forms of violence and human rights abuses against civilians throughout the country; immediately withdraw troops back to their barracks in all areas and reinstate the civilian government; and immediately step down and enable the drafting of a new, federal constitution. The joint statement condemned the military for their actions during this coup and longstanding blatant disregard for international human rights standards. They continue to suppress and persecute human rights defenders, activists, and ethnic and religious communities.
The statement supports all pro-democracy, civil society, and ethnic groups against the military dictatorship. “Together with them we reject the 2008 constitution, created in a deeply flawed process and aimed to uphold military control.”
It further calls upon “countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to condemn this coup d’état and, instead of choosing economically motivated non-interference, stand up for their commitment to uphold international human rights standards.”
APPEAL TO UN SECURITY COUNCIL
The joint statement calls upon the United Nations Security Council to unequivocally hold the Burma military to account, by establishing a global arms embargo and sanctions on the military regime and their cronies; and refer the situation of Burma to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to address decades of impunity for human rights abuses, including genocide, crimes against humanity (including sexual and gender-based violence) and war crimes.
It calls upon the international community to:
- demand the protection of civilians, human rights defenders, civil society, democracy activists and those working for vulnerable populations in ethnic regions,
- demonstrate their resolve through actions, protections, and standing together with the people of Burma and civil society groups to uphold democracy and human rights,
- use cross-border channels to provide aid directly to conflict-affected communities,
- demand that telecoms providers take a stand to provide safe, open channels of communications for the public, and,
- demand sanctions against Myanmar military companies.
Herman Kumara of National Fisheries Solidarity Movement of Sri Lanka demanded that elected government be reinstated, and civil, political, and economic rights of the people in Burma be ensured.
Khin Cho Myint of Burma Study Center stated that global solidarity is needed to take serious action against military coup leaders and their crimes. “Please support our return to democracy in Burma.”
Cheatlom Ang of CamNature Institute in Cambodia commented “We strongly support the people of Burma to fight against military coup and call for returning the power to people to reinstall civil government for the country.”
Tahmina Rahman of Bangladesh Apparels Workers Federation (BAWF) condemned the military coup and called for “immediately withdrawing troops back to their barracks in all areas and reinstate the civilian government.”
Dr Sunilam, former Member of Legislative Assembly and a senior social justice activist with Kisan Sanghrash Samiti, Samajwadi Samagam, India, said “We fought for restoration of democracy against the military Junta but again they have grabbed power. This time we need a permanent solution.” Sustainable development and peace are rooted in democracy and a just world order.
Prominent among those who have endorsed this joint statement are Debbie Stothard of ALTSEAN-Burma; Kay Thi Win of Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) and rights activist from Myanmar; Lwin Lwin Thant, health rights activist from Mandalay, Myanmar; Dr Sandeep Pandey, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and national Vice President, Socialist Party (India); Arundhati Dhuru of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) and a senior Narmada Bachao Andolan activist; Prafulla Samantara, Goldman Environment Prize Awardee and leader of Lok Shakti Abhiyan, India; Shobha Shukla, founder CNS, India; Dakshitha Wickremarathne from Sri Lanka; Professor Abdul Hameed Nayyar, peace activist and noted researcher-physicist, Pakistan; Saeeda Diep, founder of Institute for Peace and Secular Studies, Lahore, Pakistan; Wali Haider, Roots for Equity/ Pakistan Kisan Mazdoor Tahreek/ Asian Peasant Coalition; Dayasagar Shrestha, National Campaign for Sustainable Development, Nepal; Kalpana Acharya, senior journalist and Chief Editor of Health TV Online, Nepal; Nurul Islam Hasib, senior journalist of Bangladesh; Ankit Goyal, engineer and convener of Eco-Socialist Front; Kyaw Minn Thant, UK; Zaw Zaw Han, from EGG, Myanmar; Thu Ryain Shwe and Khaing Shwe Wah from Myanmar; Soe Htet from Institute of Political and Civic Engagement, Myanmar; Jyotsna Mohan, Asia Development Alliance, India; Kyaw Kyaw Oo, Yangon Technological University, Myanmar; Tirtha Prasad Saikia, North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS), India; Pervez Siddiqui, Films 4 Peace Foundation, Bangladesh; Mudit Shukla, India; Shanta Laxmi Shrestha, Beyond Beijing Committee (BBC), Nepal; Sai Aike Sam, iPACE, Myanmar; Bhupi Ghimire, Volunteers Initiative Nepal, Nepal; Rokeya Kabir, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha (BNPS), Bangladesh; Mange Ram Adhana, Association For Promotion Sustainable Development, India; Dr Ashok Rau, The Freedom Foundation Trust, India; Keshav Kumar Sunam, Nepal; Parvati Sunam, Nepal; Dr Soe Khaing Linn, Myanmar; William Nokrek, International Movement Of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana, Asia Pacific, Philippines; Dr Lubna Sarwath, noted ecologist-environmentalist and leader of Socialist Party (India), India; Andrew Samuel, Community Development Services (CDS), Sri Lanka; Hana Clara Borrowman, UK; William Baldwin, The Irrawaddy UK; Ravi Nitesh, Member- South Asian Fraternity, Peace Activist, Freelance Writer, India; Akhtar Ehtisham, Surgeon, USA; Hussain Latheef, Huvadhoo Aid, Maldives; Anish Shrestha, Youth For Environment Education And Development Foundation (YFEED Foundation), Nepal; Mona Sabella, Palestine; Brijesh Kumar Rai, India; Ginny Shrivastava, Single Women Network, India; Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizens Web (sacw.net); Sanju Singh Bishowkarma, Dalit Welfare Organisation, Nepal; Dolphy Dsouza, Police Reforms Watch, India; Alejandro Fernandez, CEJIL, Argentina; Matcha Phornin, Sangsan Anakot Yaowachon Yaowachon Development Project, and V-Day Thailand; Prof Apoorvanand, University of Delhi, India; Manju Kulapuram, India; Ganesh V; Nurgul Djnaeva, Forum of women’s NGOs of Kyrgyzstan; Rama Kant Rai, National Coalition for Education, India; Shirin Akhter, Women with Disabilities Development Foundation (WDDF), Bangladesh; Archit Taluka, IIM Ahmedabad, India; Gulalai Ismail, Aware Girls, Pakistan; Tin Maung Htwe, freelance health journalist, Myanmar; Amalendu Upadhyaya, Hastakshep.com, India; Dineshwar Chaudhary, Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environment Nepal (JVE NEPAL), Nepal; Nukila Evanty, RIGHTS Foundation, Indonesia; Titi Soentoro, Aksi for gender, social and ecological justice, Indonesia; Beverly Longid, International Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL); Deewa Dela Cruz, Merdeka West Papua Support Network, Philippines; Maisnam Korouhanba Luwang, Lawyers for Human Rights, Manipur, India; Paul Belisario, ILPS Commission 10, Philippines; Mamta Lukram, India; Corazon Valdez Fabros, Philippines; Elmer Labog, KMU, Philippines; Kakay Tolentino, Bai Indigenous Women’s Network in the Philippines; Dr Shreekumar, Sangatya, India; Male Ningthouja, CPDM, India; Madan Lal Hind, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, India; Severin Sindizera, Indigenous Peoples Global Forum for Sustainable Development, IPGFforSD, Burundi; Peter Murphy, Philippines Australia Union Link, Australia; Harry Kerr, Pax Christi Victoria, Australia; Bhakta Bishwakarma, Dalit NGO Federation, Nepal; Ronalyn Olea, Bulatlat, Philippines; and Chini Maya Majhi, National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), Nepal.
Constanze Ruprecht and Bobby Ramakant
(Constanze Ruprecht and Bobby Ramakant are civil rights and social justice activists, and part of organizing team for solidarity forums for federal democracy in Myanmar)