As Russian invasion of Ukraine has become a black hole attracting the attention of the international community, proper discussion of other issues requiring international intercession is delayed and neglected. In the Global section, a CBT reporter would like to share the current news of Myanmar, which has become a crime scene against humanity, starting with the actions of the military junta in February 2021. That is when the Myanmar military junta launched a coup d’état, claiming fraudulent elections after the National League for Democracy (NLD) won more than half of the seats in the general election. Currently, the people of Myanmar are holding protests against the military junta, and this is called the ‘Spring Revolution.’
The CBT reporter was able to gather more details about the current situation in Myanmar through an email interview with the Presidential Office of the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar.
Q1. It is known that the Myanmar military’s crimes against humanity are brutal, including massacre, torture, and rape, and the victims are civilians and even children. What is the level of damage from military crimes after the coup?
Military terrorists committed crimes against humanity across Myanmar for decades especially in ethnic regions. Atrocities were further committed since the attempted coup, as of May 11, 2022, the Myanmar military junta killed 1,835 peaceful unarmed civilians, and arrested over 13,661 civilians including children and even infants. Criminal military brutally attacks civilians including aerial bombardments, and 12,000 houses were burned down by the military as of April 30, 2022.
Q2. The recent NUG independently formed a police force one year after the establishment of the militia. This move of the military resistance camp shows that the military has failed to take over all of Myanmar. How is the movement of the NUG doing and what kind of efforts are required by the international community to support it?
On May 5, 2021, we started building the People Defense Forces (PDF) with a strict policy to obey international law and the military code of conduct, and to protect the civilians from atrocities and brutal attacks of the criminal military. Within one year, we achieved significant successes despite numerous challenges. Our PDFs are now controlling 15% of the country’s area. Overall, our collective resistance forces, PDFs combined with the Ethnic Resistance Forces, are controlling close to 50% of the country’s area. We have established local administrations in 36 townships in Central Myanmar, and we are also in the process of building more local administrations across the country, including health, education, humanitarian, and justice services.
We need well-coordinated international support for the people of Myanmar to end the brutal military dictatorship, and to restore a democratic path to establish a peaceful federal democratic new Myanmar. We urge the international community (i) to take stronger measures to put pressure against the regime and its supporters, and (ii) to extend strategic and practical support to the National Unity Government, especially on its humanitarian response.
Q3. Recently, the United Nations and the NUG made their first contact. In the meantime, the NUG has insisted that the international community, including the UN, participate in the Myanmar situation. What does contact with the UN mean for the NUG and Myanmar?
The military junta single-handedly created the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and the region, resulting in cross-border issues negatively impacting regional stability. The NUG offers full cooperation not only with the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy but also with ASEAN Chair’s Special Envoy to find a peaceful solution to end the crisis in Myanmar. As you pointed out earlier, recently, a couple of our Ministers met the UN Special Envoy to find a political solution and provide un-hindered humanitarian assistance in Myanmar.
Q4. Recently, a military trial of the State Counselor of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi took place in Myanmar. Some media expect the military to sentence Aung San Suu Kyi to up to 100 years in prison. What is the NUG’s opinion on the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi?
The NUG’s Minister of Justice commented in a statement, there is no justice and no credibility when a so-called ‘trial’ takes place in secret. The junta is shameless about the farce of a legal system they have inflicted on the people of Myanmar. They are terrified of the power of San Suu Kyi who is still an unwavering symbol of courage in defense of democracy. This type of cruel injustice will end only with the restoration of democracy and the establishment of a fair and equitable justice system in a democratic new Myanmar.
Q5. Recently, a terrorist group called ‘Thwe Thout’ has been known to commit murders against people involved in the NLD. The military insisted that the NUG intended to frame the military, and that they did not conduct any investigation or punishment related to the unification. Witnesses also testified that Thwe Thout’s guns were identical to that of the military. How does the NUG view these terrorist groups?
‘Thwe Thout’ is a terrorist group formed by the criminal junta to kill politicians and democracy activists in the cities and towns with impunity. Many people believe the military is directly involved in ‘Thwe Thout.’ Criminal military junta also formed another terrorist group called ‘Pyu Saw Htee’ to terrorize civilians mainly in the rural areas with impunity.
Q6. Are there any additional comments that you would like to share?
We are honored to have friends from the Republic of Korea, especially Korean youth, supporting the people of Myanmar at this most crucial time in our fight for democracy and freedom. Our youth, Generation Z are at the forefront of the spring revolution in Myanmar. We hold the values of life, freedom, individual rights, and the rule of law at the core of our fight for democracy. Like your countrymen during times of hardships and trials, who rose to the challenge to protect freedom when these values were threatened, we are also fighting for ours.
The people of the Republic of Korea have been our supportive friends. The NUG and the people of Myanmar are very grateful for your support. Thank you!
By Park Su-min