Myanmar’s UN ambassador implores world to take action to end military coup and restore democracy

Myanmar’s ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun addresses the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 11, 2019.

  • Myanmar’s UN ambassador called on the world body to end the military coup in his country. 
  • Kyaw Moe Tun called for the “strongest possible action” to “restore the democracy.”
  • Myanmar’s military staged a coup in early February, ousting the civilian government.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Myanmar’s UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, speaking for the country’s elected civilian government ousted in a military coup on February 1, appealed to the UN on Friday “to use any means necessary to take action against the Myanmar military” to restore democracy to the Southeast Asian country.

He addressed the 193-member U.N. General Assembly after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, warned that no country should recognize or legitimize the Myanmar junta and all efforts must be made to restore democracy.

“We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore the democracy,” Kyaw Moe Tun said to applause and praise from Western and Islamic counterparts.

Schraner Burgener pushed for a collective “clear signal in support of democracy” as she sounded the alarm over the coup, urging “influential” countries to push the military to allow an independent assessment of the situation.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army seized power and detained civilian government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party after the military complained of fraud in a November election.

“Regrettably, the current regime has so far asked me to postpone any visit. It seems they want to continue making large-scale arrests and have been coercing people to testify against the NLD Government. This is cruel and inhumane,” Schraner Burgener said.

The country has been largely paralyzed by weeks of protests and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes against the military. While military chief General Min Aung Hlaing says authorities are using minimal force during the protests, three protesters and one policeman have been killed.

“If there is any escalation in terms of military crackdown – and sadly as we have seen this before in Myanmar – against people exercising their basic rights, let us act swiftly and collectively,” Schraner Burgener said.

‘Make sure that this coup fails’

Myanmar Grafitti No Coup Febraury 6 2021.JPG
A man takes a picture of a graffiti by Thai artist Mue Bon against the military coup in Myamar in a street in Bangkok, Thailand, February 6, 2021.

The army has promised an election, but has not given a date. It has imposed a one-year state of emergency.

The question of an election is at the center of a diplomatic effort by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member. Indonesia has taken the lead, but coup opponents fear the efforts will confer legitimacy on the junta.

“It is important the international community does not lend legitimacy or recognition to this regime,” Schraner Burgener said. “The result of the election of November 2020 was clear with 82 percent of the votes for the NLD.”

Guterres has pledged to mobilize enough international pressure “to make sure that this coup fails.” The Security Council has voiced concern over the state of emergency, but stopped short of condemning the coup.

Schraner Burgener expressed concern for the Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.

A 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State sent more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh, where they are still stranded. Guterres and Western states have accused the Myanmar army of ethnic cleansing, which it denies.

“We must ask, how can we rely on a military regime when the very same led the security operations leading to the human rights violations and forced displacement of Rohingya people and others from their homes?” Schraner Burgener said.

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Myanmar’s military says it’s taking over as world leaders look on in shock

FILE PHOTO: Photographs of Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi hung in a shop in Yangon, Myanmar, January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang
FILE PHOTO: Photos of Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi are seen in a shop in Yangon

  • The military of Myanmar said it would be taking control of the country for the next year.
  • Earlier on Monday, several top government officials, including Aun San Suu Kyi and president Win Myint, were rounded up.
  • Global diplomatic leaders are expressing outrage and dismay at the move. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Myanmar’s military announced on Monday that it would be taking over the country for at least a year, citing massive voter fraud as justification for the coup.

The announcement was made on the military-owned television channel Myawaddy TV, and followed the detainment of several top Myanmar politicians, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar President Win Myint. Members of the ruling National League for Democracy were also taken into custody, according to the Associated Press. The newly elected parliament was due to meet on Monday for the first time since the election. 

Myanmar Vice President Myint Swe, a former general who is backed by the military, is currently heading up the government.

In the country’s last election in November, the National League for Democracy won 396 out of 476 parliamentary seats, while the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won just 33 seats. 

The military, known as the Tatmadaw, claimed there was massive voter fraud, and on January 26 released a list of corruption allegations. They claimed there were 8.6 million instances of “voter irregularities” among a population of 54 million. 

The claims were rejected by the country’s election commission, according to the AP

Myanmar’s citizens woke up on Monday to a media blackout and there are reports that internet connectivity is down 75%, with the military planning to completely disconnect the internet later today. 


As news of the coup spread across the country, citizens lined up at banks to pull their cash out. Residents in the city of Yangon reported that area ATMs had run out of cash. According to Reuters, all banks are planning to shut down temporarily.

World leaders expressed shock and outrage at the military takeover.

“We call on Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted. “The military must reverse these actions immediately.”

United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the coup represents “a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.”

UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir tweeted: “I call for immediate release of detained political leaders. Attempts to undermine #democracy and rule of law are unacceptable. Military leaders must adhere to democratic norms and respect public institutions and civilian authority.”

In a statement on Monday, the military said the international community “should not be endorsing the next steps of the political process on a business-as-usual basis without understanding actual events,” according to the Myanmar Times.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recommended the US impose sanctions on Myanmar, “as well as other measures, against the Tatmadaw and the military leadership of Burma.”

Myanmar’s military ran the country until 2015, when it began transitioning toward a democratic model. In recent years, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was hailed as a humanitarian hero and presented with a Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest in 1991, has been criticized for her imprisonment and torture of the Rohingya ethnic minority


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