Solidarity with the People of Myanmar
February 4, 2021
The Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) strongly condemns the military coup, which jeopardizes the peaceful democratic transition in Myanmar. On 1 February 2021, the Tatmadaw (military) arbitrarily detained civilian government officials and civil society leaders and declared a state of emergency on the grounds of disputed results of the national elections in November 2020. Internet connections and mobile phone service were restricted as fears of military-sponsored violence and unlawful detentions rose. The actions taken by the Tatmadaw infringe the civil liberties of the people of Myanmar.
The military rule in Myanmar has overseen a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya, along with countless other crimes against humanity targeted at marginalized ethnic minorities. The impunity for these crimes has encouraged further seizure of power and disruption of democratic processes. GNWP is deeply concerned that these recent actions by the military may lead to further violence and the disruption of humanitarian aid delivery to internally displaced ethnic minorities living in dire conditions. We call on the Tatmadaw to adhere to international human rights and humanitarian law, which prohibits attacks on civilians and arbitrary detention.
GNWP stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar, especially grassroots women and youth peacebuilders. We echo their calls for:
- Respect and protection of the human rights of the people of Myanmar, including but not limited to their civil liberties and freedom of expression.
- Immediate release of political leaders and civil society activists and all those detained unlawfully by the military.
- Restoration of democracy, resumption of Parliament, and respect for the outcome of the November 2020 national elections.
- Irreversible reforms to national frameworks to strengthen language on human rights and democracy and prevent recurrence of such actions.
- Immediate restoration of the internet and all other forms of communication in Myanmar.
- Uninhibited delivery of humanitarian aid to refugees and internally displaced persons.
- Boycott of Myanmar military-owned companies which continue to make profits while citizens are driven into deeper poverty.
- Suspension of social media accounts of military and Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) leaders which incite violence, sow divisions, and spread disinformation.
We urge the United Nations and the rest of the international community to take all actions necessary to protect civilians and prioritize their needs as they continue to grapple with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Community protection mechanisms must be established for civil society activists and peacebuilders leading civil disobedience campaigns to protest the coup. It is critical that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemn the coup, suspend all engagement with the Tatmadaw, and establish a global arms embargo. To hold perpetrators accountable for crimes of genocide, the situation in Myanmar must be referred to the International Criminal Court. Without swift, concerted action from the international community, the human rights of the people of Myanmar, particularly ethnic minorities, will continue to be violated without consequence.