Myanmar’s military junta has declared state of emergency after a mid-night coup. Aung San Suu Kyi is on house arrest. Country’s military cites ‘terrible fraud’ in last November’s general election as justification for seizing power. A video address broadcast on military-owned television said power had been handed to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
With the declaration of State of Emergency, Aung San Suu Kyi, who once was seen as symbol of democracy has been put on house arrest. It may be mentioned here that, Suu Kyi showed her cruel and ugly face when genocide on Rohingyas began in Myanmar, clearly under the support from the government and military establishment as well as Suu Kyi and her party comrades. Hundreds and thousands of Rohingyas were driven-out and were forced to enter Bangladesh for shelter. Since then, Bangladesh has been bearing the massive burden of providing food, shelter and other facilities to millions of Rohingya refugees. It is highly anticipated that the latest development in Myanmar may result in series of tougher sanctions imposed by the western governments as well as the United Nations, which may finally open the prospect for exerting pressure on the military establishment in Myanmar in immediately resolving the Rohingya crisis.
What Myanmar military said about the state of emergency
In the video statement aired on Myawaddy Television (MWD), the military said:
The voter lists which were used during the multi-party general election which was held on the 8th of November were found to have huge discrepancies and the Union Election Commission (UEC) failed to settle this matter.
Although the sovereignty of the nation must derive from the people, there was terrible fraud in the voter list during the democratic general election which runs contrary to ensuring a stable democracy.
A refusal to settle the issue of voter list fraud and a failure to take action and follow a request to postpone lower-house and upper-house parliament sessions is not in accordance with Article 417 of the 2018 constitution that refers to ‘acts or attempts to take over the sovereignty of the Union by wrongful forcible means’ and could lead to a disintegration of national solidarity.
Other parties and people have also been found conducting different kinds of provocations including displaying flags which are very damaging to national security.
Unless this problem is resolved, it will obstruct the path to democracy and it must therefore be resolved according to the law.
Therefore, the state of emergency is declared in accordance with Article 417 of the 2008 constitution.
In order to perform scrutiny of the voter lists and to take action, the authority of the nation’s law making, governance and jurisdiction is handed over to the commander in chief in accordance with the 2008 constitution Article 418, sub article (a). The state of emergency is effective nationwide and the duration of the state of emergency is set for one year, starting from the date this order is announced in line with Article 417 of the 2008 constitution.”
Actions on Aung San Suu Kyi and her party men
Myanmar’s military detained the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior figures from the governing party on Monday, seizing power in a coup less than 10 years after it handed over power to a civilian government.
The military said it carried out the detentions in response to fraud in last November’s general election Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) claimed to have won by a landslide.
Suu Kyi’s attempt of counter-coup
Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in a statement that carried Aung San Suu Kyi’s name, called on Myanmar’s public not to accept the military coup.
“The actions of the military are actions to put the country back under a dictatorship,” the statement said. “I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military”.
It is also learned that Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her party are sending messages to their supporters with the instruction of organizing country-wide demonstration against the military coup and take necessary preparations of a counter-coup, which according to analysts may finally result in breaking of civil war.
Myanmar heading towards civil war
Thant Myint-U, a prominent Myanmar historian and author, said in a tweet that the coup had opened doors to “a very different future”.
“I have a sinking feeling that no one will really be able to control what comes next,” he said. “And remember Myanmar’s a country awash in weapons, with deep divisions across ethnic and religious lines, where millions can barely feed themselves.”
According to political analysts, the current situation in Myanmar may finally result in breaking of civil war.
International reaction following coup in Myanmar
Bangladesh called for peace and stability in Myanmar and said it hoped to continue the process of voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees with its neighbour.
“We have been persistent in developing mutually beneficial relations with Myanmar and have been working with Myanmar for the voluntary, safe and sustained repatriation of the Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Reuters news agency in a statement.
“We expect these processes to continue in right earnest.”
China said it hoped that all sides in Myanmar could properly manage their differences under the constitution and legal framework and uphold stability. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin made the comments at a daily news briefing in Beijing.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne expressed deep concern “at reports the Myanmar military is once again seeking to seize control of Myanmar and has detained State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint”.
“We call on the military to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms and to release immediately all civilian leaders and others who have been detained unlawfully.”
A spokeswoman for US President Joe Biden said Washington was “alarmed” by reports of the Myanmar military’s “steps to undermine the country’s democratic transition” as well as the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders.
“The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed,” Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The US Secretary of State, Antony J Blinken, also expressed “grave concern” in a statement and urged the military to “reverse” its actions immediately.
“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. The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development,” he said.
European Council President Charles Michel condemned the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar and demanded that it release of all those it had detained in raids across the country.
“The outcome of the elections has to be respected and democratic process needs to be restored,” Michel wrote on his Twitter account.
Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, “strongly condemned” the detention of Myanmar’s civilian leaders on the eve of the opening session of the country’s new parliament.
He also expressed “his grave concern regarding the declaration of the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military,” and added: “These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.”
India’s foreign ministry said it “noted the developments in Myanmar with deep concern”.
“India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar. We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld. We are monitoring the situation closely.”
Singapore’s foreign ministry urged all sides in Myanmar to show restraint.
“Singapore expresses grave concern about the latest situation in Myanmar. We are monitoring the situation closely and hope all parties involved will exercise restraint, maintain dialogue, and work towards a positive and peaceful outcome,” the ministry said in a statement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the coup and the “imprisonment of civilians” in post on Twitter.
“The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.”
Katsunobu Kato, the chief cabinet secretary, said Japan’s government was closely watching the situation in Myanmar and would do everything possible to ensure the safety of its citizens there.
“At this point, there are no reports of any clashes but we’ll update information and take measures as needed,” he told reporters.
“Japan believes it is important for the parties to solve problems peacefully through dialogue in accordance with the democratic process,” he added.
Japan said that it strongly supports democracy in Myanmar and that it was against the reversal of the process, calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others detained.
“The Japanese government has up to now strongly supported the democratic process in Myanmar, and oppose any reversal of that process,” said a statement released by the Foreign Ministry in the name of foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
The Philippines is prioritizing the safety of its citizens in Myanmar and sees events in the country as “an internal matter that we will not meddle with”, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte said.
Longtime Cambodian leader Hun Sen referred to Myanmar’s military coup as the “internal affairs” of the country and declined further comment.
The Indonesian foreign ministry expressed concern over the developments in Myanmar, and called for the adherence to the “principles of democracy and constitutional government”.
“Indonesia urges all parties in Myanmar to exercise self-restraint and put forth dialogue in finding solutions to challenges so as not to exacerbate the condition,” it said in a statement.
The Malaysian foreign ministry called on the “Myanmar military and all relevant parties to give utmost priority to the maintenance of peace and security in Myanmar, uphold the rule of law, and resolve any electoral discrepancies through established legal mechanisms and dialogue in a peaceful manner”.
It added: “Malaysia reaffirms the strong support for Myanmar’s democratic transition, peace process and inclusive economic development.”
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (HRW)
Brad Adams, the Asia director at HRW, called for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and “all others unlawfully detained”.
“The military’s actions show utter disdain for the democratic elections held in November and the right of Myanmar’s people to choose their own government,” he said in a statement.
“We are especially concerned for the safety and security of activists and other critics of the military who may have been taken into custody. The military should recognize that it will be held accountable for its actions, including any mistreatment in custody and excessive use of force. We urge concerned governments to speak out forcefully against the military’s actions and consider targeted sanctions against those responsible.”
Germany strongly condemned the seizure of power and the accompanying arrests, its foreign minister said.
“The military actions jeopardise the progress made so far towards democratic change in Myanmar,” Heiko Maas said in a statement.
New Zealand said it is “deeply concerned” by the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar and called for “a rapid return to civilian rule”.
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement: “New Zealand is a long-standing supporter of Myanmar’s democratic transition.”
“We call for the swift release of all those political actors detained,” Mahuta said.
Ming Yu Hah, the deputy regional director at Amnesty International, called the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and others “extremely alarming”.
“Reports of a telecommunications blackout pose a further threat to the population at such a volatile time – especially as Myanmar battles a pandemic, and as internal conflict against armed groups puts civilians at risk in several parts of the country. It is vital that full phone and internet services be resumed immediately.”
Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t deserve our support
Aung San Suu Kyi was seen as one of the greatest hopes for human rights around the world for most of her life. After a long struggle against the country’s military rulers and many years under house arrest, she was allowed to run in the first openly-contested election in 25 years in 2015, and won in a landslide. Everyone in the world was happy seeing Suu Kyi’s victory in the election, as she was seen as a symbol of democracy and human rights.
Following the election, Suu Kyi became the first state counsellor of Myanmar – the title of the de facto head of government of Myanmar, equivalent to a prime minister.
But, following genocide on the Rohingyas in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi – instead of condemning such brutality had openly sided with the military establishment. She even had termed the Rohingyas as terrorists. This was the beginning of her fall from grace in the eyes of the outside world.
Commenting on Myanmar military’s genocide on the Rohingyas, Aung San Suu Kyi said: “soldiers were exercising the rule of law”.
In November 2020, Oxford’s council took back the Freedom of the City it had given her in 1997, and in November 2018 she was stripped of Amnesty International’s Ambassador Of Conscience award, which she received in 2009 while under house arrest. Both organizations cited her refusal to act over the military’s treatment of the Rohingya.
In 2019, she was at the Hague’s International Court of Justice to face charges of genocide brought against Myanmar, but said the crackdown had been a legitimate military operation against terrorists.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s notorious actions during the genocide on millions of Rohingyas and her subsequent statements terming them as terrorists clearly had exposed her ugly face. She does not deserve any support from the international community. Myanmar needs new leaders with human qualities to nourish democracy in future. Suu Kyi and her party comrades deserve to face similar criticism similar to that of country’s military junta. World must realize now – Aung San Suu Kyi is no hero anymore. She is a cruel, power-greedy and monstrous individual.