The lapsing of Myanmar’s direct military rule in 2011 after 26 years of tyranny heralded a new, positive political phase for the peoples of Myanmar. Through democratic consciousness transcending courage and extraordinary struggles, the peoples of Myanmar laboured to achieve a transition from military rule into a democratic nation state. Starting with the victories of the May 1990 elections which the NLD secured, Myanmar’s steady growth towards a functioning democracy amidst crackdowns on the NLD is commendable and encouraged.

Therefore, we the undersigned, condemn the seizing of power by Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, on Monday, February 1st, 2021. We denounce the state of emergency declared by the Tatmadaw and the detention of elected leaders, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens. The unilateral declaration of the Tatmadaw to transfer all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military is heinous and a horrifying regression for the democratic reforms thus attained in Myanmar.

The peoples of Myanmar deserve no less in terms of rights, democracy and development. This recent, shocking turn of events is an affront on the will of the people. The Tatmadaw’s refusal to accept the November 2020 election results, alleging massive election fraud, is no basis under any circumstances for the power grab. The National League for Democracy (NLD)’s landslide victory, unequivocally signals a renewed mandate for the NLD’s continued governance. The legitimacy of this aspiration cannot be betrayed or vandalised by the military rule. Usurped power is no democracy at all.

The blatant transgression on Myanmar’s democratic process by the Tatmadaw is abominable as it departs from their commitment to democracy, human rights and fidelity to the rule of law. Given Myanmar’s scarred and tumultuous history, the Tatmadaw’s abandonment of democratic safeguards for the common people of Myanmar is absolutely unjustified.

An emergency rule is only warranted should any country face a severe crisis labelled to be of such magnitude that is deemed to cross a threat severity threshold, necessitating urgent, exceptional and, consequently, temporary actions by the state, which are otherwise not permissible when normal conditions exist. The mere claim of election fraud falls short of these high thresholds. A proportionate cause of action for the Tatmadaw should be one pursued within the perimeters of an election tribunal.

We, the undersigned, thus demand for the immediate release of the duly elected leaders, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens of Myanmar that are still detained. We also call upon the Tatmadaw to respect the will of the people and to immediately restore Myanmar’s democratically elected government.

Endorsing organisations:

  1. Academy of Tamil Studies, Malaysia
  2. Aliran
  3. Beyond Borders Malaysia
  4. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  5. Child Development Initiative Malaysia
  6. Coalition of Malaysian Indian NGOs
  7. Community Action Network (CAN)
  8. Council of Temples Malaysia
  9. FreedomFilmNetwork (FFN)
  10. Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM)
  11. Group of Concerned Citizens Malaysia
  12. Justice for Sisters
  13. Liberasi
  14. Liga Rakyat Demokratik
  15. Malaysian Indian Historical Association
  16. Muslim Professional Forum (MPF)
  17. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
  18. Partners of Community Organisation (PACOS)
  19. People Like Us Support Ourselves (PLUsos)
  20. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)
  21. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
  22. Pusat KOMAS
  23. Sabah Women Action-Resource Group
  24. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  25. SCRIPS
  26. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  27. Tamil Forum Malaysia
  28. Undi18
  29. UndiSabah