“Burmese Military Junta is Illegitimate”
Burma Task Force Deplores Arms Sales to Brutal Burmese Forces.
Today, on the anniversary of the Burmese military coup, Burma Task Force condemns the junta’s ongoing violence and corruption, and deeply deplores the destructive impact on Burma/Myanmar and the destabilizing effect on the region. Despite this impact, we note that India, Russia and China continue to sell arms to the military, providing weaponry which is used to kill and oppress the people of Burma every day.
A program of the Human Rights Advocacy NGO Justice for All, Burma Task Force expresses its strong solidarity with the diverse people of Burma who resist this tyranny. Supporters of human rights and democracy around the world admire the steady struggle of much of the public, despite mass arrests, torture, bombing, war crimes and mass displacement.
Burma Task Force first began its work in 2012 in response to the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State, Burma. The persecution became a military-led genocide, with thousands killed, hundreds of villages destroyed, and lands seized and sold. Over a million Rohingya are still displaced in refugee camps in Bangladesh. In the absence of justice in Burma, international courts are currently examining the mass atrocities and mass displacement perpetrated by Burmese troops.
“The same shamelessly brutal tactics used against the Rohingya people are being used against anyone who resists the military,” observed Malik Mujahid, CEO of Burma Task Force. “The world’s failure to rein in the genocidal Burmese military apparently emboldened the generals to attack democracy itself. The United States should formally recognize that genocide. The international community must also recognize alternative leaders to the military. The Burmese generals must never be granted legitimacy.”
“Like ethnic minorities before them, the Burman majority now very clearly understands the extreme, predatory nature of this Burmese military,” stated Hena Zuberi, Justice for All Programs Director in Washington DC. “Clearly the people of Burma support strong sanctions against the military leaders and their interests. We appreciate that major Western oil and gas companies recently announced they will finally depart from the country. There should be no business relationships with these criminals.”
Ms. Zuberi added: “However, the US Government should also sanction the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE). In Congress, the Burma Act would include this action, but the legislation has been blocked by the Republican leadership from moving forward in the US Senate. With such a high level of suffering in Burma, why this weak response?”
To help inform policymakers, this week Burma Task Force has been convening panel discussions on these concerns, including such noted speakers as Chris Sidoti, formerly a leader of the UN Fact Finding Mission to Burma, and Rushda Siddiqui, expert on Indian government policies towards Burma and the region.
“With the military in power, we will see neither peace nor repatriation of the displaced Rohingya,” observed Adem Carroll, Team Lead for Burma Task Force. “Over the last year, the junta has failed to win the hearts and minds of the people of Burma, and it will never do so. In accordance with the overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly last fall, nations must stop selling arms to the junta. And ASEAN and other international peacemakers must acknowledge that Burmese military leaders believe only in force, not rule of law. The international community should therefore support the replacement of Burma’s 2008 Constitution that was designed by the military to ensure their lasting grip on power. Only with a new constitution is there hope for rule of law and a lasting federation instead of a failed state.”
For more information: Adem Carroll Adem@justiceforall.org
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An NGO with Consultative Status at the United Nations (DGC) Justice for All is nonprofit organization based in the United States. Since 2012, our program Burma Task Force has advocated for Rohingya rights and accountability in Burma. www.BurmaTaskForce.org