[Endorsement] Open letter: Urgent Call for Swift Action against the Military Junta to End Its War of Terror and Protect Civilians in Myanmar

Human Rights Now has endorsed an open letter which Progressive Voice, a Myanmar civil society organization, submitted to the Security Council on February 1, 2024.

The letter can be downloaded from here: English | Burmese

To Members of the United Nations Security Council

1 February 2024

Re: Urgent call for swift action against the military junta to end its war of terror and protect civilians in Myanmar

Your Excellencies,

As we mark the third anniversary of the Myanmar military junta’s coup attempt on 1 February 2021, we, 463 civil society organizations, express in the strongest terms our utmost disappointment in the ineffectiveness and inaction of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in response to the military junta’s war of terror against the people of Myanmar. We urgently call on the UNSC to act in accordance with its mandate for peace and security and take concrete actions against the Myanmar military junta. These actions must reflect the gravity of the mass atrocity crimes committed by the junta for which the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on the UNSC to, among other measures, refer the crisis in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.

We find that the UNSC’s adoption of Resolution 2669, which passed its one-year mark in December 2023, not only came too little and far too late – after decades of atrocities by the Myanmar military – but also produced no concrete progress towards halting the military’s genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, which have only intensified since the adoption of the resolution.

Since its adoption, the military junta has launched at least 909 airstrikes,[1] killing more than 364 civilians including scores of children, and torched nearly 80,000 houses. Over the last year, it is undeniable that the military junta’s violence has become more targeted against civilian populations with blatant attacks on villages, towns, internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps, religious sites where IDPs were seeking refuge, schools, and hospitals. Since the coup attempt, the military junta has killed at least 4,450 people and arrested more than 25,900 people, with more than 19,900 individuals still detained, including President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Inhuman conditions, ill treatment, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and extrajudicial killings remain ubiquitous in junta-controlled prisons and detention centers.

Furthermore, the military junta has insisted on a pilot repatriation project for the Rohingya, despite the UNSC expressing concern that the situation in Myanmar poses challenges for a safe, voluntary, sustainable, and dignified return. Resolution 2669 does not recognize the Myanmar military as a government or a de facto authority to carry out such a repatriation project. A sustainable, safe, and dignified return of Rohingya is impossible while the illegitimate Myanmar military junta continues to conduct a nationwide campaign of terror, including in Rakhine State where many more Rohingya are being forced to flee overland and by sea – with 2023 being the deadliest year for Rohingya’s sea crossings since 2014.

Your Excellencies,

The UNSC has wrongly relied on ASEAN and its failed Five-Point Consensus (5PC), instead of upholding its responsibility to pursue meaningful and effective measures to address the military’s unprecedented violence targeting civilians. This approach has only proven harmful to Myanmar’s people – all the while civil society has repeatedly called out its total ineffectiveness. ASEAN’s futile 5PC has only served to allow the junta to buy time and continue its war of terror, and the world to evade taking concrete, meaningful action. Even though Myanmar’s crisis is an ongoing threat to regional peace and stability, ASEAN has shown time and again that it lacks the political will and institutional capacity to address the unfathomable devastation in Myanmar caused by the military junta. For the two and a half years since the adoption of the 5PC, this approach has failed to yield any meaningful results, and the people of Myanmar have paid the price. The time is long overdue for the UNSC and the wider international community to take the lead – no longer deferring to ASEAN – and act decisively to end the junta’s widespread, systematic violence and atrocity crimes.

Today, dire humanitarian needs are alarmingly increasing across the country, with more than 2.6 million people having been displaced – a number that is likely a gross underestimation given the military junta’s intensified attacks on civilians and constraints on access to IDP communities. Civil society has repeatedly called on international actors, including ASEAN, UN agencies, and international non-governmental organizations, to cease any attempts at partnership with the junta in the name of humanitarian aid. Partnering with the military junta only exacerbates the crisis at hand, including by allowing the junta to continue to block aid from reaching the populations under its attacks. While fueling the junta’s notorious weaponization of aid, partnering with the junta also undercuts the effective and efficient work of countless local frontline humanitarians, as well as civil society organizations, community-based organizations, and ethnic organizations providing life-saving assistance on the ground.

Excellencies, the UN’s and ASEAN’s continued push for dialogue involving the military junta fails to acknowledge the Myanmar military as the root cause of the crisis, thus empowering the junta to continue to commit atrocity crimes with complete impunity and prolonging its oppression of the people. Further, pursuing dialogue with the military junta, while enabling its ongoing war of terror against the people, only undermines the Myanmar people’s unprecedented sacrifices and efforts to build genuine federal democracy from the ground up.

On the third anniversary of the Myanmar military junta’s attempted coup, we are reminded once again of the absence of substantial, meaningful actions from the international community to stop the military’s genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity – ongoing for decades against ethnic communities and being committed with greater intensity against Myanmar’s people today.

Thus, without delay, we call on the UNSC to live up to its mandate and fulfill its primary responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar by urgently adopting a new resolution under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Such a resolution must require a referral of the crisis in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal; a comprehensive global arms embargo to block the military junta’s access to arms, ammunition, dual-use technology, and jet fuel; and targeted economic sanctions against the military junta, its affiliates, and its sources of revenue that fund its crimes.

There shall be no excuses to delay this action. With its track record of resolutions focused on the protection of civilians across the world, including Resolutions 1325 and 2147, among others, the UNSC certainly can and has taken concrete steps in accordance with its global mandate. It must now afford the same resolve and action to the people of Myanmar and their earnest pursuit of inclusive, sustainable peace.

Furthermore, we call on China and Russia – as permanent members of the UNSC who agreed to Resolution 2669 – to cease providing political, technical, and material support to the military junta for its relentless war of terror against the people and instead support the people’s efforts for a genuine federal democracy.

Myanmar’s future can only be defined by the will of the people, not the misguided initiatives of the international community. The people of Myanmar have bravely and courageously proven their aspirations and determination to end the military’s decades-long violence and to achieve long-lasting peace in Myanmar where people of diverse backgrounds can co-exist with equal rights and dignity in a truly inclusive federal democracy. It is time for the international community, particularly the UNSC, to align itself with the will of the people of Myanmar through swift, meaningful action. We reiterate our demand for a new UNSC resolution on Myanmar under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

For more information, please contact:

Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice; info@progressive-voice.org
Elena, General Strike Committee of Nationalities; gscn2021@gmail.com
Myay Latt Tun, CDM Medical Network; contact@cdmmn.org
Wai Wai Nu, Women’s Peace Network; info@womenspeacenetwork.org
Signed by 463 civil society organizations, including 84 organizations that have chosen not to disclose their names because of the junta’s continued violence in Myanmar.

5/ of Zaya State Strike
Action Against Myanmar Military Coup (Sydney)
Action Committee for Democracy Development (Coalition of 14 grassroots networks)
Action Committee of Basic Education Students (ACBES)
Active Youths Kalaymyo
Ah Nah Podcast – Conversations with Myanmar
All Aung Myay Thar San Schools Strike Force
All Burma Student Democratic Front – Australia Branch
All Young Burmese League (AYBL)
Alliance of Students’ Union – Yangon (ASU-Yangon)
Anti-coup Forces Coordination Committee (ACFCC – Mandalay)
Anti-Junta Alliance Yangon-AJAY
Anti-Myanmar Dictatorship Movement
Anti-Myanmar Military Dictatorship Network (AMMDN)
Arakan Rohingya National Union (ARNU)
Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH)
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Asian Health Institute (AHI)
Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)
Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
Association of United Nationality in Japan (AUN)
Association Suisse Birmanie (ASB)
Associazione per l’Amicizia Italia Birmania “Giuseppe Malpeli”
Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
Aung San Suu Kyi Park, Norway
Australia Burma Friendship Association, Northern Territory
Australia Karen Organization WA Inc.
Australia Myanmar Doctors, Nurses and Friends
Australia Myanmar Youth Alliance (AMYA)
Australian Burmese Muslim Organisation
Australian Chin Community (Eastern Melbourne Inc)
Australian Coalition for Democracy in Burma
Australian Karen Organisation (AKO)
A-Yar-Taw People Strike
Ayeyarwaddy West Development Organisation – AWDO (Magway)
Ayeyarwaddy West Development Organisation – AWDO (Nagphe)
Arakan Youths Peace Network (AYPN)
Bamar Community Tasmania
Basic Education Students & Youths Association (BESYA)
Bee House
Beyond Borders (Malaysia)
Blood Money Campaign (BMC)
Boston Free Burma
Burma Action Ireland
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Civil War Museum (BCM)
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
Burma Lawyers’ Council (BLC)
Burma Refugee Saving Association (B.R.S.A)
Burma Support
Burmese Community – South Australia
Burmese Community Development Collaboration (BCDC)
Burmese Community Support Group (BCSG)
Burmese Friendship Association
Burmese Medical Association Australia (BMAA)
Burmese Relief Center Japan
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
Burmese Women’s Union (BWU)
Campaign for a New Myanmar
Canberra Karen Association
CDM Medical Network (CDMMN)
Center for Action Point (Kyaukpadaung)
Chaung Oo Township Youth Strike Committee
Chin Community – South Australia
Chin Community in Norway
Chin Community of Japan (CCJ)
Chin Community of Western Australia Inc.
Chin Community Tasmania
Chin Human Rights Organization
Chin Youth Organization
Chin Youth Organization of Japan (CYO-JP)
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Civil Information Network (CIN)
Civil Rights Defenders
Coalition Strike Committee – Dawei
Colorful Spring (ရောင်စုံနွေဦး)
CRPH & NUG Support Team Germany – Deutschland
CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland
CRPH Funding Ireland
CRPH Support Group, Norway
CRPH/NUG Support Group Australia
Dawei Youths in Japan (DYJ)
Dawei Youths Revolutionary Movement Strike Committee
Defend Myanmar Democracy (DMD)
Democracy for Burma
Democratic Youth Council
Depayin Township Revolution Steering Committee
Dhobama (2021 Generation)
Doh Atu – Ensemble pour le Myanmar
Dragon Dawn
Education and Wisdom Development for Rohingya Women
Education Garden of Rohingya (EGR)
Educational Initiatives Prague
Equality Myanmar (EQMM)
Ethnic Youth General Strike Committee (Mandalay)
Falam Community – South Australia
Federation of Workers’ Union of the Burmese Citizens in Japan (FWUBC)
Fortify Rights
Free Burma Campaign (South Africa)
Free Rohingya Coalition
Freedom and Labor Action Group (FLAG)
Friends of the Earth Japan (FoE Japan)
Future Light Center
Future Thanlwin
Gender Equality Network (GEN)
General Strike Collaboration Committee (GSCC)
General Strike Committee of Basic and Higher Education (GSCBHE)
Basic Education General Strike Committee (BEGSC)
Basic Education Worker Unions – Steering Committee (BEWU-SC)
Representative Committee of University Teacher Associations (RC of UTAs)
General Strike Committee of Nationalities (GSCN)
Generation Wave
GenY For Revolution Japan
Global Myanmar Spring Revolution – Japan
Global Myanmar Spring Revolution (GMSR)
Grass-root People
History Carriers (HC)
Honesty Federal School
Hope For Youth – Kyushu Japan
Human Rights Educators Network
Human Rights Foundation of Monland (HURFOM)
Human Rights Now
India 4 Myanmar
Industrial Training Centre (ITC) Family Sydney
Info Birmanie
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
Institute for Asian Democracy
Institute of Chin Affairs
Integria, z.u. (Prague)
Inter Pares
International Association, Myanmar-Switzerland (IAMS)
International Campaign for the Rohingya
International Karen Organisation
International Society of Myanmar Scholars and Professionals (Japan)
Japan Campaign to Ban Landmines (JCBL)
Japan Myanmar Future Creative Association (JMFCA)
Japan Myanmar Help Network (JMHN)
Joint Action Committee for Democracy in Burma (JACDB)
Justice 4 Myanmar – Hope & Development
Justice For All
Justice for Myanmar
Kachin Affairs Organization – Japan (KAO (Japan)
Kachin Association Norway
Kachin Association of Australia WA Inc.
Kachin State Civilian Movement (KSCM)
Kachin Student Union
Kachin Women Association Thailand (KWAT)
Kalay Township Strike Committee
Kansai Group Japan
Karen Community – South Australia
Karen Human Rights Group
Karen National League Japan (KNL)
Karen Peace Support Network
Karen Swedish Community (KSC)
Karenni Association – Norway
Karenni Civil Society Network (KCSN)
Karenni Community of Western Australia Inc.
Karenni Federation of Australia
Karenni Human Rights Group
Karenni Humanitarian Aid Initiative
Karenni National Society (KNS) Japan
Kayan New Generation Youth
Kayan Rescue Committee
Kayan Women Organization
Kayin Community Tasmania
K’cho Ethnic Association
Keng Tung Youth
KnowUsMoreMyanmar (KUM)
Kobe Myanmar Community (KMC)
Kyae Lak Myay
Kyain Seikgyi Spring Revolution Leading Committee
Kyauktada Strike Committee
Latpadaung Region Strike Committee
League For Democracy in Burma (L.D.B Japan)
LGBT Alliance
LGBT Alliance Myanmar (Kalay Region)
LGBT Alliance Myanmar (Kyaukse Region)
LGBT Community Yangon
LGBT Union – Mandalay
Monywa LGBT Strike
Local Development Network
Magway People’s Revolution Committee
Magway Region Human Rights Network (MHRN)
Mandalay Medical Family (MFM)
Mandalay Regional Youth Association Revolution Core Group
Mandalay Strike Force (MSF)
Chanmyatharzi Township People’s Strike
Co-operative University Mandalay Students’ Strike
Daung Sitthe Strike
Industries Strike
Maharaungmyay Township People’s Strike
Mandalay Alliance Coalition Strike
Mandalar University Students’ Strike
Mandalay Youth Strike
Mandalay-based People’s Strike
Multi-Religions Strike
Mya Taung Strike
Myanmar Institute of Information Technology Students’ Strike
12 Basic Education Branch High School ( Maharaungmyay) Students’ Union
Samgha Sammaga-Mandalay
Seinpann Strike
Mandalay-Based University Students’ Unions (MDY_SUs)
Matu Burma Foundation
Matu Chin Community – South Australia
MayMyo Strike Force
Mekong Watch
Metta Campaign
MilkTeaAlliance Calendar Team
MilkTeaAlliance Friends of Myanmar
Min Hla Farmers Group
Minbu Farmers Group
Mindat Chin Community NSW
Mindat Community – South Australia
Minority Affairs Institute (MAI Myanmar)
Mizo Community – South Australia
Mon Association – Norway
Mon Families Group
Mon National Council (MNC)
Mon State Development Center (MSDC)
Mon Youth For Federal Democracy (MYFD)
Monywa People’s Strike Steering Committee
All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Monywa District)
Civil Society Organizations Coordination Committee (Monywa)
Former Political Prisoners and New Generation Group – Monywa
Network of University Student Unions – Monywa
The 88 Generation Peace and Open Society (Monywa)
Thakhin Kodaw Mhine Peace Network (Monywa)
Monywa-Amyint Road Strike Leading Committee
Muslim Youth Network
Myanmar Accountability Project
Myanmar Action Group Denmark
Myanmar Baptist Churches in Norway
Myanmar Buddhist Community of South Australia
Myanmar Campaign Network
Myanmar Catholic Community In Norway
Myanmar Community Coffs Harbour (MCC)
Myanmar Community in Italy
Myanmar Community in Norway
Myanmar Cultural Research Society (MCRS)
Myanmar Democracy and Peace Committee (Australia)
Myanmar Democratic Movement (MDM)
Myanmar Development Support Group (MDSG)
Myanmar Diaspora Group Finland
Myanmar Engineering Association of Australia (MEAA)
Myanmar Hindu Community – Norway
Myanmar Labor Alliance (MLA)
Myanmar Muslim Organization – Norway
Myanmar Muslim Revolution Force (MMRF)
Myanmar Nationalities’ Support Organization – JP (MNSO)
Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)
Myanmar People Residing in Canberra
Myanmar Policy Institute
Myanmar Refugee Policy Group
Myanmar Spring Revolution Japan (MSRJ)
Myanmar Students’ Association Australia (MSAA)
Myanmar Tozan Club (MTC)
Myanmar Youth and Student Association, Japan (MYSA)
Myanmar’s Youth Association Hokkaido (MYAH)
Myaung Youth Network
MyaYar Knowledge Tree
Myingyan Civilian Movement Committee
National Alliance Bangkok
Netherlands-Myanmar Solidarity Platform
Network for Human Rights Documentation – Burma (ND-Burma)
New Myanmar Foundation
New Power Generation
New Rehmonnya Federated Force (NRFF)
NLD Organization Committee (International) Norway
NLD Solidarity Association (Australia)
No Boundary Support Group
No Business With Genocide
Norway Falam Community
Norway Matu Community
Norway Rawang Community
NPO Africa Japan Forum
NSW Karenni (Kayah) Communities
Nway Oo Guru Lay Myar
Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica
Okinawa Myanmar Association (OMA)
Oway Institute
Padauk Finland-Myanmar Association
Pakokku Youth Development Council
Palaung National Society Japan, PNS-Japan
Palaw Supporting Group Japan
Pale Township People’s Strike Steering Committee
Parents, Families and Friends of LGBTIQA+ in Myanmar (PFLAG – Myanmar)
Patriotic War Veterans of Burma (PWVB)
People’s Hope Spring Revolution (PHSR)
Perth Myanmar Youth Network
Power of Rohingya Youth (PRY)
Progressive Voice
Punnyakari Mon National Society Japan, PMNS-Japan
Pwintphyu Development Organisation
Pyi Gyi Tagon Strike Force
Pyit Taing Htaung Social Club
Queensland Kachin Community (QKC)
Queensland Myanmar Youth Collective (QMYC)
Queensland Rohingya Community
Rangoon Scout Network (RSN)
Red Campaign Nirvana Exhortation Group
Remonya Association of WA (Mon Community)
Revolution Tokyo Myanmar (RTM)
Rohingya Action Ireland (RAI)
Rohingya Christian Youth Union (RCYN)
Rohingya Community in Norway
Rohingya Education Development Plan (REDP)
Rohingya Progressive Network (RPN)
Rohingya Southeast Asia Network (RAISA)
Rohingya Student Union
Rohingya Women Association for Education and Development (RWAED)
Rohingya Women Empowerment and Advocacy Network
Rohingya Women for Justice and Peace
Rohingya Youth for Legal Action
Rohingya Youth’s Rights (RYR)
Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas (SCOEWBA)
SEA Junction
Shan Community in Japan (SCJ)
ShizuYouth For Myanmar
Shwe Pan Kone People’s Strike Steering Committee
Shwe Youth Democratic Alliance (SYDA)
Sisters 2 Sisters
Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation
Social Garden
Sone See Yar (Volunteer Group)
Sone Yay Foundation
Southcare Medical Centre
Southern Dragon Myanmar
Southern Monitor
Spring Revolution Restaurant (SRR)
Spring Sprouts
Spring Traveller
Support for Myanmar
Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar (Netherlands)
Swedish Burma Committee
Sydney Friends for Myanmar Unity
Synergy – Social Harmony Organization
Ta’ang Women’s Organization
Tai Youths Network Japan (TYNJ)
Tamar Institute of Development
Taze Strike Committee
Thailand 4 Burma
The European Rohingya Council (ERC)
The Institution of Professional Engineers Myanmar (IPEM)
The Ladies
Try Together At Japan (TTAJ)
Twitter Team for Revolution (TTFR)
S. Campaign for Burma
Union of Myanmar Citizen Association – Japan
United Myanmar Community of South Australia
University Students’ Unions Alumni Force
Victorian Burmese Care Community (VBCC)
Victorian Myanmar Youth (VMY)
Voice For Justice
Volunteers in Myanmar
We Are One Saga MOSA
We for All
We Pledge CDM (Australia)
We Support
Western Australia Myanmar Community (WAMC)
Western Australia Myanmar Democratic Network (WAMDN)
Wetlet Revolution Leading Committee
White Coat Society Yangon (WCSY)
Women Action Committee – Myanmar
Women Activists Myanmar (WAM)
Women Advocacy Coalition – Myanmar (WAC-M)
Women Alliance Burma (WAB)
Chindwin (West) Villages Women Strike
Dawei (Ashaetaw) Women Strike
Depayin Women Strike
Gangaw Women Strike
Kalay Women Strike
Mandalay Women Strike
Monywa Women Strike
Monywa-Amyint Road Women Strike
Taze Women Strike
Thayat Chaung Women Strike
Wetlet Twonship Women Strike
Yangon Women Strike
Women Lead Resource Center (WLRC)
Women’s Peace Network
Yadanabon University Students’ Union (YDNBUSU)
Yadanar Foundation
Yasakyo Township People’s Strike Steering Committee
Yaw Funding Japan
Yinmarpin and Salingyi All Villages Strike Committee
Yokohama Pamphlet Campaign – Myanmar
Youth Empowerment (YE)
Youth for Democratization of Myanmar (UDM)
Youth Heart Beams
Youths for Rohingya Development (YRD)
Zo Community – South Australia
Zomi Association Australia Inc.
Zomi Christian Fellowship of Norway
Zomi Community – South Australia
Zomi Community Norway
Zomi Community Queensland
ဒို့မြေကွန်ရက် – LIOH
မြန်မာမွတ်စလင်အစည်းအရုံး (BMA)
ရပ်ဝန်းသစ် (YWT)

[1] The number of airstrikes since the UNSC resolution was calculated using Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica’s monitoring of airstrikes between the resolution’s adoption on 21 December 2022 and 17 November 2023. Between 1 February 2021 and 17 November 2023, the Myanmar military junta launched at least 1,333 airstrikes, according to Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica.