Myanmar’s UN ambassador defies the junta and calls for global action to lift the coup

Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN made a passionate appeal to the international community to take the “strongest possible action” to end the junta’s rule in the country.

Kyaw Moe Tun’s voice was broken by emotion as he spoke out against the military regime that ousted the nation’s elected civilian government in the February 1 coup.

It is extremely rare for a representative to break with the rulers of the country they represent during a speech at the UN General Assembly.

The ambassador even blinked at the three-fingered greeting used by democracy protests during street demonstrations against the junta, after concluding his speech with a message in Burmese.

“We need … the strongest possible action by the international community to end the military coup immediately, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return state power to the people and to restore democracy,” he pleaded.

Kyaw Moe Tun, his trembling voice, called on all member states to issue public statements strongly condemning the coup during the special meeting on Myanmar.

He appealed to countries not to recognize the military regime or cooperate with it and asked them to demand that the junta respect last year’s democratic elections.

The envoy also called on nations to “take all possible measures” to stop violent acts committed by security forces against peaceful protesters.

“We will continue to fight for a government that is of the people of the people, for the people,” he said.

‘Cruel and inhuman’

The diplomat’s address was greeted with warm applause in the House, with diplomats quickly congratulating him.

“I applaud my colleague Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun today for his courageous and powerful statement,” tweeted British Ambassador Barbara Woodward.

The last time an ambassador clashed with his country’s ruler was in 2011 when the Libyan representative condemned the leading dictator Moamer Gadhafi.

Earlier, UN envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said she “strongly condemns” recent steps by the junta, including “unacceptable” use of deadly force, and called on the international community to press for a return to democracy.

“There is no justification for the military’s actions, and we must continue to demand that this impermissible situation be reversed and that all collective and bilateral channels be exhausted in order to restore Myanmar’s path to democratic reform,” she told the General Assembly via video.

The diplomat said she had been blocked from visiting Myanmar by the military regime.

“It seems like they want to continue making big arrests. This is cruel and inhuman,” she said.

“If there is any escalation in military brutality – and unfortunately as we have seen in the past in Myanmar – against people exercising their fundamental rights, let us act quickly and collectively,” Burgener added.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made her first speech in the House, saying that President Joe Biden’s regime is “in solidarity” with Myanmar protesters.

“We will show the military that their actions have consequences. Violence against those who exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms is unacceptable,” she said.

China’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, reiterated his country’s stance that the current events in Myanmar are “internal affairs”.

“The voice and action taken by the international community should help the parties in Myanmar to bridge their differences and solve problems, and avoid intensified tensions and further complicate the situation,” he said.