On February 26, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN, Kyaw Moe Tun, took a sudden and unexpected step to declare his employer – the military junta – the illegal ruler of Myanmar in front of the UN Assembly. In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, the diplomat describes what he went through before giving the fateful speech, and why targeted sanctions are needed against a junta who he says “commits crimes against humanity”.
Kyaw Moe Tun said he decided to condemn the military junta and its coup on February 1 because it traced Myanmar’s already fragile democratization process.
Although the action immediately led to the army firing him and accusing him of high treason, the career diplomat says he is “proud” to have spoken out against a regime that brutally cracked down on “helpless” civilian protesters. He also accuses it of having committed crimes against humanity and cites both murders and cases of torture. Kyaw Moe Tun now calls on the UN Security Council to take strong action against the junta and for targeted sanctions from the international community, saying it would be an effective tool in forcing the military to stop the bloodshed.
He says the only way to open a meaningful dialogue between the military and the protesters is for the junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners.
Although the army may have fired him, Kyaw Moe Tun refused to give up his job and the diplomat who was to replace him then quit. The UN, meanwhile, refused to acknowledge his resignation. However, the diplomat says he plans to resign and will continue to support the peaceful protest movement in Myanmar.