Open Letter to the European Union and EU Member States
Dear President von der Leyen,
Dear HR/VP Borrell,
Dear President Michel,
Dear President Metsola,
On the occasion of the second anniversary of the coup d’état in Myanmar, we, the undersigned Myanmar diaspora organizations and organizations based in Europe that support democracy and federalism in Myanmar, call on the European Union and EU Member States to significantly increase their response to the human rights and humanitarian crisis being caused by one of the worst military regimes in the world.
The EU and its Member States have rightly shown remarkable unity, agility and resolute determination to support Ukraine against the criminal Russian aggression, as well as readiness to support Belarus’ democratic movement after stolen elections and a brutal crackdown.
We expect and hope that the EU and its Member States can take a clear position towards the similar scale of suffering and equally heroic resistance by the people of Myanmar. While the EU and some Member States have taken important measures thus far, the military’s atrocities and war of terror against the people of Myanmar deserve a more urgent response than is currently taken in the EU. That is why we call on the EU to take a stronger and more proactive position and to become more active in addressing the crisis in Myanmar.
The junta has failed to consolidate power and is gradually losing control to the determined and constantly growing resistance. In a very similar manner to Putin in Ukraine, the regime is primarily relying on violence, terror and the intentional targeting of the civilian population and civilian infrastructure. The military’s two other strategies – to try to divide the anti-junta alliance through sham “peace talks”; and win legitimacy through manipulated fake elections – will not work either. However, every single additional month that the junta is able to continue this highly destructive and futile effort to seize power is causing deep economic and social damage that will be increasingly difficult to repair.
The EU has previously shown great support for the “democratic transition” in the decade prior to the coup, with hundreds of millions of Euros being invested in supporting the capacity of governance institutions, civil society and the peace process and in education reform, justice sector reform, and much more. Yet, after the coup, almost all of the support was suspended, instead of continuing this critical support to the legitimate authorities of the country, currently represented by the CRPH, NUCC and NUG.
Despite having called for the results of the 2020 elections to be respected, the EU and its Member States have failed to properly engage and support the National Unity Government (NUG), the government appointed by the parliament elected in those very elections. The NUG, the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and its allies including EROs and CSOs are the ones who are currently driving all the reforms of the country the EU has previously supported: democratisation, education, justice, health care, inclusion and an actual peace process with the first serious debates about federalism in the country since the military coup of 1962.
We therefore call upon the EU and its Member States:
We are aware that on many of these requests there has already been some welcome steps in the right direction, but these efforts need to be scaled up and sped up. Lessons learned from the appeasement of Putin and the current crisis in Ukraine should be applied to the crisis in Myanmar.
As these demands show, there is much the EU and its Member States can do to actively support the people of Myanmar in their struggle. While they will determine the future of their country, outside support can help tip the balance in their favour. The EU Parliament has already shown support for many of these demands – it is now up to the EU and its Member States to show similar determination. The fight against authoritarianism is global; a federal, democratic Myanmar instead of a dictatorship sponsored by Putin is in the EU’s vital interests.
If the EU and its Member States apply just a small proportion of the determination they have shown in Ukraine to Myanmar as well, it would have a significant positive impact. The people of Myanmar, who have shown so much resilience and courage in their struggle for democracy, deserve it.
German Solidarity with Myanmar Democracy e.V.
Ah Nah Podcast – Conversations with Myanmar, Ireland
Asociace NUG.z.s., Czech Republic
Association Suisse-Birmanie, Switzerland
Associazione per l’Amicizia Italia Birmania Giuseppe Malpeli, Italy Aung San Suu Kyi Park Norway
Burma Action Ireland
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Center Prague, Czech Republic
Burmese students in the Czech Republic
CEELI, Czech Republic
Central European Institute of Asian Studies (CEIAS), Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria Chin Community in Norway
CRPH – NUG Supporters Ireland
CRPH Funding Ireland
CRPH Support Group, Norway
CRPH, NUG Support Team Germany-Deutschland
Democratic Party for a New Society, Norway
Doh Atu – Ensemble pour le Myanmar, France
German Solidarity with Myanmar Democracy e. V. Postfach 842, 79008 Freiburg
Education Initiatives Prague, Czech Republic Finland Karen Culture Association, Finland Finland-Myanmar Association, Finland
Food & Help for Burma/Myanmar, Switzerland Forum 2000 Foundation, Czech Republic
Info Birmanie, France
International Association. Myanmar-Switzerland
Kachin Association Norway
Karen Community in Netherlands
Karen Swedish Community, Sweden
Karenni Association Norway
Karenni Society Finland
K’cho Ethnic Association, Norway
La Communauté Birmane de France
Matu Burma Foundation, Norway
Myanmar Action Group Denmark
Myanmar Baptist Churches in Norway
Myanmar Catholic Community in Norway
Myanmar Community Austria
Myanmar Community in Norway
Myanmar Community in the Czech Republic
Myanmar Democratic Force Denmark
Myanmar Diaspora Group, Finland
Myanmar Hindu Community, Norway
Myanmar Muslim Organization, Norway
Netherlands-Myanmar Solidarity Platform, Netherlands
NLD Organization Committee (International), Norway
Norway Falam Community, Norway
Norway Matu Community, Norway
Norway Rvwang Community, Norway
NUG and CRPH Supporters Denmark
Rohingya Community in Norway
Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar, Netherlands Swedish Burma Committee, Sweden
Swiss Solidarity for democracy for Burma/Myanmar, Switzerland Transparency International Czech Republic
With Myanmar, UK
Youth for democratization of Myanmar (UDM), Norway
Zin Documentaire B.V., Netherlands
Zomi Christian Fellowship of Norway
Zomi Community Norway