More Than 10 Myanmar Diplomats Refuse to Work for Military Regime

By The Irrawaddy 5 March 2021

YANGON—With the country having recently experienced some of the bloodiest days in the increasingly brutal crackdown by security forces, more than 10 Myanmar diplomats based at foreign missions have now announced they will not work for the military regime.

The latest move by the civil servants represents the biggest pushback so far by Myanmar’s foreign based diplomats against the military regime. On Thursday, five staff from the Myanmar Embassy in Washington said they are participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), refusing to work for the military’s cabinet.

The diplomats said they are deeply saddened and disturbed by the military coup against the democratically elected civilian government and the use of lethal force and violence against peaceful demonstrators.

Since the military takeover on Feb. 1, more than 49 unarmed civilians have been killed by the regime’s security forces while participating peacefully in anti-regime protests.

The diplomats urged that the military regime respect the results of the November 2020 election and return state power to the people.

The NLD won Myanmar’s Nov. 8 general election in a landslide. The military staged a coup on Feb. 1, just hours before the new NLD-dominated Parliament was set to convene, claiming it was forced to act over what it called electoral fraud in the Nov. 8 general election.

Moreover, U Aung Kyaw Naing, a counselor at the Myanmar Embassy in Los Angeles, announced separately that he would join the CDM from Friday. He has been working at the Foreign Ministry for nearly 30 years.

He said he decided to participate in the CDM after being deeply saddened by the events of March 3, referring to the bloody crackdown by the military regime that killed at least 28 people.

Moreover, three staff including the first and second secretaries at the permanent mission of Myanmar to the United Nations Office in Geneva also said they would stand with the people who are fighting to restore democracy in their homeland. The three diplomats said they planned to participate in the CDM.

Another diplomat, Daw Chaw Kalayar, third secretary at the Myanmar Embassy in Berlin, Germany said she is no longer willing to work under the regime, who overthrew the civilian government and detained politicians and civilians unjustly.

Daw Chaw Kalayar said she won’t work for a “terrorist group” who are brutally killing civilians.

She said she will perform her duty as a diplomat if the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) gives her some responsibilities. The Pyidaungsu Hluttaw is Myanmar’s Union Parliament. The committee was set up by elected lawmakers who were denied their seats in Parliament by the coup. It denies the legitimacy of the military regime and has asked the international community to recognize it as the legitimate representative of the people.

All the diplomats said they are exercising their right to peaceful expression and that they stand together with the people of Myanmar, adding that they would not resign from their positions.

The diplomats’ movement against the military regime came after Myanmar’s envoy to the UN in New York, U Kyaw Moe Tun, broke ranks with the regime during a speech to the General Assembly, during which he opposed the coup and appealed to the world for help to restore democracy in his home country.

Myanmar residents of foreign countries from the West to Asia have urged diplomats to participate in the CDM. They have gathered in front of Myanmar embassies daily, urging diplomats to stand with the people.

Recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled at least 100 staff from missions in at least 19 countries including the US, UK, Norway, China and Japan. On Wednesday, a chancellor at Myanmar’s Los Angeles consulate, Daw Mya Mya Kyi, also joined the CDM, saying she would not follow orders from the military regime, as it is illegitimate.

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