The military regime has dismissed Myanmar Ambassador to the United Nations U Kyaw Moe Tun following his address to an informal UN General Assembly meeting on Friday in which he supported the democratically elected government and denounced the military’s seizure of power.
In an announcement signed by the regime-appointed Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it accused the ambassador of committing “high treason” for representing the elected parliamentarians’ Committee Representing the Union Parliament (CPRH) at the UN meeting in New York. (The Union Parliament is known as the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in Burmese.) The CRPH was formed on Feb. 5; a majority of the MPs elected in the November general election swore themselves in this month after being prevented from taking their rightful seats in the Parliament in Naypyitaw by the military coup.
The ambassador sided with the toppled National League for Democracy government and spoke on behalf of the millions of people in Myanmar who oppose the military coup. He asked the international community not to cooperate with the regime and to help remove it so that power can be restored to the elected governemnt.
Deaf to the voices of the peaceful protesters, the regime launched even more brutal crackdowns on Saturday and Sunday, following growing nationwide protests as well as its humiliation on the international stage by the ambassador’s speech.
As of Sunday morning a total of at least 18 people had been shot dead by police firing on peaceful protesters.
U Kyaw Moe Tun’s speech on Friday brought hope to millions of citizens who oppose the regime and demand the restoration of the democratically elected government. He received rousing applause from the UN General Assembly and his speech was wholeheartedly welcomed by protesters at home.
The military detained Myanmar’s elected civilian leaders, including President U Win Myint and State Counselor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as it staged a predawn coup on Feb. 1, citing its claims of voter list irregularities. It has since brought charges against them.
The regime has also imposed an 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew, reimposed draconian laws to restrict privacy and freedom of expression, and arbitrarily arrested anti-coup protesters every day.
Defying its unjust laws, millions of citizens nationwide including civil servants have joined the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM), staging demonstrations and calling for the release of the detained leaders. The CRPH enjoys widespread support among the protesters as their legitimate representatives and government.
The regime said on Saturday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had instructed all Myanmar missions abroad “not to accept, reply and make any comments on communication such as e-mail and correspondence from the CRPH,” accusing the committee of “committing destructive acts.”
The MOFA announced, “Ambassador / Permanent Representative U Kyaw Moe Tun did not comply with the instruction from the ministry and committed the act of high treason.”
The regime’s governing body, the State Administrative Council, has also threatened to take action against elected lawmakers who do not disavow their MP status, saying any credentials issued by the previous Union Election Commissioners are invalid. The NLD won November’s election by a landslide, taking 83 percent of the votes.
The SAC warned the MPs “who do not want to participate in the CRPH can report in person” to the respective governing councils from Sunday to March 6 and threatened those who failed to do so with “serious action”.
A few ethnic political parties that won seats in last year’s vote, such as the Arakan National Party and the Mon Unity Party, have joined hands with the SAC, as has the former leader of Kayah State Democratic Party and a former member of the NLD. Dozens of other parties who failed to win seats in last year’s election have also joined the regime’s governing body.
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