Tatmadaw Prohibits Use of Military Ranks for Non-State Armed Groups

By Kyaw Kha 26 July 2017

YANGON — The Tatmadaw Information Team released a statement on Wednesday prohibiting the usage of military ranks employed by the Myanmar Army for non-state armed organizations.

The statement was shared on the Facebook page of the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing.

“We hereby declare that military ranks, which are entitled only for military personnel of the Tatmadaw (Army, Navy and Air), are not to be used in reference to persons of other unconcerned organizations; and that military ranks are to be used correctly in line with existing laws,” reads the statement.

According to the statement, the law restricting the usage of military ranks was enacted in 1989 under the State Law and Order Restoration Council, and was amended on October 7, 2014 in the Union Parliament under the former U Thein Sein-led government.

Chapter 1, Article 2(a) and (b) state that military ranks refer to “the ranks designated for the Tatmadaw (Army, Navy and Air),” according to the statement.

The statement cited Burmese dailies such as Kyeemon, The Standard Time, Daily Eleven and The Voice as referring to the economic in-charge of Lawayang People’s Militia Naw Hsan as Major Naw Hsan in reports about a bomb explosion in front of a teashop in Bhamo District, Kachin State on July 22. Naw Hsan died in the incident.

Likewise, other dailies, journals and news agencies called him Langai Naw Hsan, indicating the rank of major, said the statement.

Such usage is wrong, the statement explained, adding that there are no specific ranks in people’s militias which can be referenced in line with law, and that the individuals can only be called leaders, members, or part of a supervisory group.

The statement also applies to the signatories and non-signatories of the nationwide ceasefire agreement, said director of Public Relations and Psychological Warfare Maj-Gen Aung Ye Win of the Ministry of Defense.

“In fact, [military ranks like] Major and Major General are not official in the other [armed groups]. [Non-state armed groups] are not allowed to use them, I mean, according to our law,” he told The Irrawaddy.