The IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Organization condemns the military coup in Myanmar and supports the calls of the people of Myanmar to immediately and unconditionally release all detained political party leaders and elected representatives, journalists, writers and human rights defenders. The Tatmadaw [Myanmar military] must stand down from all elected government positions, withdraw from political and civilian affairs, and end their economic activities. They must go back to barracks!

We express our solidarity and support for the widespread civil disobedience across the country that demonstrates the rejection of military rule by the people and the desire for democracy to be restored.

The censorship by the Union Election Commission (UEC), any alleged voting irregularities, and restrictions on political parties participating in the November 2020 elections should be investigated through fair and transparent judicial means and comply with international human rights instruments. Similarly, the exclusion of over 2.6 million voters based on ethnicity should be investigated by the appropriate civilian authorities in line with internationally recognized human rights.

It is the right of the people of Myanmar to express their free will in accordance with the International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights (Article 25), including the right to elect and be elected, and free and fair elections. These political and civil rights must be exercised “without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

While the immediate goal is to end the military coup and restore civilian government, this threat to Myanmar’s fragile democracy reminds us that freedom of expression and freedom of assembly are vital to democracy. The legal and political restrictions existing before the coup should also end.

To ensure democracy and democratic rights, workers must have the genuine right to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, unhindered by administrative restrictions, judicial bias and collusion between authorities and employers. These rights can no longer be put on hold in the transition to democracy. These rights are essential to building democracy.

The collusion between the civilian authorities, business tycoons and the Tatmadaw in land grabbing must end. The land rights of displaced small and marginal farmers must be restored. Large-scale mining operations and plantations involving land grabbing must end and land must be returned to small and marginal farmers and their communities. This is vital for democracy and the restoration of democratic rights.

We once again call for action to enforce the recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in 2018 and 2019. Accountability can only be enforced if the Tatmadaw is isolated financially, removing the sources of revenue and economic interests that are the basis for its autonomy and impunity. The basis for this coup. Concerted international action must be taken to isolate the Tatmadaw financially and to force its withdraw from economic activities.

End the coup! Back to barracks!