15 September was designated as the International Day of Democracy by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, which passed a resolution encouraging governments to strengthen and consolidate democracy. In particular the reference was made to Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
In the lead up to the International Day of Democracy 2021, trade unions are mobilizing internationally to call on the United Nations General Assembly to support democracy in Myanmar when the 76th session opens on 14 September.
In the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly the military State Administration Council (SAC) will try to get recognition as the legitimate government of Myanmar. The 193 member states of the United Nations must overwhelmingly reject any recognition of the military government.
The government representatives to the United Nations General Assembly must be consistent with its previous decisions. The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on 18 June 2021 condemning the violent repression by the military in Myanmar. Only one country – the brutally oppressive regime of Belarus – voted against the resolution.
The government representatives to the United Nations General Assembly must also recall the resolution passed by the International Labour Conference on 19 June 2021.
Trade unions in Myanmar and internationally are calling on the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the National Unity Government (NUG) as the democratic government of Myanmar and as its legitimate representative in the United Nations system. This occurs in a context where the National Unity Government adopted the Federal Democracy Charter in April which states in its goal and objectives in Chapter 1:
To bring an end to the conflicts and problematic root causes in the Union, to ensure all ethnic nationalities – population can participate and collaborate and to build a prosperous Federal Democracy
Union where all citizens can live peacefully, share the common destiny and live harmoniously together; a Federal Democracy Union where democracy is exercised and equal rights and self-determination are
guaranteed, all ethnic nationalities of the Union, all citizens enjoy mutual recognition and respect, mutual friendship and support and solidarity based on freedom, equality and justice, we intend to carry out the following activities:
1. Eradication of dictatorship;
2. Ultimate Abolishment of 2008 Constitution;
3. Building Federal Democracy Union; and
4. Emergence of Public Government.
This is based on acknowledgement of the failures of the past and a commitment to full recognition of the rights of all ethnic groups and an end to the persecution of the Rohingya people. If the National Unity Government (NUG) fulfills this commitment then it is the basis for restoring the path democratic transition in Myanmar.
In the lead-up to the International Day of Democracy 2021, trade unions will call on all governments to ensure that the United Nations General Assembly lives up to the principles of freedom and democracy by rejecting the military State Administration Council (SAC) and recognizing the National Unity Government (NUG).