Statement on Situation in Myanmar (September 20, 2023)

Republic of the Union of Myanmar

National Unity Government

September 20, 2023.

Statement on Situation in Myanmar 

Since the coup of February 2021, the people of Myanmar have rejected the military rule and come together around a collective vision: “a peaceful federal democratic union will be built ensuring freedom, justice and equality,” as laid out in the Federal Democracy Charter.  Not only have the National Unity Government (NUG), its ethnic allies, and the people of Myanmar are preventing the military from re-imposing its rule and building a new Myanmar from the disaster created by the coup. 

The atrocities of the Myanmar military are well-documented. Since February 2021, nearly 25,000 people have been arrested, of whom over 19,000 remain in prison. More than 4,000 civilians have been confirmed killed by the military. The total death toll is likely much higher. The military has destroyed over 75,000 civilian homes, displacing over 1.9 million people. Ground troops burn villages and food stocks. The military air force systematically bombs schools, hospitals, villages, and civilian gatherings. The military council continue disregarding both the ASEAN 5 Points Consensus and to the UN Security Council Resolution 2669 on Myanmar.

Amid these horrors, the NUG and its allies are not only fighting the military, but also working for systemic change. The Myanmar military views civilians as dispensable. The Myanmar military believes soldiers can always behave with impunity. We are educating the soldiers of our People’s Defense Forces (PDFs) and enforcing a code of conduct. 

One of the primary duties of NUG staff, including PDFs, is to protect people’s lives and property. Despite very limited resources, the Ministry of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management (MOHADM) not only distributes food to the displaced, but also materials on how to survive military attacks, including early warning and building bomb shelters. The PDF help evacuate civilians and constructs shelters. The Ministries of Health and Education build capacity development and supply schools and clinics. The NUG collaborates with civil society and its ethnic revolutionary allies, who also deliver aid and services to communities. To minimize harm to civilians from military council’s operations, the PDF has established public security teams at every level of operation, from headquarters to squadron. 

The NUG and the PDF forces under its command are founded on opposition to military council’s violence and the bullying against civilians. The NUG and revolutionary forces are working hard to make this commitment a reality and ensure that civilians are treated with respect and protected. The NUG and its allies are working to strengthen the chain of command nationwide. The NUG has created and trained the PDF the military Code of Conduct to which all PDF members must adhere. The code follows international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention. The training in international humanitarian law is provided to PDF  members. The NUG is implementing a Zero Tolerance Policy, which punishes those who violate these standards. In areas under its control, the NUG has created a judicial infrastructure. The Ministry of Defense and the PDF are developing military judiciary system. 

Myanmar has suffered multiple coups and long periods of military rule. The NUG, the PDFs, our allies, and the people of Myanmar are collectively committed to ensuring this is not our future. Even as we work to end military rule, we are building a new system of freedom and justice for everyone. We urge the international community to join us in building this new Myanmar, through practical political, economic, and diplomatic assistance for the people of Myanmar.

 National Unity Government