On Thursday a Special Advisory Council for Myanmar(SACM) was formed. The launch took the form of an online press conference.
SACM was formed to provide an international platform for civil society, human rights defenders and activists in Myanmar to make sure their voices are heard by key-decisionmakers during this current time of volatility in Myanmar following the coup on 1 February.
Yanghee Lee, former Special Rapporteur on the situation on human rights in Myanmar and founding member of SACM said at the press conference that the current military government was illegitimate. This she described as ‘a betrayal of the people of Myanmar.’ The millions of people protesting in the sttreets are saying ‘we will never accept the military government.’ The military is terrorising people.
Lee said: ‘ What we are seeing is definitely crimes against humanity committed against security forces against its own people.’ Widespread attack against civilian population and enforced disappearances and murder. ‘The intention to kill is beyond doubt’ said Lee.
Marzuki Darusman founding member of SAC-M, former Chair of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar said: ‘We come together and made a call to assist and support the people of Myanmar.’
Darusman said that the clock is ticking and the alleged crimes are continuing. Apart from torture and murder which meet the criteria of the international crimes, enforced disappearances are also very concerning. Darusman agreed with the Lee that the actions of the junta aimed at civilian community meets the criteria of crimes against humanity.
Darusman said the mission of the new body is to improve the understanding of international community of what is happening in the country. The UN sent up the fact finding commission in atrocities in 2017. What we are seeing now is a continuation of atrocities.
Chris Sidoti, founding member of the SACM said the coup of 1 Feb was a critical event in history of Myanmar but it was not a sudden event. It was consistent with the way military has acted throughout generations. In Rakhine we have experienced death, dislocation and suffering at the hands of the military.
At the same time, said Sidoki over new 200 political prisoners have been detained since 1 February, but there have always been political prisoners in Myanmar. All people of Myanmar are now recognising the military as a dictatorial force.
Sidoto said: ‘We can support and encourage the people of Myanmar as they struggle the people of Myanmar. Our experience enables us to provide support and encouragement and advice. We must put as much pressure as possible on the military leadership to stop economic impoverishment of Myanmar and the enrichment of the generals. We will provide advice to the UN. Governments and civil society and businesses who want to invest so military has money supply cut off. Our aim is to build as much as external pressure on the military so that they will stop. That is our commitment.’
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