The lapsing of Myanmar’s direct military rule in 2011 after 26 years of tyranny heralded a
new, positive political phase for the peoples of Myanmar. Through democratic
consciousness transcending courage and extraordinary struggles, the peoples of Myanmar
laboured to achieve a transition from military rule into a democratic nation state. Starting
with the victories of the May 1990 elections which the NLD secured, Myanmar’s steady
growth towards a functioning democracy amidst crackdowns on the NLD is commendable
and encouraged.

Therefore, we the undersigned, condemn the seizing of power by Myanmar’s military, the
Tatmadaw, on Monday, February 1st, 2021. We denounce the state of emergency declared
by the Tatmadaw and the detention of elected leaders, human rights defenders and
ordinary citizens. The unilateral declaration of the Tatmadaw to transfer all legislative,
executive and judicial powers to the military is heinous and a horrifying regression for the
democratic reforms thus attained in Myanmar.

The peoples of Myanmar deserve no less in terms of rights, democracy and development.
This recent, shocking turn of events is an affront on the will of the people. The Tatmadaw’s
refusal to accept the November 2020 election results, alleging massive election fraud, is no
basis under any circumstances for the power grab. The National League for Democracy
(NLD)’s landslide victory, unequivocally signals a renewed mandate for the NLD’s continued
governance. The legitimacy of this aspiration cannot be betrayed or vandalised by the
military rule. Usurped power is no democracy at all.

The blatant transgression on Myanmar’s democratic process by the Tatmadaw is
abominable as it departs from their commitment to democracy, human rights and fidelity to
the rule of law. Given Myanmar’s scarred and tumultuous history, the Tatmadaw’s
abandonment of democratic safeguards for the common people of Myanmar is absolutely

An emergency rule is only warranted should any country face a severe crisis labelled to be of
such magnitude that is deemed to cross a threat severity threshold, necessitating urgent,
exceptional and, consequently, temporary actions by the state, which are otherwise not
permissible when normal conditions exist. The mere claim of election fraud falls short of
these high thresholds. A proportionate cause of action for the Tatmadaw should be one
pursued within the perimeters of an election tribunal.

We, the undersigned, thus demand for the immediate release of the duly elected leaders,
human rights defenders and ordinary citizens of Myanmar that are still detained. We also
call upon the Tatmadaw to respect the will of the people and to immediately restore
Myanmar’s democratically elected government.

Endorsing organisations:

1. Pusat KOMAS
2. Academy of Tamil Studies, Malaysia
3. Aliran
4. Beyond Borders Malaysia
5. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
6. Child Development Initiative Malaysia
7. Coalition of Malaysian Indian NGOs
8. Community Action Network (CAN)
9. Council of Temples Malaysia
10. FreedomFilmNetwork (FFN)
11. Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM)
12. Group of Concerned Citizens Malaysia
13. Justice for Sisters
14. The Kuala Lumpur and Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
15. Liberasi
16. Liga Rakyat Demokratik
17. Malaysian Indian Historical Association
18. MISI: Solidariti
19. Muslim Professional Forum (MPF)
20. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
21. Partners of Community Organisation (PACOS)
22. People Like Us Support Ourselves (PLUsos)
23. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (PROHAM)
24. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
25. Pertubuhan IKRAM Malaysia
26. Sabah Women Action-Resource Group
27. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
29. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
30. Tamil Forum Malaysia
31. Undi18
32. UndiSabah

Military policeman in Yangon, 2 February

Photo source: Reuters

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