Three Years of Myanmar Revolution: Time to Stand on the Right Side of History

February 1st, 2024  •  Category Statements

1 February 2024: The international community must formally recognise Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) and establish a special tribunal to prosecute the military for the commission of international crimes, says the Special Advisory Council for Myanmar (SAC-M).

SAC-M hosted an online panel discussion “Emerging Realities in Myanmar: What Can the International Community Do?” to mark the third anniversary of the start of the 2021 military coup in Myanmar, which sparked the Spring Revolution.

His Excellency Duwa Lashi La, Acting President of the NUG, opened the event by addressing the historic successes of recent revolutionary offensives against the military junta.

“The Spring Revolution’s military triumphs have shattered a decades-old myth: that the Myanmar people can never topple the military,” said H.E. Duwa Lashi La. “This has now been replaced by the evident truth that the criminal military will never crush the will of our people.”

The junta has responded to its mounting territorial losses with intensified aerial bombardment and indiscriminate shelling of towns and villages under resistance control and in contested areas.

“The junta’s collapse is inevitable. The real question is when, not if, and how much devastation will occur before the end,” said Marzuki Darusman, SAC-M founding member.

The humanitarian impact of the junta’s persistent attacks is enormous and growing at an increasing rate, yet international assistance is limited.

“Every aspect of people’s basic needs – food, shelter, health care – is an emergency need right now,” said Esther Ze Naw Bamvo, a leading Kachin social justice advocate. “Almost all of the citizens from cities in conflict areas have moved to [Ethnic Revolutionary Organisation]-controlled areas. If the international community wants to provide direct support to the Myanmar people, they should find ways to contact and work with local [civil society organisations] and those organizations who are working in these areas.”

Action must be taken to apply pressure on the junta to cut its capacity to commit atrocities and other human rights violations, said SAC-M. Ending the military’s impunity was highlighted in particular.

“I believe that establishing a special criminal tribunal for Myanmar is the path forward that we all need to pursue,” said appeals prosecutor Martin Witteveen. “Accountability and criminal law will not solve every problem, but without a credible accountability, the problem will certainly not be solved.”

At the same time, action must be taken to support the democratic movement and facilitate the realisation of the Myanmar peoples’ clearly expressed democratic will and aspirations.

SAC-M founding member Yanghee Lee called on the international community to recognise the NUG as the legitimate government of Myanmar: “The NUG are not a shadow government and they are not a government in exile. The NUG is the de facto government and the legitimate government.”

Marzuki Darusman echoed this call: “It is clear that it is time for the international community to get off the fence and fully back the people and their representatives in the form of the NUG and the [National Unity Consultative Council]. This is the way forward to peace, stability, and democracy—no less than what Myanmar deserves.”

H.E. Duwa Lahsi La, in his closing remarks, urged the international community to join the Myanmar people as they stand firm in their resolve to deliver a truly federal Myanmar that is united, free and fair. 

“There is still time for the international community – ASEAN, the UN, our neighbours and other nations – to stand with us on the right side of history.”

Download the English language version of the statement: SAC-M PR Third Anniversary ENGLISH