Press Release (14/2021)

13 September 2021

MYANMAR, September 13, 2021. The Myanmar National Unity Government (NUG) announced the people’s defensive revolution against the military junta on September 7, 2021. It issued an order declaring a State of Emergency in the country, closing all government offices for an indefinite period, and a directive outlining the Code of Conduct for People’s Defense Forces. The announcement was met with overwhelming support from the people.

Min Aung Hlaing’s military junta continues to commit atrocities against the people of Myanmar and has dragged the country into instability and severe economic, humanitarian, and health crises in the last seven months. Immediately after the attempted coup, millions in Myanmar joined non-violent resistance movements and peaceful protests. The military responded with violence, killing more than 1,000 unarmed protesters, arbitrarily detaining more than 7,000 people, looting and destruction of civilian properties, and violating International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws in its offensive operation against ethnic areas. With the illegal and failed coup having entered its eighth month, it is clear that the military junta is not interested in a peaceful political settlement but will continue to use violence in an attempt to gain power.

The NUG, as the legitimate government of Myanmar, has the solemn responsibility to protect the interests and security of our people and bring stability back to the country. With the failure of various political and diplomatic efforts to stop the military’s brutality in the past eight months, local communities are forced to form defense forces and to defend themselves from continuous military atrocities. The NUG restates its commitment to ensuring that needs to create a unified chain of command amongst People’s Defense Forces, respect the NUG’s Code of Conduct which are in line with International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws, and the Geneva Conventions. The NUG has also accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, meaning that all actors in Myanmar can now be held accountable for their actions under the Rome Statute. The NUG is striving to save Myanmar from the root cause of Myanmar’s civil wars and crises—the military. The People’s Defense Forces will play a very important role in reforming Myanmar’s security sector in the future and ensuring the establishment of a Federal Army that respects and follows international law, protects the people, and serves the Federal Democratic Union under civilian rule.

At the same time, the NUG is giving a clear message to the forces of the military that they have a choice – they are ordered to depart immediately from their posts and seek the protection of the People’s Defense Forces and EAOs (Ethnic Armed Organizations). The NUG has invited and continues to invite members of the military and police forces to join with the people and the NUG. The NUG will ensure the security and safety of those who join and of their families, and make arrangements for those who wish to continue their duties as soldiers.

The NUG, as the legitimate government of Myanmar, appreciates and recognizes various international efforts in support of Myanmar, and will continue its own efforts to engage the international community and respect international laws in implementing our goals and objectives. We note however, that, by default, the military has been invited to officially participate in some international meetings by some States, and is forging military and economic deals with some other countries thereby illegally encroaching on the legitimacy of the NUG as the sole representative of the people of Myanmar. In addition, the military has rejected the efforts of many international organizations and agencies to deliver health aid to the people, causing countless needless deaths from COVID-19, while generating instability and health crises across the region. The international community obviously cannot be relied upon to intercede on behalf of the democracy movement and secure the safety and well-being of the people of Myanmar from the frontal and brutal assault of the military junta. For that reason, the last seven months have clearly shown that national solidarity and collective action will be the most effective way to end the coup, chaos, and instability caused by the military.

As the people continue to resist military rule, escalation of violence from the military is inevitable. The excessive and deadly force already used against peaceful protesters by the military has driven young people to take up a force-ready self-defensive revolution. The people across Myanmar have already formed the defense groups and initiated the defense activities, and the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs) are preparing to defend themselves from military forces entering into their areas to attack villages. PDF have joined hands with the EAOs in their various states and regions to develop more coordinated defense plans.

The NUG calls for the unity of all the people of Myanmar to uproot the military oppressors – the perpetrators of violence against the people – for good and to establish a peaceful federal democratic union that fully safeguards equality, freedom, inclusion and democracy for all. It further calls on the international community to recognize the NUG as the legitimate government of the people. As such, the NUG will listen to the demands of the people of Myanmar and respond to their need for protection from the military’s brutality. We acknowledge and accept our right and our duty to defend the people.