National Unity Government (NUG) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Address to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit 2021
Date: October 22, 2021
The National Unity Government (NUG) of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar extends its greetings and good wishes to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit 2021.
The NUG expresses its appreciation to the ASEAN Member States for their continued efforts to resolve the military junta-induced crises in Myanmar. These crises – political, economic, humanitarian, and human rights – constitute a grave threat to regional security and the interests of ASEAN Members and their populations.
The NUG regrets, however, that I, the Acting President of the NUG, am unable to be present at the Summit in person to deliver this address. The decision of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers on 15 October 2021 to reject the representatives of the illegal military junta is welcome. However, it follows that an invitation should have been extended to the NUG. As for the interim step of inviting a “non-political” representative, the NUG remains of the strong view that it is for Myanmar alone to determine its representatives and that this decision must rest with the NUG as the legitimate Government.
The NUG is constituted of and was established by parliamentarians elected democratically less than a year ago and it enjoys the popular support of the Myanmar people. The United Nations Security Council, the General Assembly, and the Secretary-General have affirmed the continuing authority of our President U Win Myint and our State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Furthermore, the NUG’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations continues to represent Myanmar in the United Nations fora.
The NUG stands ready to partner with ASEAN in restoring democracy to Myanmar and stability to our region. We welcome the concerted efforts of Special Envoy Erywan Yusof and thank him for those efforts. We have been cooperating fully with him and will continue to do so. In line with the Five-Point Consensus, we are committed to working with ASEAN to secure the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.
While the NUG extends these commitments to you, the military junta is doing everything possible to undermine ASEAN. It has reneged on its commitments, and it has sabotaged the Special Envoy’s efforts. It has weaponized COVID-19 with a deadly intent that threatens the entire region.
And as I address you today, the military junta is massing troops in preparation for an escalation of the slaughter. Frustrated by its failure, the military has defaulted to the methods it knows best – terrorism and brutality. ASEAN will be forced to bear witness to what follows, as it has in the past – murder, torture, sexual violence, disappearances, and displacement, potentially on an unprecedented scale in modern Myanmar. Only a determined, unflinching regional and international response will prevent it.
The NUG will continue to serve in a way true to its name: it will govern the nation in unity. Alongside an inclusive National Unity Consultative Council, we are committed to the shared vision of a peaceful Federal Democratic Union grounded in freedom, justice, and equality. On this foundation, the NUG has developed its roadmap to full democracy over three stages: an interim period, a transition period, and, ultimately, the full achievement of Federal Democracy.
We are currently in the interim period and will remain so until a democratic civilian government is restored. This does not mean the generals trading their military fatigues for the civilian dress. It means NUG governance.
In the nine months since the failed military coup d’état, the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) has enacted a Federal Democracy Charter, constituted a National Unity Consultative Council, and appointed a representative democratic Government. Collectively, we have strived to address the shameful failures of the past, most notably, atrocities against the Rohingya and other minorities. We have actively pursued accountability, empowering the International Criminal Court’s investigations and pledging support to the deliberations of the International Court of Justice. We have established diplomatic relations with States. And, while calling on the people to rise and defend themselves against the junta’s atrocities, we have been direct in insisting that all defensive actions must respect international norms; this is our obligation, and it distinguishes us from the terrorist military.
In the NUG, you have a partner committed to the Myanmar people, committed to working with its ASEAN partners, committed to the development, and committed to stability and the betterment and prosperity of our region. We will advance the constitutional process, we will rebuild the economy, we will restructure the security services and bring them under full civilian control, and we will place at the heart of these efforts’ inclusion, acceptance, justice, and equality.
The military junta, for its part, will continue to bring you war and plague that spills across borders and seas and undermines regional and international peace and security. It will offer you empty promises and bring continued shame and strife to our region.
The NUG, therefore, calls on its ASEAN partners:
1. to acknowledge us as the legitimate representative of the people of Myanmar.
2. to coordinate with us urgently in delivering humanitarian aid and medical care to the rapidly rising number of people in desperate need; and
3. to assist us in starving the military junta – of its weapons, of its cash, of its impunity. The damage wrought on the Myanmar people is harm inflicted on all the peoples of ASEAN.
The NUG stands committed to Myanmar’s responsibilities as an ASEAN Member State and to working together to meet our common interests of peace and prosperity. The NUG also hopes that ASEAN Summit will become the starting point of a new democratic transition in Myanmar. Together we can resolve this multi-dimensional, junta-induced crisis for our people and the region.
I thank you.
National Unity Government
Republic of the Union of Myanmar