State Administration Council
Nay Pyi Taw, 2 April 2021
1. At the UN Security Council session held on 31 March 2021, the remarks by Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Myanmar Ms Christine Schraner Burgener were a far cry from reality and could delay and destabilize the efforts by the State Administration Council to establish a genuine and disciplined multiparty democracy.
2. The statements made by Ms Burgener have no basis in reality and the State Administration Council refutes the claims made by Ms Burgener as reported by UN News on 31 March 2021, including the following: (a) that “widespread, systemic attacks on civilians in Myanmar were orchestrated by leaders of the military coup”; (b) that “On Saturday, Armed Forces Day, security forces turned against their own citizens, brutally killing 100 people, including children, both on the streets and in their homes”; (c) that lives that could be saved under normal circumstances were being lost, a banking collapse “appears imminent”, and shockwaves to businesses have “toppled the supply chain while fundamentally impacting the labour force”; (d) that there is increased “possibility of civil war at an unprecedented scale”; that “the whole country is on the verge of spiralling into a failed State” and that “Military leaders have clearly shown they are not capable of managing the country”; and (e) that “the ground situation will only worsen”, and that “a bloodbath is imminent”.
3. Ms Burgener’s remarks contravene the basic principles of sovereignty, and the fact that the United Nations is meant to work towards peace and stability of the world’s nations. Moreover, Ms Burgener’s remarks are inaccurate and misleading, with regard to the current situation in Myanmar, which is as follows:
(a) On 1 February 2021, the Tatmadaw took over state duties. Security forces did not prevent or otherwise intervene in the peaceful protests that followed. It was only from 9 February onwards when the protests became violent, with rioting, that security forces implemented measures of riot control, keeping to international norms for crowd and riot control by exercising utmost restraint and using the least force and the lowest level of response possible in each situation. The protests increased in violence only after the Committee Representing Pyithu Hluttaw (CRPH) was formed. Starting from the last week of February, the riots intensified into anarchic mobs who became extremely violent, setting up barricades of public roads, and committing arson. No country can tolerate such violence and anarchy, and the security forces had to prevent and control the mobs using riot control methods systematically. After the first week of March, NLD supporters changed to a deliberate strategy of armed insurrection, including armed attacks on members of the security forces, armed raids on police stations, arson attacks on factories and industrial buildings. Security forces dealt with these in accordance with the law. Ms Burgener did not mention the violence instigated by the NLD and its supporters, and that the protests had turned into armed insurgency. Therefore, her remarks are inaccurate, biased, and one-sided. Statistics show that the whole country did not support the NLD in these acts: even on the day of the “five twos” (22 /2/2021), when the NLD claimed that the whole country demonstrated, less than 9% of the population were involved. NLD supporters have exaggerated the situation with help from the media.
(b) Tatmadaw Day (March 27) was designated as National People’s Revolution Day by the CRPH and its insurgents to incite acts of sabotage. Ms Burgener did not even mention the threats and incitements or the ensuing arson attacks and armed violence by the insurgents and only mentioned the reports of casualties that resulted from the crackdown on armed violence. Ms Burgener did not object to the fact that the protesters used minors on the streets. The Tatmadaw has never suppressed or hidden the reports of casualties: instead, all deaths are being investigated in accordance with police procedures.
(c) Ms Burgener never mentions the deaths that have resulted from the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM). Some doctors have refused to work or ordered their staff not to work. The CDM also threatens health staff who wish to work with social punishment, harassment, and other attacks. This has led to close-down of certain hospitals and clinics. People who would not die in normal times have died. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Yangon General Hospital had 89,072 in-patients and 6,475 patient deaths, meaning 539 deaths on average per month. Currently the Yangon General Hospital is unable to fully function due to the actions of some doctors. Nationwide, the refusal of certain health staff who have joined the CDM by not going to work to treat their patients, or not allowing other staff to work, have led to a significant number of deaths, especially among the poor who cannot afford private health care. Nationwide, the Tatmadaw is making efforts to address the gaps in health care services by opening up military hospitals and clinics to the public free of cost. To date, Tatmadaw health facilities have treated 112,625 out-patients and 35,700 in-patients, provided delivery care to 7,074 mothers, and successfully delivered 7,074 newborns.
(d) After independence in 1948, the Myanmar government was mocked and derided as the “Yangon government” because of crises and instability in the country. This is not the case now. Some armed groups who violated the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) launched attacks on army and police posts in some border areas. Accordingly, the Tatmadaw retaliated against these armed groups. Ms Burgener paints a false picture of imminent civil war.
(e) Ms Burgener ignores the fact that there is stability and security in the majority of areas in the country (as shown by the 2020 elections) and exaggerates events to call Myanmar a country “on the verge of spiralling into a failed State”, which is far from the reality.
(f) The government machinery is now running smoothly due to measures taken by the State Administration Council. Ms Burgener has ignored this fact and has made one-sided accusations against Myanmar’s military leadership.
(g) Now, the State Administration Council has accused the military leaders of ignoring the systematic implementation of the administration for the sake of peace and stability in the country.
4. Regretfully, Ms Christine Schraner Burgener presented a report that was based on biased news sources far from reality to the United Nations Security Council. As the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Myanmar, Ms Burgener had been expected to provide an accurate unbiased report on Myanmar. Instead, she has violated UN principles by making one-sided and inflammatory accusations against a sovereign state.