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United Nations Must Not Be Cowed By Myanmar Junta, Stand With Kyaw Moe Tun

March 3, 2021

Yangon, Myanmar, February 9, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

There are times when the international community must stand for their collective principles, or fall in a most disgraceful way. Such is the case now playing out at the United Nations.

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York has formally staked his claim as the country’s legitimate representative while the junta seeks to replace him. Let me be most clear with this matter in saying there is no wiggle room. No gray colors. No corners to hide in. This is a stark divide between right and wrong. Law and order versus a coup.

This weekend in another shameless display of coup-power Myanmar state television announced that Kyaw Moe Tun had been fired for betraying the country. Pray tell, what did this man do to warrant such a public demotion? This past week he had the audacity to publicly and without any doubt in his tone state that nations around the globe should use “any means necessary” to reverse a coup that unsettled Myanmar in February. It was at that time the junta removed that nation’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The ambassador is not going silently into the night, and it must be the resolve of the international community to make sure that a deputy, Tin Maung Naing, is not allowed to be seated and act as a U.N. envoy. At stake is a principle that must be abided by concerning this matter. It is one a fourth grader could grasp.

The junta, who think they call the plays, must feel the gravity of the international community in hearing a complete repudiation of their attempt to replace an ambassador named by the duly elected and legitimate authority of that country.

We all can readily agree that this scenario is not one that occurs every day and that there are no files to be pulled with other such vivid examples providing language already drafted and only needing to be updated for the Myanmar case. But what is not new to the ones who use their levers of power at the UN is the legal and ethical codes of how to act when a legitimate leader is removed by force and bloodshed.

The only avenue available to the international community is to not bend one iota when dealing with the junta in Myanmar. The UN must stand with the legitimate authority of that nation, which resides within the person of Kyaw Moe Tun. There must be no compromising on this matter. No one should be seeking a less well-lit room so as to hide.

I await the firm hand of the world body’s 193 member states.

And so it goes.

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