UNITED NATIONS – Myanmar’s military rulers are again seeking to replace the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, who on February 1 opposed the removal of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the government’s takeover.
Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he has appointed Aung Thurin, who left the army this year after 26 years, as the UN Ambassador to Myanmar. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Lwin said in an accompanying letter that Kyaw Mo Tun, the currently recognized UN ambassador to Myanmar, “has been terminated on February 27, 2021 due to abuse of his assigned duty and mandate.”
In a dramatic speech at a General Assembly meeting in Myanmar on February 26 – weeks after the military takeover – Tun appealed for “the strongest possible action from the international community” to restore democracy in the country. He called on all countries to strongly condemn the coup, refuse to recognize military rule, and call on military leaders to respect the November 2020 elections won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.
“We will continue to fight for a government that is of the people, by the people, for the people,” Tun said in a speech, to loud applause from diplomats in the assembly hall, who called it powerful, brave and courageous.
The army’s previous attempt to remove Tun failed and no action has been reported on the foreign minister’s letter dated 12 May.
The 193-member General Assembly is in charge of recognizing diplomats. The request for recognition must first go to its nine-member Credits Committee, which this year is made up of Cameroon, China, Iceland, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, the United States and Uruguay.
UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said that as far as he understands, no meeting of the Credentials Committee has been scheduled.
In June, the United Nations said that the Secretary-General indicated that the results of November’s election, which gave Suu Kyi’s party a strong second mandate, should be upheld.
The London-based Myanmar Accountability Project condemned the military’s efforts to replace Tun as well as Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Kyaw Zwar Min, who also remained loyal to Suu Kyi. The Guardian newspaper reported in April that Min remained in limbo after being locked outside the London embassy by his deputy and the country’s military attaché.
The Guardian quoted Min as saying that his friends and relatives in Myanmar had been forced into hiding and did not feel safe in the ambassador’s residence, which he also occupied at the time.
Chris Gunnes, director of the Myanmar Accountability Project, said the military is seeking to replace Min with former fighter pilot Hatton Aung Kyaw.
Both Thurin and Kyaw have strong military backgrounds that are “ugly reading”, Gunness said, adding that Thurin’s remaining in the military until 2021 strongly suggests he served during the February 1 military takeover and subsequent action. .
He called it “a disgrace to the world body” that the military is seeking to send to the United Nations “with a strong ties to an institution with blood on his hands and who was accused of genocide in The Hague even before the coup.” was imposed.”
An investigation set up by the United Nations has recommended the prosecution of Myanmar’s top military commanders on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for the 2017 military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, which forced 700,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Compelled to.
In January 2020, the United Nations top court in The Hague, Netherlands, ordered Myanmar to do everything possible to prevent genocide against the Rohingya still in Myanmar. The International Court of Justice’s decision came despite an appeal by Suu Kyi to judges amid her denial of genocide by the armed forces.
Gunness said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other leaders have condemned the coup and that Britain and its allies have imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s military leaders and their business interests. He said it would be “a gross double standard and a moral outrage” for the government to recognize Kyaw, adding that he does not represent legitimate government and “serves in an army that deals with war crimes and crimes against humanity”. are accused of crimes.”
He also urged Britain to use its influence in the United Nations to ensure that the Credentials Committee does not recognize Thurin.