Good morning, esteemed representatives and guests,
My name is Mercy Chriesty Barends, and I am the Chairperson of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights and a Member of Parliament in Indonesia. I send my warmest greetings to you all today and my regrets for being unable to attend the International Day of Democracy and deliver my remarks to you this morning.
The Committee Representing Pyiduangsu Hluttaw has continued to promote international cooperation to restore and reshape democracy, foster peace and stability, and build a federal democratic state. APHR sees the work being done and led by the CRPH and commends your efforts and courage. Myanmar’s democracy is under attack by the military junta. And so, we must acknowledge the power of the resistance movement. The people of Myanmar have been forced to endure the horrors and brutality of the regime for decades. The Spring Revolution, for many, has been a turning point.
People of all ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds have united in their shared pursuits to defeat the military junta. Myanmar’s dictators have tried to cement their rule by undermining and dismissing democratic norms and principles. But democratic forces, including ethnic revolution organizations, civil society organizations, and long-time rights defenders, refuse to forfeit their fundamental rights and freedoms.
It has been nearly three years since the failed coup in Myanmar. Since then, the human rights situation has rapidly descended into deeply concerning levels of violence deployed against a largely unarmed civilian population at the direction of the same individuals who claim they are committed to peace and democracy. We all know that this is not true, and so do the people of Myanmar who have impassionately and courageously rejected the coup and the military proponents who have enabled the erosion of human rights and the rule of law. The courage of the Myanmar people cannot be dismissed nor overlooked.
Within the country, civilians continue to suffer the most and are making sacrifices at the cost of their freedom to ensure the next generation is free from military rule. We cannot ignore their calls and must not underestimate the immense suffering on the ground. While it may seem like an impossible mission, the people of Myanmar have not given up, and we must do them justice by not looking away.
Last year, APHR initiated the International Parliamentary Inquiry (IPI) on Myanmar from pro-democracy parliamentarians across Africa, America, Asia and Europe. We also continue to facilitate and support dialogue between the pro-democracy forces and ethnic organizations in Myanmar and capacity-building programs. We believe in engaging all democratic stakeholders, including the long-persecuted ethnic people, including the Rohingya who endured a genocide.
On behalf of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, we stand in solidarity with our friends inside the country and with our esteemed networks who share our commitment to a free, fair, and democratic Myanmar. Lastly, we call upon the international community to unite and collaborate for democracy and human rights in the country.