Advocacy letter

Call on INTERPOL to ban the illegal junta from representing Myanmar at its General Assembly

Dear INTERPOL President Kim Jong Yang
INTERPOL Vice Presidents Benyamina Abbad and Šárka Havránková
INTERPOL General Secretary Jürgen Stock
INTERPOL Executive Committee Delegates
Khaled Jameel Al Materyeen
Ahmed Nasser Al-Raisi
Jean-Jacques Colombi
Rogerio Galloro
Robert Guirao Bailén
Destino Pedro
Olushola Kamar Subair
Jannine Van den Berg
and Member Countries

We, the undersigned 259 organizations, call on INTERPOL to immediately ban the Myanmar military junta from representing Myanmar as a member of INTERPOL. We demand you ensure that the military junta is excluded from the upcoming 89th INTERPOL General Assembly and all benefits and future cooperation that membership entails.

According to media reports, the Myanmar military junta’s police force is currently representing Myanmar in INTERPOL and its members, led by the Head of Police and Deputy Home Affairs Minister Lieutenant-General Than Hlaing, will act as delegates for the Myanmar government at the INTERPOL General Assembly. This is a matter of grave concern to us and raises serious credibility issues for INTERPOL itself for the following reasons:

  1. The military junta does not represent the government of Myanmar. The international community has refused to recognise the military junta as the legitimate government of Myanmar and has prevented members of the military junta from participating in international forums including the UN General Assembly, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and the ASEAN Summit.

  2. The attempted coup on 1 February 2021, under the leadership of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing by violent means violated the Myanmar Constitution, international law and the principle of rule of law.

  3. The head of the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar recently stated that since the attempted coup the Myanmar military junta’s widespread and systematic attack on the civilian population amounts to crimes against humanity.

  4. The Special Advisory Council for Myanmar, composed of international experts including former members of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar and a former Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, has recently argued that, in addition to crimes against humanity, the Myanmar military is engaging in terrorism and should be classified as a terrorist organization.

  5. Lt. General Than Hlaing, as the junta’s Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and Chief of Police, is directly responsible for decision making concerning repressive policies and violent actions committed by police against peaceful demonstrators and is therefore responsible for serious human rights violations in Myanmar/Burma.

  6. For this and other reasons, Lt. General Than Hlaing has been placed by the European Union under a travel ban and asset freeze as of 3 March 2021.

  7. Targeted sanctions against Lt. General Than Hlaing also remain in place by the US, UK, and Canada (overview with links here).

  8. Lt General Than Hlaing has been appointed to lead operations in Chin State. Escalating military attacks against civilians there and in Sagaing and Magwe Regions have caused rights groups to draw similarities to “clearance operations” used to violently oppress the ethnic Rohingya population – now at issue in the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice

INTERPOL’s vision is to connect police for a “safer world” and to support security for the world’s citizens. The people of Myanmar are in dire need of safety and security. The single biggest threat to their security is the Myanmar military junta, who is attempting to represent Myanmar in INTERPOL and use the General Assembly as a platform for political gain and international legitimacy. This will embolden the Myanmar military to continue to commit international crimes with blanket impunity.

We note that countering the threat of terrorism is the first of INTERPOL’s seven Global Policing Goals, and INTERPOL has a responsibility to counter and disrupt terrorism wherever it occurs, including in Myanmar.

We draw your attention to condemnation by the UN Security Council regarding the junta following the February 2021 coup, including a November 2021 statement by the Council’s President Juan Ramón de la Fuente Ramírez citing “deep concern at further recent violence across Myanmar”.

We note that upholding human rights is central to INTERPOL’s mandate. We implore you to meet the commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated in Article 2 of the Constitution of the ICPO-INTERPOL. Recognizing the Myanmar military junta, responsible for systemic and grave human rights violations would be a clear violation of this article.

We appeal to you to adhere to INTERPOL’s commitment to political neutrality stated in Article 3 of the INTERPOL Constitution. Awarding an unlawful military junta that lacks domestic and international recognition with legitimacy would violate this article, and amount to a partisan intervention that would embolden the military to continue to commit international crimes with total impunity.

Instead of legitimizing the military junta through INTERPOL membership, we appeal to you to uphold international law by supporting the ongoing investigation at the International Criminal Court concerning crimes of genocide against the Rohingya, and future investigations, to bring all perpetrators of Myanmar atrocities to account. The Myanmar military must be recognized as a terrorist organization, not recognized as representatives of the Myanmar people who are the very victims of the junta’s daily barrage of violence that INTERPOL aims to protect.

We therefore call on INTERPOL to:

  • Ban the Myanmar military junta from INTERPOL, including the 89th General Assembly.

  • Support efforts to bring Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, Lt Gen Than Hlaing and all other perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice by identifying and arresting suspects.

  • Take all measures available to prevent the Myanmar military junta’s continued acts of terrorism by disrupting terrorism movement and tracing and disrupting their international revenue and arms supply networks.

At this fragile and crucial time in Myanmar, INTERPOL and their member countries must act in the interests of the safety and security of Myanmar people, victims and survivors of crime and in accordance with international law and norms.

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For more information, please contact:

Khin Ohmar, Progressive Voice, [email protected]

Veronica Pedrosa, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, [email protected]

Annie Boyajian, Freedom House, [email protected]

 

Signed by:

  1. 8888 Generation (New Zealand)

  2. Action Committee for Democracy Development

  3. Activists Group for Human Rights ‘BARAM’

  4. Albany Karen Community, Albany

  5. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress

  6. All Burma Democratic Face in New Zealand

  7. ALL FOR LITTLE ONE

  8. Alliance for Gender Inclusion in Peace Process (AGIPP)

  9. Alternative Solutions for Rural Communities (ASORCOM)

  10. ALTSEAN-Burma

  11. Arizona Kachin Community

  12. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights – APHR

  13. Asia Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)

  14. Asian Dignity Initiative

  15. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners

  16. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters

  17. Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization

  18. Auckland Kachin Community NZ

  19. Auckland Zomi Community

  20. B-Farm

  21. Blood Money Campaign

  22. Boat People SOS

  23. Burma Action Ireland

  24. Burma Campaign UK

  25. Burma Human Rights Network

  26. Burma Rohingya Organisation UK

  27. Burmese Relief Center - Japan

  28. Burmese Rohingya Welfare Organisation New Zealand

  29. Burmese Women’s Union

  30. Calgary Karen Community Association (CKCA)

  31. California Kachin Community

  32. Campaign for a New Myanmar

  33. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights Committee (CENTRAL)

  34. Chin Community of Auckland

  35. CHRF

  36. Christian Solidarity Worldwide

  37. Citizen of Burma Award-New Zealand

  38. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

  39. Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia (CAMSA)

  40. Committee for Free and Fair Elections in Cambodia (COMFREL)

  41. Committee for Religions Freedom in Vietnam

  42. COVIL

  43. CRPH & NUG Supporters Austria

  44. CRPH & NUG Supporters Ireland

  45. CRPH Funding Ireland

  46. Dallas Kachin Community

  47. DANA

  48. Decency & Clarity

  49. DEEKU-Karenni Community of Amarillo, TX

  50. Democracy for Myanmar - Working Group (NZ)

  51. Democracy, Peace and Women’s Organization – DPW

  52. DONEUIDONG

  53. Dongjadong Sarangbang

  54. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization

  55. Education Community Woorijari Social Cooperation

  56. Equality Myanmar

  57. European Karen Network

  58. Federal Myanmar Benevolence Group (NZ)

  59. Federation of General Workers Myanmar

  60. Federation of Workers' Union of the Burmese Citizen in Japan

  61. Freedom House

  62. Future Light Center

  63. Future Thanlwin

  64. Gangbuk Housing Welfare Center

  65. Gender and Development for Cambodia (GADC)

  66. Gender Equality Network

  67. Georgia Kachin Community

  68. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)

  69. Global Myanmar Spring Revolution

  70. Gwangju Asia sisterhood

  71. Gyeonggi Association of Self-Sufficiency Promotion Center

  72. HANBARAGI

  73. Houston Kachin Community

  74. Human Rights Foundation of Monland

  75. Incorporated Organization Shilcheon Bulgyo

  76. Independent Trade Union Federation (INTUFE)

  77. Info Birmanie

  78. Initiatives for International Dialogue

  79. International Campaign for the Rohingya

  80. International Child Rights Center

  81. International Karen Organisation

  82. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

  83. Iowa Kachin Community

  84. Jangsuwon

  85. JCMK

  86. JPIC of Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill

  87. Junta Denouncing Committee Korea

  88. Justice For Myanmar

  89. Kachin American Community (Portland – Vancouver)

  90. Kachin Community of Indiana

  91. Kachin Community of USA

  92. Kachin Gender Star Group

  93. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand

  94. Kaesong Tourism Center

  95. Kansas Karenni community, KS

  96. Karen American Association of Milwaukee, WI

  97. Karen Association of Huron, SD

  98. Karen Community of Akron, OH

  99. Karen Community of Canada (KCC)

  100. Karen Community of Czech Republic

  101. Karen Community of Finland

  102. Karen Community of Hamilton

  103. Karen Community of Iowa, IA

  104. Karen Community of Ireland

  105. Karen Community of Israel

  106. Karen Community of Kansas City

  107. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo

  108. Karen Community of Leamington K

  109. Karen Community of Lethbridge

  110. Karen Community of London

  111. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN

  112. Karen Community of North Carolina

  113. Karen Community of Ottawa

  114. Karen Community of Regina

  115. Karen Community of Saskatoon

  116. Karen Community of Thunderbay

  117. Karen Community of Toronto

  118. Karen Community of Windsor

  119. Karen Community of Winnipeg

  120. Karen Community Society of British Columbia (KCSBC)

  121. Karen Human Rights Group

  122. Karen Organization of America

  123. Karen Organization of Illinois, IL

  124. Karen Thai Group

  125. Karen Women’s Organization

  126. Karen Youth Education Pathways

  127. Karen Youth Networks

  128. Karen Youth of Norway

  129. Karen Youth of Toronto 

  130. Karen Youth Organization

  131. Karenni Civil Society Network

  132. Karenni Community of Arizona, AZ

  133. Karenni Community of Arkensas, AK

  134. Karenni Community of Austin, TX

  135. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY

  136. Karenni Community of Buffalo, NY

  137. Karenni Community of Chicago, IL

  138. Karenni Community of Colorado, CO

  139. Karenni Community of Dallas, TX

  140. Karenni community of Des Moines, IA

  141. Karenni Community of Florida, FL

  142. Karenni Community of Fort Worth, TX

  143. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA

  144. Karenni Community of Houston, TX

  145. Karenni Community of Idaho, ID

  146. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN

  147. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA

  148. Karenni Community of Michigan, MI

  149. Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN

  150. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO

  151. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC

  152. Karenni Community of Portland, OR

  153. Karenni Community of Rockford, IL

  154. Karenni Community of San Antonio, TX

  155. Karenni Community of Sioux Falls, SD

  156. Karenni Community of Utah, UT

  157. Karenni Community of Utica, NY

  158. Karenni Community of Washington, WA

  159. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI

  160. Karenni Human Rights Group

  161. Karenni National Women’s Organization

  162. Karenni Society New Zealand

  163. Karenni Society of Omaha, NE

  164. Karenni-American Association

  165. Keng Tung Youth

  166. Kentucky Kachin Community

  167. Kijamii Table

  168. Kim Wan Sik (MR)

  169. Korea Christian Solidarity for Democracy and Human Rights in Myanmar

  170. Korea Karen Organization

  171. Korea Karen Youth Organization

  172. Korea Women's Associations United (KWAU)

  173. Korean House for International Solidarity

  174. Korean Solidarity for Overseas Community Organization

  175. Let’s Help Each Other

  176. Louisiana Kachin Community

  177. Maryland Kachin Community

  178. May18 Seoul Memorial Society

  179. Metta Campaign Mandalay

  180. Michigan Kachin Community

  181. Migrant Health Association in Korea WeFriends

  182. Milk Tea Alliance (Friend For Myanmar)

  183. MINBYUN - Lawyers for a Democratic Society International Solidarity Committee

  184. Minnesota Kachin Community

  185. Myanmar Accountability Project

  186. MYANMAR Action Supporters

  187. Myanmar Community Austria

  188. Myanmar Democratic Force (Denmark)

  189. Myanmar Engineers - New Zealand

  190. Myanmar Family Community in Ireland

  191. Myanmar Gonye (New Zealand)

  192. Myanmar People Alliance (Shan State)

  193. Myanmar Students Organization

  194. Myanmar Students' Union in New Zealand

  195. National Clergy Conference for Justice and Peace

  196. NeT Organization

  197. Network for Advocacy Action

  198. Network for Human Rights Documentation Burma (ND-Burma)

  199. Neutinamu

  200. New Bodhisattva Network

  201. New York Kachin Community

  202. New Zealand Doctors for NUG

  203. New Zealand Karen Association

  204. New Zealand Zo Community Inc.

  205. No Business With Genocide

  206. North Carolina Kachin Community

  207. NUG & CRPH Supporter Denmark

  208. Nyan Lynn Thit Analytica

  209. Olive Organization

  210. Omaha Kachin Community

  211. Organization of Social Welfare Service Bokumjari

  212. Oversea Karen Organization Japan

  213. Overseas Mon Association. New Zealand

  214. Pa-O Youth Organization

  215. Pennsylvania Kachin Community

  216. People’s Initiatives for Development Alternatives

  217. People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)

  218. Progressive 3.0

  219. Progressive Korea

  220. Progressive Voice

  221. Pyeongchang

  222. Pyithu Gonye (New Zealand)

  223. RCSD/FSS Chiang Mai University

  224. Rvwang Community Association New Zealand

  225. SAMYANG CITIZENS NETWORK

  226. SARANGBANG Group for Human Rights

  227. Save and Care Organization for Ethnic Women at Border Areas

  228. Save Myanmar Fundraising Group (New Zealand)

  229. Shan Community (New Zealand)

  230. Shan MATA

  231. Sisters 2 Sisters

  232. Sitt Nyein Pann Foundation

  233. Social Action for Community and Development (SACD)

  234. Solidarity for Another World

  235. South Carolina Kachin Community

  236. Support Group for Democracy in Myanmar (Netherlands)

  237. Supporters group for migrant workers in Korea

  238. Suwon Migrants Center

  239. Swedish Burma Committee

  240. Synergy – Social Harmony Organization

  241. Ta’ang Women’s Organization

  242. Ta'ang Legal Aid

  243. Tanintharyi Women Network

  244. Tennessee Kachin Community

  245. The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

  246. The People Center for Development and Peace (PDP-Center)

  247. Tongirinreoygeo

  248. Union of Karenni State Youth

  249. US Campaign for Burma

  250. Utica Karen Community, NY

  251. Virginia Kachin Community

  252. Washington Kachin Community

  253. West Virginia Kachin Community

  254. With Gilbut Welfare Foundation

  255. Women Advocacy Coalition – Myanmar (WAC-M)

  256. Women’s League of Burma

  257. Women’s Peace Network

  258. Youth of Kim Dae-jung Foundation

  259. Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP)