Myanmar Diplomats Refuse To Serve Junta

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Nearly 20 diplomats in seven countries, according to reports, are opposing the military junta for ousting popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 1 February this year and resorting to violence against civilians, reports Rahul Kumar

In an unprecedented situation, 11 Myanmarese diplomats in the US and Switzerland have refused to return home in a mark of protest against the country’s military rule while others continue to defy the military regime.

Kyodo News reports that Myanmar Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun said that nearly 20 diplomats in seven countries are opposing the military junta for ousting popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi on 1 February this year and resorting to violence against civilians.

Kyaw Moe Tun, who plans to stay in the US instead of going back to Myanmar, said that four Washington diplomats and three in Los Angeles are applying for protected status. He added that four in Geneva also plan to request Swiss authorities to allow them to stay back in Switzerland.

Former Indian diplomat, Achal Malhotra told India Narrative: “It is noteworthy that Myanmar diplomats have revolted in the USA and Switzerland which are relatively liberal in entertaining requests for asylum.”

He added that in such adversarial circumstances as prevail now in Myanmar, some diplomats, particularly if they fear persecution on return to their home country, may openly oppose their government.

“It can be as part of a build-up for their case for asylum in the host country or such acts can be triggered by genuine ideological reasons or by sheer opportunism,” says Malhotra.

He added that as a rule and as per established norms, diplomats are expected to build a positive image of their country abroad and defend their country’s policies, besides promoting and strengthening bilateral ties and protecting the rights of the diaspora in the host country.

Talking about India, he said: “A former Indian diplomat in Oslo had resigned and sought asylum in Norway to register his protest against Operation Blue Star undertaken by the Indian Government to flush out terrorists from the Golden Temple in Amritsar in 1984”.

As Myanmar hurtles towards a civil war-like situation, pro-democracy youth are gravitating towards an armed struggle. Many have joined the numerous armed groups that dot the diverse ethnic landscape of the country.

In Myanmar, besides the diplomats, national soccer goalkeeper Pyae Lyan Aung too is opposing the military regime. He applied for refugee status in Japan expressing threats to his life.

The military regime has detained thousands of civilian and political protestors and an estimated 883 people are believed to be dead in protests against the military rule.

2000 detainees freed

 Myanmar has released a total of 2,296 detainees from across the country, according to the figures released by the military-run State Administration Council (SAC).

The detainees, comprising 1,839 men and 457 women arrested in connection with the protests staged in the country since the February 1 coup, were released as a priority batch on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

A total of 721 people from Yangon region, 711 from Mandalay region and 22 from Nay Pyi Taw were among the released.

This latest development comes after U Zaw Htay, who served as the spokesman of the Aung San Suu Kyi-led ousted government of Myanmar, was freed from military custody in capital Nay Pyi Taw after more than four months in detention.

The former military officer, who had also served as spokesman for the U Thein Sein government (2010-15) that preceded the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy (NLD) government which was ousted following the coup, was released late last month.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), at least 858 people have been killed and almost 6,000 others have been arrested in the protests that erupted since the military takeover.

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