Minister Elina Valtonen
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Government of Finland
Councillor Ignazio Cassis
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
Government of Switzerland
10 November, 2023
Subject: Finland and Switzerland must stop lending legitimacy to Myanmar military junta and its sham peace efforts
Dear Minister Valtonen and Councillor Cassis,
We, 455 civil society organizations – call on the Governments of Finland and Switzerland to end all engagements with and support of the Myanmar military junta, particularly its sham peace efforts. We urge Finland and Switzerland to instead support the people of Myanmar’s ongoing efforts towards inclusive federal democracy and sustainable peace.
First, we have learned that the Government of Finland, through the CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, recently invited members of the Myanmar military junta’s so-called Peace Committee to a secret meeting in Helsinki, Finland, and met with them there – all while the junta is deliberately targeting and killing civilians across the country.
By bringing junta representatives to Helsinki, the Finnish Government has signaled its recognition, acceptance, and support of the junta – in complete violation of democratic principles and most importantly, the will of the people of Myanmar
Let us be clear: The people of Myanmar are not merely in a political disagreement with the illegal and illegitimate military junta. Since its failed coup of 1 February 2021, the junta has killed at least 4,174 people, as of 6 November 2023, and over 1.7 million people have been internally displaced. In recent months, the junta has ramped up its use of airstrikes to terrorize and murder Myanmar civilians across the country. From May to August 2023 alone, the junta launched 272 airstrikes, amounting to at least two airstrikes per day – killing 72 civilians and injuring 163, as well as damaging schools, medical facilities, and religious buildings.
By supporting and lending legitimacy to the murderous junta, the Finnish Government has failed to uphold its international obligations to protect the people of Myanmar and has undermined Myanmar people’s resistance movement in defense of democracy and human rights. Finland’s actions have also undermined international sanctions targeting the junta and emboldened the junta to continue its mass atrocity crimes against Myanmar civilians with blanket impunity.
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