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[Joint Open Letter] Call on INTERPOL to ban the illegal junta from representing Myanmar at its General Assembly

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22 November 2021

To: Kim Jong Yang, INTERPOL President; Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL General Secretary; the INTERPOL Executive Committee and INTERPOL Member Countries

Subject: 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. 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.


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
  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
  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
  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
  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)


For the PDF version of this joint open letter, click here.