When the United Nations through its online news portal claims one of its experts sees the situation in Myanmar “failing” and urging measures to save the country from its current, ongoing conflict, many might take it at face value.
The article would claim:
According to Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews, since its power grab and overthrow of the democratically-elected Government, the junta and its forces have murdered more than 1,100 people, arbitrarily detained more than 8,000, and forcibly displaced more than 230,000 civilians, bringing the total number of internally placed persons in Myanmar to well over half a million.
Mr. Andrews described how junta-controlled military forces have killed protesters in the streets, murdered civilians in their homes, beaten individuals to death and tortured people to death while in detention.
No mention is made at all about opposition abuses including a nationwide campaign of extrajudicial killings of political opponents, suspected “collaborators,” and bystanders caught up in terrorist attacks on public offices and infrastructure.
The one-sided treatment of a two-sided armed conflict raises suspicions about neutrality as well as possible ulterior motives – not regarding the UN itself – but by special interests who have hijacked its mechanisms to advance the foreign policy objectives of certain countries.
Looking into the background of UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews reveals precisely this and serves as another stark warning about the danger of UN mechanisms being undermined by powerful states using the UN to undermine the very Charter that underwrites its legitimacy.
Who is UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews?
Tom Andrews’ profile found on the official website of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner notes that he had worked with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) as well as “General Secretary” of the “Nobel Peace Laureate Campaign for Aung San Suu Kyi and the People of Burma.” He was also a consultant for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma.
The NDI is a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and both the NDI and NED have funded the opposition in Myanmar extensively for decades.
The NDI’s official webpage for its activities in Myanmar claim:
NDI has supported international advocacy in Myanmar since 1995 and provided assistance to civil society organizations inside Myanmar to monitor the 2010 parliamentary elections, the 2012 parliamentary by-elections, 2015 parliamentary elections, 2017 and 2019 by-elections, and 2019 Yangon municipal elections.
It also states:
…the Institute is expanding its program outreach to additional states and regions, with a focus on promoting inclusive public and political debate between citizens, political parties and parliaments.
The NED’s website features an extensive list of US government-funded programs interfering in virtually every aspect of Myanmar’s internal political affairs.
The NDI’s activities clearly constitute political interference in Myanmar’s internal political affairs, in violation of the UN Charter but also beyond any threshold of interference the United States itself would tolerate in regards to its own domestic affairs.
Aung San Suu Kyi is – obviously – the figurehead of the opposition and was the de facto head of Myanmar’s government before being ousted from power by the military in February of this year. Her receiving of the Nobel Peace Prize like so many others was politically motivated and designed to build up the legitimacy of a prized Western proxy.
The so-called National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma was Aung San Suu Kyi’s government-in-exile, based in Maryland in the United States just outside of Washington D.C. until returning to Myanmar to take power in two landslide elections sufficiently flooded with both US government money and US interference.
Tom Andrews played a role in all three.
By playing a role in building up Myanmar’s opposition, protecting them in exile, aiding in lending the opposition and its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi legitimacy through politically-motivated awards like the Nobel Peace Prize, and finally installing them into power, Tom Andrews has a background that should exclude him from any role requiring impartiality.
Collectively, his involvement with Myanamr’s opposition over the years represents an inescapable conflict of interest that should have prevented him from ever taking up the role of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar – a role he is clearly using to continue interfering in Myanmar’s self-determination on behalf of the US-backed opposition and to depict the situation in not only a one-sided manner, but in a manner to politically expedite the best interests of the opposition and its sponsors in Washington.
Through the UN as Special Rapporteur, Tom Andrews is now working to undermine and remove Myanmar’s military from power and re-install Aung San Suu Kyi and her political party back into power.
The reports Tom Andrews produces for the United Nations are clearly one-sided and very obviously compromised by his close, decades-long relationship with Myanamr’s opposition. In the process of abusing his position as Special Rapporteur, he is undermining the legitimacy of not only his position, but of the UN itself.
It is Tom Andrews and those like him who are attempting to control the narrative surrounding Myanmar’s current political crisis and pushing the nation incrementally into a position the US and its allies can repeat the sort of interventionism used against Libya and Syria from 2011 onward, or Ukraine from 2014 onward, or is currently subjecting nations like Venezuela and Iran to today.
The narratives being created by Tom Andrews and others are then spread across the Western media and used to pressure Myanmar’s ASEAN neighbors into incrementally excluding it from ASEAN summits and isolating it further upon the global stage – not in the interest of resolving the conflict, but in the interest of weakening it ahead of further planned interference and possibly even intervention.
Washington’s interest in destabilizing Myanmar and controlling its political system stems from the Southeast Asia nation’s role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, its proximity to China with whom it shares a border, and as part of a much wider agenda of encircling and containing China politically, economically, and militarily.
Brian Berletic is a Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.