Myanmar coup has potential to be a ‘catastrophe’ says expert
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Kyaw Zwar Minn was locked out of the Burmese Embassy in London after breaking ranks with the military after it seized control of the South-East Asian country in a brutal Coup. He also demanded the release of Myanmar’s deposed civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, when she was detained in the February 1 takeover. The diplomat, who has been the nation’s ambassador to the UK since 2014, was replaced by his deputy, Chit Win. He has since barricaded himself inside his Hampstead home, with his wife and son.
And now the deadline for him to leave passes at the end of today with regime loyalists threatening to boot him out.
The Foreign Office, who are hoping to broker a diplomatic resolution to the standoff, have indicated they are powerless to prevent his eviction because the building is owned by the State of Myanmar.
But a UK-based NGO and a top British criminal law firm representing Mr Minn say the people now running the Embassy are not the“rightful or legitimate” representatives of Myanmar and have challenged the eviction attempt.
Criminal law firm Peters & Peters sent a legal letter to Chit Win warning him that any attempt to evict Mr Minn would be unlawful.
They also want to persuade an English court to rule that the junta is illegitimate and has no standing.
Since its coup, the army has launched a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests and has been accused of hundreds of killings as well as torture and illegal detentions.
Chris Gunness, the director of the Myanmar Accountability Project, a London-based NGO promoting justice and accountability in Myanmar, said: “The British courts have long been the gold standard for international justice and this could well set a legal precedent with global consequences for Myanmar Embassies in Washington DC, Brussels, Paris, Rome and elsewhere.
“The thugs in Naypyitaw do not represent the people of Myanmar in fact they are committing acts of barbarity against the people of Myanmar.
“This barbaric negation of the democratic rights of 50 million people should not be allowed to stand and we hope the British system will lead the way.”
Mr Minn has previously said that he’s been warned by the UK Foreign Office that police would be unable to do anything if embassy staff tried to evict him.
The Foreign Office has been hoping for a brokered solution to the standoff between the embassy and Kyaw Zwar Minn.
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