A statement from the Leadership Circle of IMPACT
April 21, 2021
We, members of the Leadership Circle of IMPACT (Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation), condemn the undermining of steps toward democracy and the violent suppression of peaceful protests in Myanmar. IMPACT is a diverse collective working globally to illuminate and strengthen the field of arts, culture, and conflict transformation, and believing in a world where dignity, vibrancy, creativity, and fairness must inscribe our relationships with one another and with the natural world. We are horrified at the turn of events in Myanmar. We write in support of the demands of the people of Myanmar for an end to the military’s reign of terror, and in solidarity with our colleagues at the Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute in the Philippines, who have reached out to us regarding artists and other peacebuilders in Myanmar with whom they’ve worked over the years. The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute (MPI) included the following in a published statement:
The Mindanao Peacebuilding Institute is appalled by the escalation of violence in Myanmar at the hands of the country’s military. The killing of demonstrators, arbitrary arrests, and reported torture of prisoners violate fundamental human rights and stand in clear defiance of calls throughout the world for restraint, dialogue, and a return to Myanmar’s democratic path.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, as of April 21, 739 peaceful demonstrators have been killed by the junta, and 3,331 have been arrested, charged or sentenced. The MPI statement reports that there are many more cases of missing [individuals] or disappearances as families do not know where their loved ones are. Two Members of Parliament of the duly elected democratic government were tortured and killed.
A March 28 statement by United Nations officials Alice Wairimu Nderitu, Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, proclaims, “We must ensure accountability for past crimes and deter the most serious international crimes from being committed…The failure to address the… crimes the military has committed in the past, including against Rohingya and other minorities, has brought Myanmar to this terrible pass… There is no way forward without accountability and fundamental reform of the military.”
We ask others to join us as we speak out in solidarity with Myanmar’s people, including the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, appealing for an immediate ceasefire and an end to both the violations of human rights and impunity for perpetrators of these atrocities. Please encourage your colleagues, friends and others in your networks to stand with the people of Myanmar in their steadfast struggle to find creative paths toward the vibrant democratic future they imagine.
Signed by IMPACT Leadership Circle members:
Armine Avetisyan, Brandeis University, Armenia/USA
Cynthia Cohen, Brandeis University, USA
Emilie Diouf, Brandeis University, Senegal/ USA
Ellada Evangelou, Artistic Director, Buffer Fringe Performing Arts Festival, Cyprus
Germaine Ingram, USA
Dijana Milosevic, Co-founder, DAH Theatre, Serbia
Carmen Olaechea, Fundación Cambio Democrático/Fundación Crear Vale la Pena, Argentina/Suiza
Lee Pearlman, Tel Aviv
Emily Forsyth Queen, Independent Consultant, USA
Toni Shapiro-Phim, Brandeis University, USA
Polly. O. Walker, PhD, Director, Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
Additional ways to support the resistance in Myanmar
Updated news from Myanmar and links to specific online campaigns
“Myanmar: Top UN officials condemn military’s ‘shameful, cowardly’ attacks on peaceful protesters”