Joint Statement Marking Three Years Since the Military Coup in Myanmar

1 February 2024

The following is the text of a joint statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union, and the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, marking three years since the military coup in Myanmar.                                                                                                      

Three years ago, on 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military overthrew the democratically elected government, undoing a decade of progress.

Under the military regime, violence against civilians has escalated, with thousands jailed, tortured and killed. Airstrikes, shelling and arson have been used to destroy civilian infrastructure, including homes, schools, healthcare facilities and places of worship. Systematic discrimination against members of religious and ethnic groups, including Rohingya, is rife. Many are displaced and continue to face horrific conditions, and others have been forced to flee across Myanmar’s borders. The military’s actions have fuelled a growing humanitarian crisis with 2.6 million people displaced from their homes, and more than 18 million people in need.  

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the military regime’s ongoing atrocities and human rights violations, such as sexual and gender-based violence, and the restriction of fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression, through peaceful protests and the media. We reiterate our call for the Commander-in-Chief and the military to change course, immediately ceasing violence against civilians, releasing all unjustly detained political prisoners, allowing full humanitarian access and creating space for inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders.

We strongly encourage unified efforts by ASEAN to resolve the crisis. We commend the constructive efforts of the ASEAN Chairs and Special Envoys. We call on the military regime to implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus and engage meaningfully and positively with ASEAN representatives, in order for Myanmar to transition towards an inclusive democracy.

We continue to support the full implementation of United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution 2669 (2022) and underline our support for UN Security Council activities to support ASEAN’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. We call on the UN to strengthen its efforts on Myanmar including via the timely appointment of a Special Envoy and a Resident Coordinator and urge UN Member states to maintain their support to address urgent humanitarian needs in Myanmar.

We call on all members of the international community to support efforts to push the Myanmar military to cease violence, to bring about genuinely inclusive dialogue, in order to establish a credible, peaceful democratic future for Myanmar;  to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of people in Myanmar and refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries, including its most vulnerable communities, and to cease providing the Myanmar military with the arms and equipment that are necessary for them to commit atrocities.

Three years on from the military coup, we continue to stand in solidarity with the Myanmar people and their desire for an inclusive and genuine democracy in Myanmar.

1 February 2023

A joint statement by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union, and the Foreign Ministers of Albania, Armenia, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, the Federated States of Micronesia, Georgia, Ghana, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States, on the two year anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar:

On 1 February 2021, the Myanmar military staged a coup d’état and seized power against the will of the people, plunging the country into a deep political, economic and humanitarian crisis.

Over the last two years, the people of Myanmar have courageously demonstrated their commitment to a democratic country, demanding respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and showing determined resilience in the face of unspeakable atrocities.

Since the coup, the military regime has violently cracked down on any form of opposition, including peaceful protests. Credible reports indicate that thousands of civilians, including children, have been jailed, tortured and killed.

There are mounting reports that air strikes, bombardments and the mass burning of villages and places of worship have targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure. Reports of torture and sexual violence by the security forces are widespread. The prolonged conflict has seen thousands of civilian casualties, over 17 million people in need and 1.5 million people displaced from their homes.

We welcome and support the central role of ASEAN in addressing the crisis in Myanmar, including the efforts of the ASEAN Chair and ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar.

We welcome the UN Security Council Resolution 2669 (2022) on the situation in Myanmar which calls for the immediate cessation of violence and the upholding of universal human rights, the provision of full and unhindered humanitarian access and the protection of civilians. It calls on the military regime to effectively and fully implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus, and to immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. It reaffirms our support for the ASEAN Special Envoy to Myanmar and the UN Special Envoy to Myanmar and encourages their close coordination. It also urges all parties in Myanmar to work constructively with both Envoys to commence dialogue to seek a peaceful solution.

The military overruled the democratic wishes of the people of Myanmar as expressed in the November 2020 General Election, when they seized power on 1 February 2021. We reiterate our call for the return of Myanmar to a democratic path. The military regime must end violence and create space for meaningful and inclusive dialogue to allow for any democratic process to resume.

We once again call on all members of the international community to support all efforts to hold those responsible for human rights violations and abuses to account; to cease the sale and transfer of arms and equipment which facilitate atrocities; and to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of Myanmar’s people, including its most vulnerable communities.

We remain resolute in our support for all those working peacefully towards an inclusive and democratic future for the people of Myanmar.