The November 2020 elections, albeit far from perfect, were nevertheless a significant milestone on Myanmar’s path from military dictatorship to democracy. The seizing of power by the military in early February and the subsequent violent crackdown on protests is a grave development.
I join the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and international community in condemnation of these events, and in calling for the military to hand back power to the democratically elected government; release those arbitrarily detained; protect the rights and freedoms of the people of Myanmar, including their right to peaceful protest; ensure unobstructed humanitarian access; and, most of all, to stop killing its own people.
The Minister for Asia twice summoned the Myanmar Ambassador to the FCDO in February to condemn the coup and the arbitrary detention of civilians, and to call for the peaceful return to democracy. The UK has led a strong, coordinated international response to the coup, and has reaffirmed this message repeatedly, including in joint statements of the Foreign Ministers of the G7, of which the UK is President, on 3 and 23 February; at an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council, convened by the UK; and at a Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on 12 February, co-led by the UK.
I welcome the imposition of sanctions, announced on 18 and 25 February, against 9 senior members of the military regime in Myanmar in response to gross violations of human rights, including the right to life, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention. These new sanctions, effective immediately, are in addition to the sanctions against 16 individuals from Myanmar already listed, bringing the total number of designations in Myanmar to 25. They will stop those individuals from travelling to the UK, and will prevent businesses and institutions from dealing with their funds or economic resources in this country. I welcome the imposition of further sanctions on 25 March against Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd, a key economic interest of Myanmar's military.
It is essential we see the peaceful reconvening of the National Assembly, respecting the results of the November 2020 general election and the expressed wishes of the people of Myanmar. I am assured that the UK is doing all it can to facilitate this outcome.