Norway has, and continues to, strongly condemn the military coup in Myanmar and the use of deadly force by the security forces.
We call for:
· the immediate return to civilian rule
· the release of State President U Win Myint, Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and all others who are arbitrarily detained
· the military to refrain from all use of violence
· and to immediately end the repression of the civilian population.
These concerns, and those of the international community, have so far been ignored. Recent reports describe an escalation of brutal violence and crackdowns on peaceful protestors. More than 50 people are reported killed, including children. We fear that more young people - who are often at the forefront of the peaceful protests - will become victims in the crackdowns ahead.
Women of all ages and backgrounds have also joined Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement and are now targeted by the military forces. We are deeply concerned for their safety in confrontations with the military. International reporting has shown that Myanmar’s security forces have in the past used sexual violence as a weapon in conflict.
Furthermore, health workers and health facilities must be protected so that delivery of life-saving assistance can continue especially in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the increased hardship and violence, the protests have continued. The international community and regional organizations must listen to and support these
pro-democratic voices. ASEAN should play an important role in this, and we welcome the ASEAN Chair’s statement from the 2nd of March expressing their readiness to assist Myanmar. The UN Security Council should consider the possible further measures at its disposal.
The current situation has exacerbated insecurity for an already vulnerable population.
It is imperative that the needs and rights of all are protected and upheld by those with power and influence – and by the international community at large. Norway supports the UN Special Envoy for Myanmar’s strong focus on human rights. The message must be clear that perpetrators of human rights violations will be held accountable through international mechanisms.
Norway emphasizes the continued importance of unrestricted humanitarian access to conflict areas and vulnerable populations, including Rakhine state. We will continue to emphasize that the rights of the Rohingya population must be secured. It is the responsibility of Myanmar to create conditions that could ensure the safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return of refugees in accordance with international standards.
Last year’s general election gave a strong mandate to the National League for Democracy (NLD), reflecting the will of the majority to continue democratic reform. The military leadership must now respect the decision of the people of Myanmar.