Monday, May 17, 2021

US, European defense chiefs condemn violence in Myanmar – POLITICO

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The defense chiefs of a dozen nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, issued a joint statement Saturday calling for an end to violence by the military against unarmed civilians in Myanmar.

The statement, which follows what the U.N. described as the “bloodiest day” since the military coup in early February, condemned the use of lethal force against unarmed people, adding that a “professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting — not harming — the people it serves.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the military of “a reign of terror” that was “sacrificing the lives of the people to serve the few” and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called it a “new low.” The EU delegation to Myanmar said Saturday would “stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour.”

At least 114 people, including young children, were killed in Myanmar on Saturday, according to Reuters, after security forces targeted demonstrators. The violence took place on Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the resistance against Japan during the Second World War.

Last week, the U.S., the U.K. and the EU imposed sanctions against high-ranking military personnel, among others. 

Russia and China have so far not commented on the recent violence in Myanmar. Unless that changes, sanctions by the U.N. Security Council are out of the question.

U.N. Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said in a statement that if the Security Council cannot act, then an international emergency summit on Myanmar should be held immediately. He said the junta should be cut off from funding, such as oil and gas revenues, and from access to weapons.

“Words of condemnation or concern are frankly ringing hollow to the people of Myanmar while the military junta commits mass murder against them,” Andrews added.

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