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Public Statement: In view of escalating violence, Sydney Peace Foundation continues to support peaceful protestors in Myanmar

Since Myanmar’s military overturned a democratically elected government on February 1, millions of people within the country have shown courage, discipline, and creativity by protesting the military coup. There have been mass public demonstrations in towns and cities throughout the country, and a widespread civil disobedience movement (CDM) in which tens of thousands of civil servants have foregone work and salaries in protest. Myanmar citizens have been joined by activists throughout Asia who are part of the Milk Tea Alliance, which has made impressive strides in developing peaceful tactics to protest authoritarian governments throughout the region.

The Myanmar military’s response has been to escalate the violence. There have now been more than 50 deaths and 1500 arrests, as well as countless injuries and a pervasive atmosphere of fear. Despite this, protests continue every single day.

People within Myanmar are watching to see what the world will do to help. Some support has been forthcoming, but more is needed.

The Sydney Peace Foundation, therefore:

  • calls on the Myanmar military to cease violent activities in response to peaceful protests, and return the government to its democratically elected representatives
  • while applauding the Australian government’s decision to suspend its program with Myanmar’s military and redirect humanitarian aid to ethnic minorities, suggests that much stronger action might be taken to apply sanctions to entities that are linked to the military, such as the Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings, Ltd (MEHL)
  • urges the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to reconsider its non-interference policy and take a stronger stance against the violence undertaken by the Myanmar military
  • calls on companies that offer financial, technological, and security support to the military, such as Chevron, Facebook, and Harry Winston, and those identified by Justice for Myanmar, to cease their relationships within the country,
  • encourages those who care about Myanmar to join a global online solidarity campaign for Myanmar democracy by taking a selfie with 3-finger salute and tagging with #solidaritywithmyanmar and #MilkTeaAlliance and posting on social media.

For more information contact Susan Biggs, Sydney Peace Foundation, Executive Director, Phone 0421 397 736

Susan Biggs, Executive Director, Sydney Peace Foundation
Susan Banki, Council Member, Sydney Peace Foundation