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Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney on Armed Forces Day violence in Myanmar

I am deeply shocked and saddened by the abhorrent and indefensible killing of unarmed civilians, including children, on the 76th Myanmar Armed Forces Day. The role of the military in society is to protect its citizens, not to murder and terrorise them. Today, the security forces have disgraced themselves and these actions leave another stain on the history of Myanmar.

The past decade has witnessed Myanmar take important, if incomplete, steps towards a democratic and prosperous future. The election results in November last and the sustained large-scale popular opposition since 1 February demonstrates that the Tatmadaw have no mandate to govern Myanmar. Their actions since overturning the will of the people are returning Myanmar to a dark past. They carry a real risk of driving the country into civil strife and chaos. Those who directed these killings must be held to account.

I call on the Myanmar military to step back from actions designed to consolidate power through fear and brutal violence. They must recognise that their actions are leading the country to further division and instability, with consequences for the wider region.

On 10 March, the Security Council spoke as one when it condemned the violence against peaceful protestors, including against women, youth and children; expressed deep concern at restrictions on medical personnel, civil society, labour union members, journalists and media workers; and called for the immediate release of all those detained arbitrarily. I echo those calls today.

Ireland continues to stand with the people of Myanmar and will continue to work with our partners in Europe, in the region and at the United Nations, both in the General Assembly and as a Member of the Security Council, to see an end to violence and to bring about a peaceful and democratic solution to this crisis.  

Our Embassy in Bangkok is maintaining regular communication with all registered Irish citizens in Myanmar to provide advice and information. We are currently advising Irish citizens in Myanmar to consider leaving the country by commercial means unless they have an urgent reason to stay. Citizens in Myanmar with concerns should contact the Embassy on +66 2 016 1360.

ENDS 

PRESS OFFICE

27 MARCH 2021

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