Statement on Myanmar
Australia has raised our grave concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and the escalating violence and rising death toll following the events of 1 February. We condemn the use of lethal force or violence against civilians exercising their universal rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
We continue to strongly urge the Myanmar security forces to exercise restraint and refrain from violence against civilians.
Australian Professor Sean Turnell has been detained with limited consular access for over 30 days. We call for the immediate release of Professor Sean Turnell, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and others who have been arbitrarily detained since 1 February.
As a longstanding supporter of Myanmar's democratic transition, Australia has been reviewing its Myanmar policy settings. We have also undertaken extensive consultations with our international partners particularly our ASEAN neighbours, Japan and India. The political stability of ASEAN member states is essential to achieving our vision for a secure, peaceful, prosperous and open Indo-Pacific region with ASEAN at its centre.
Australia has had a limited bilateral Defence Cooperation Program with Myanmar's military, restricted to non-combat areas such as English language training. This program will be suspended.
Australia's development program is also being re-directed to the immediate humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable and poor including the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. We will prioritise the most pressing humanitarian and emerging needs and seek to ensure our humanitarian engagement is with and through non-government organisations, not with government or government-related entities, as is currently the case in some parts of the program.
Australia's autonomous sanctions regime already includes an arms embargo that prohibits supplying weapons to Myanmar and targeted sanctions on a number of individuals. We continue to review our sanctions regime.
We call on the Myanmar regime to engage in dialogue. Australia will continue to play a constructive role, including in consultation with international partners, particularly ASEAN, in support of the Myanmar people.