The incoming US government joined governments around the world to condemn Myanmar’s military coup on Monday and called for the release of elected leaders, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
The UN led condemnation of Myanmar’s military after seizing power and imprisoning Suu Kyi along with other politicians.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the development was a “serious blow to democratic reforms” and called on all leaders to abstain from violence and respect human rights, a UN spokesman said.
In Washington, President Joe Biden’s additional administration expressed concern over the military’s declaration of state of emergency and detention, which Myanmar’s army said it had carried out in response to “electoral fraud”.
“We urge Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and to respect the people of Burma, as expressed in democratic elections on November 8,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.
The White House said Biden had been informed of the arrests.
“The United States opposes any attempt to change the outcome of the last election or prevent Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed,” said White House spokesman Jen Psaki.
In Britain, the former colonial power, Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned “coups and illegal imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi”.
“The voice of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released,” Johnson tweeted.
I condemn the coup and the illegal imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar. The voice of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 1, 2021
“Respect the rule of law”
Charles Michel, head of the European Council, led EU reactions on Monday, tweeting that “the election result must be respected and the democratic process must be restored.”
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne called on the military “to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through legal mechanisms and to immediately release all civilian leaders and others” detained.
The Government of India expressed “deep concern” and reiterated its support for the “process of democratic transition in Myanmar”.
“We believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld,” the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
However, China refrained from fully condemning the coup and called on all parties in Myanmar to “resolve their differences”.
“China is a friendly neighbor of Myanmar and hopes that the various parties in Myanmar will resolve their differences appropriately under the constitutional and legal framework to protect political and social stability,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news briefing.
Wang said that China, which shares a border with Myanmar and has great influence in the country, still “promotes our understanding of the situation.”
Singapore’s Foreign Ministry also urged all parties to exercise restraint and work for a positive and peaceful outcome, and recommended Singaporeans in Myanmar to be vigilant “in view of the floating situation”.
The constitution “specifically designed” to anchor military power
The prisons came after days of escalating tensions between the civilian government and the military following the November 8 election in which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory.
On Monday, the army handed over power to military chief Min Aung Hlaing and imposed a one-year state of emergency, according to a statement on a military-owned television station.
Prior to the coup, Washington, along with several other Western nations, had called on the military to “adhere to democratic standards” in a January 29 statement issued after the commander threatened to revoke the country’s constitution.
Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the UN, tweeted that Myanmar’s military “wrote the constitution so they could do it”.
“The 2008 constitution was specifically designed to ensure that military power was deeply rooted and protected,” he said.
This is what is called the “rules of the law” as opposed to the “rules of the law”. The 2008 constitution was specifically designed to ensure that military power was deeply rooted and protected. Tatmadaw wrote the constitution this way so they could do it. https://t.co/AWb6mn1fNn
– Bob Rae (@ BobRae48) February 1, 2021
( Jowharwith REUTERS and AFP)