February 2, 2022

Senate Marks Anniversary of Military Coup in Burma by Passing Young, Cardin Resolution

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, welcomed Senate approval last night of their resolution (S. Res. 35) condemning the military coup that took place February 1, 2021, in Burma. 


Originally introduced days after the military takeover, the senators renewed their resolution’s call for “those elected to serve in parliament to resume their duties without impediment.” Senators Young and Cardin have also called for sanctions against senior Burmese military leaders for gross human rights violations.

“Indiana is home to one of the largest communities of Burmese refugees in the U.S. It has been heartbreaking to sit with these valued members of our community and hear how their families had their hopes and dreams for the future disrupted 12 months ago by the military coup in Burma. Burma has made great strides toward self-government and I know this coup is a setback, but it will not be the end of the story. This bipartisan resolution expresses solidarity with the Burmese people’s aspirations to rule themselves rather than be ruled by force. I am proud to stand with the people of Burma both now in this time of crisis and in the future,” said Senator Young.


“The Burmese military’s coup d’état has been devastating for the Burmese people. For the last year, the military has stalled the democratic process in that country and been responsible for mass atrocities, including imprisoning over 11,000 and killing more than 1,400 civilians, including children,” said Senator Cardin. “The United States Senate stands fully behind the Burmese people and their right to choose their own leaders. We remain committed to a peaceful transition of power back to the civilian government and holding those responsible for the coup and human rights violations accountable for their actions.”


The text of the resolution, as amended, follows.


Title: A resolution condemning the military coup that took place on February 1, 2021, in Burma and the Tatmadaw’s detention of civilian leaders, calling for an immediate and unconditional release of all those detained, promoting accountability and justice for those killed by the Tatmadaw, and calling for those elected to serve in parliament to resume their duties without impediment, and for other purposes.


Whereas, on February 1, 2021, the military of Burma (the ‘‘Tatmadaw’’) and its aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) conducted a military coup against the civilian government hours before Parliament was to convene in a new session, resulting in the military junta illegally detaining State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and members of Parliament, as well as pro-democracy activists from the 88 Generation and other civil society leaders;


Whereas, since February 1, 2021, the Tatmadaw has detained more than 11,000 people for exercising their rights of freedom of speech and assembly and killed more than 1,400 civilians, including children;


Whereas the Tatmadaw has put the democratically-elected civilian leadership of Burma, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, through sham trials for fabricated crimes and sentenced them to lengthy prison terms in order to remove them from political competition;


Whereas the Tatmadaw has become the world’s second largest detainer of journalists, with over 100 journalists imprisoned since the military coup;


Whereas the Tatmadaw’s actions have driven hundreds of thousands from their homes and driven thousands to flee across Burma’s borders into Thailand, India, and Bangladesh;


Whereas fighting between the Tatmadaw and several ethnic armed groups continues, with government forces committing increased abuses against ethnic Karen, Kayah, Kachin, Chin, Rakhine, Shan, and Rohingya minority populations;


Whereas the Tatmadaw restricted freedom of movement, telecommunications, and the media, limiting access to information to and from Burma during a political and public health crisis;


Whereas senior generals of the Tatmadaw have been sanctioned by the United States Government for serious human rights abuses and for their role in the coup and are subject to ongoing investigations into their conduct by the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice;


Whereas, on January 28, 2021, the Union Election Commission rejected allegations by the Tatmadaw that fraud played a significant role in determining the outcome of the November 2020 elections;


Whereas Burma’s November 8, 2020, elections resulted in the National League for Democracy party securing enough seats in Parliament to form the next government;


Whereas the Tatmadaw has a long history of committing atrocities against the people of Burma, including the targeting of specific ethnic groups; and


Whereas senior United States officials have committed to making a determination of whether such atrocities constitute genocide: Now, therefore, be it


Resolved, That the Senate—


(1) supports the people of Burma in their ambition for democracy, sustainable peace, and genuine ethnic and religious reconciliation, and the realization of internationally recognized human rights for all, including for ethnic and religious groups whose human rights have been violated repeatedly and who have been disenfranchised historically;


(2) calls on the Tatmadaw to—

(A) immediately and unconditionally re2 lease all political prisoners detained as a result of the military coup on February 1, 2021;

(B) immediately restore all forms of communications, including access to the internet without surveillance;

(C) immediately end the use of violence and allow for a legal process for accountability and justice for those unlawfully detained, injured, and killed by the Tatmadaw;

(D) remove all impediments to free travel that have been imposed as a result of the coup;

(E) return to power all members of the civilian government elected in the November 8, 2020, elections and allow them to fulfill their mandate without impediment;

(F) allow for freedom of expression, including the right to protest, peaceful assembly, press freedom, and freedom of movement; and

(G) allow unfettered reporting from local, national, and international media;


(3) calls on social media companies to suspend the accounts of the Union Solidarity and Development Party and the Tatmadaw that have used their platforms to spread disinformation, fear, and psychological violence;


(4) supports the use of all diplomatic, economic, and development tools to ensure that vulnerable groups, including ethnic and religious groups, as well as all children, youth, and teachers in educational settings are safe, and schools and universities are not targeted for attacks or use by the Tatmadaw;


(5) expresses grave concern for the safety and security of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (referred to in this resolution as

‘‘IDPs’’) and refugees who have been displaced by the Tatmadaw and now face challenging conditions in camps;


(6) expresses grave concern for the 3,000,000 people of Burma who are in need of humanitarian aid, including the 223,000 IDPs in Burma, of which 165,000 remain in the southeast, adding to those already displaced in Rakhine, Chin, Shan and Kachin states;


(7) encourages Burma’s neighboring countries, including Thailand, India, and Bangladesh, to meaningfully assist refugees who have fled and continue to flee the Tatmadaw;


(8) calls on the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense to fully implement section 7008 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021 (division K of Public Law 116–260) and any similar or successor law governing United States foreign assistance following a coup d’etat, and to immediately—

(A) impose targeted restrictions aimed at the Tatmadaw, military-owned or controlled enterprises, and those responsible for the February 1, 2021, coup;

(B) work with the international community, including at the United Nations Security Council, with United States allies in the region, and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to condemn the coup, delegitimize the junta, and take steps to ensure that international economic engagement in Burma does not contribute to human rights abuses and benefit individuals connected to the coup;

(C) support conditionality on diplomatic, economic, and security relations with Burma, including using the voice and vote of the United States at multilateral development institutions, until all those detained in the February 1, 2021, coup are released and there has been a full restoration of civilian-controlled parliament respecting the November 8, 2020, election results;

(D) utilize the United States Government’s position on the United Nations Security Council to bring about greater international cooperation in the pursuit of justice and accountability in Burma;

(E) legitimize and provide assistance to the National Unity Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the National Unity Consultative Council, the Civil Disobedience Movement in Myanmar, and other entities promoting democracy in Burma, while simultaneously denying legitimacy and resources to the junta;

(F) promote national reconciliation among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in Burma;

(G) counter support to the junta by the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation; and

(H) secure the restoration of democracy, the establishment of an inclusive and representative civilian government and a reformed military reflecting the diversity of Burma and under civilian control, and the enactment of constitutional, political, and economic reform in Burma; and


(9) urges the Secretary of State to swiftly conduct an Interagency Process and issue a determination as to whether the targeting and murder of innocent civilians by the Tatmadaw during and after the February 1, 2021, coup d’etat, specifically those associated with ethnic and religious groups in Burma, and crimes committed by the Tatmadaw against such ethnic and religious groups prior to the coup constitute crimes against humanity or genocide.