February 5, 2021

Young, Cardin Lead Senate Call for Immediate and Unconditional End to Military Coup in Burma

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have introduced a resolution condemning the military coup in Burma that took place on February 1. The resolution calls for an end to the military action and “for those elected to serve in parliament to resume their duties without impediment.” Cardin and Young have been on the forefront of Senate action in support of Burma’s democracy, calling for sanctions against senior military leaders for gross human rights violations, including the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people. 

“Last November, I was happy to see Burma’s people enthusiastically vote and participate in free, fair, and credible elections. This is why I was appalled by recent events in Burma. The Burmese military has continued their corrupt actions that undermine political reforms, inflict significant pain on the Rohingya and other minorities, and remain a significant obstacle to democracy. All democracies around the world should join us in condemning this authoritarian assault. Our bipartisan resolution expresses solidarity with the Burmese people’s aspirations to rule themselves rather than be ruled by force,” said Senator Young.

The text of the resolution follows and can be found at this link.

Title: Condemning the military coup that took place on February 1, 2021, in Burma and the Burmese military’s detention of civilian leaders, calling for an immediate and unconditional release of all those detained and for those elected to serve in parliament to resume their duties without impediment, and for other purposes.

Whereas Burma held general elections on November 8, 2020, that resulted in the National League for Democracy party securing enough seats to form the next government, which was set to convene on February 2, 2021;

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

Whereas, on February 1, 2021, the Tatmadaw and its aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (“USDP”) conducted a military coup against the civilian government, resulting in the military 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 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; and

Whereas senior generals of the Tatmadaw have been sanctioned by the United States Government for perpetrating gross human rights violations and are subject to ongoing investigations into their conduct by the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) stands with the people of Burma in their ambition for a genuine democracy, sustainable peace and genuine ethnic reconciliation, and the realization of fundamental human rights for all;

(2) calls on the Tatmadaw to—

(A) immediately and unconditionally release all those detained as a result of the military coup on February 1, 2021;

(B) immediately restore all forms of communications, including access to the internet;

(C) remove all impediments to free travel that have been imposed as a result of the coup, separate from legitimate travel limits as a result of the COVID–19 pandemic;

(D) 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;

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

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

(3) calls on social media companies, in particular Facebook, to suspend the accounts of USDP and Tatmadaw military leaders that have used their platforms to spread disinformation, fear, and psychological violence;

(4) supports the use of all diplomatic and development tools to ensure that in conflict contexts vulnerable groups, including ethnic and religious minorities, 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 military; and

(5) calls on the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense to immediately take all steps necessary under the coup designation and to—

(A) reinstate and impose new 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 forcefully condemn the coup and enact multilateral, targeted sanctions on the military, military owned businesses, military partners’ business interests, and others connected to the coup;

(C) enact 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; and

(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.