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Asia Justice Coalition Statement on Myanmar: Free detainees and Rescind State of Emergency

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The Asia Justice Coalition is a network of organizations whose purpose is to promote justice and accountability for gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law in Asia, and to contribute to the fulfillment of the rights of victims and their families.

The Asia Justice Coalition expresses deep concern at current events in Myanmar and condemns the actions of the Myanmar military in unlawfully seizing power, in arbitrarily detaining politicians and activists, and in declaring a state of emergency on 1 February 2021. At least four dozen individuals have been arrested, including Win Myint, the President and the State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar's military rulers, acting in contravention of Myanmar's Constitution, have justified the emergency on what that they claimed was fraud in the country's November elections. The declaration of the state of emergency and the detentions across the country indicate a further deterioration of the rule of law and are a blow to the hopes of a democratic transition in the country.

Over the years, the world has witnessed the blatant disregard for human rights and the rule of law by members of the Tatmadaw, exemplified in the atrocities carried out against persons from the Rohingya and other minorities. In relation to the Rohingya, calls for accountability have been routinely ignored, and international legal processes before the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice have commenced as a result. A chief architect of the atrocities -- General Min Aung Hlaing -- is now officially in control of Myanmar due to the state of emergency. The declaration of the state of emergency will only entrench impunity for the Tatmadaw.

It is well past the time for targeted sanctions against military institutions and military companies, and in particular, the head of the army, and those who are now in charge of the government by means of an unlawful seizure of power.

The Asia Justice Coalition calls on the international community to reject the actions by Myanmar's Tatmadaw, to proceed with targeted sanctions, and to call for:

  • Safety and the immediate, unconditional release of all detained;
  • Cessation of any further detentions or arrests;
  • Rescinding of the state of emergency; and
  • Immediate return to civilian rule.