Nearly one year ago, Burma’s military overthrew the country’s democratically elected government and installed a brutal regime that has killed over 1,000 civilians.
Since the February 1, 2021, coup, the United States and international partners have promoted accountability for the actions of Burma’s military regime, sanctioning military officials responsible for the coup and violence against protesters.
“The United States remains committed to the people of Burma, who will not give up hope for a better future, even as they suffer horrific abuses by the regime,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said January 3 in advance of Burma’s Independence Day, January 4.
On December 10, the United States, in coordination with Canada and the United Kingdom, sanctioned military regime officials in connection with serious human rights abuses. Those sanctioned include Myo Swe Win, chief minister of Bago region, where armed forces killed at least 82 people April 9.
Also sanctioned are offices of Burma’s Ministry of Defense that manufacture weapons for the Burmese military and police and supply bullets and artillery that have been used to kill hundreds of civilians, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.
Independent observers concluded that Burma’s November 8, 2020, election of a civilian government reflected “the true will of the electorate.”
Since seizing power February 1, 2021, Burma’s military regime has killed 1,484 and arrested 11,638, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).
The United States supports the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) Five-Point Consensus for returning Burma to the path of democracy. It also supports the U.N. Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar in promoting accountability for rights violations, including the military’s killing of at least 35 innocent people in Kayah and Karen states December 24, 2021.
Since the coup, the United States and international partners have:
- Sanctioned military officials responsible for the coup and attacks on peaceful protesters, including firing into crowds, and other human rights abuses.
- Urged Burma’s military to release all those unjustly detained, including journalists, pro-democracy advocates, and former civilian government officials and political party members.
- Underscored U.S. support for democracy in Burma during meetings at the U.N. General Assembly, including with Burma’s pro-democracy NUG (Burmese leaders in exile), civil society and other democratic stakeholders.
- Condemned government-imposed internet shutdowns and other tactics that prevent freedom of expression online.
In a December 6, 2021, statement, Blinken condemned the unjust conviction of Burma’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the repression of other democratically elected officials as “affronts to democracy and justice” and called for a return to Burma’s path to democracy.
“We join the people of Burma in their aspirations for freedom and democracy and call on the regime to end the use of violence, respect the will of the people, and restore Burma’s democratic transition,” Blinken said.