Person making three-fingered salute, crowd in background (© AP Images)
A protester flashes a three-fingered salute during pro-democracy protests February 21 in Rangoon, Burma. (© AP Images)

The United States and international partners support the Burmese people’s calls for democracy and demand an end to military violence against peaceful protesters.

Since seizing power February 1, Burma’s military has led a violent crackdown on calls for democracy, killing more than 890 people, including many children, and detaining more than 5,000 others.

“We condemn the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup,” the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) nations said in a February 23 joint statement. “The systematic targeting of protesters, doctors, civil society and journalists must stop.”

The G7 nations are the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. The High Representative of the European Union also joined the statement.

The United States and partner nations sanctioned Burmese military officials responsible for the coup and attacks on peaceful protesters and took action against Burmese companies that support the military.

“We will continue to support the people of Burma in their efforts to reject this coup, and we call on the military regime to cease violence, release all those unjustly detained, and restore Burma’s path to democracy,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said April 21, announcing sanctions against two Burmese state-owned enterprises.

This story provides periodic updates on U.S. efforts to prevent and deter the Burmese military’s human rights violations.

July 13

The United States and partners recently imposed new sanctions in response to the Burmese military’s undermining of democracy and violence against the Burmese people.

“We will continue to take additional action against, and impose costs on, the military and its leaders until they reverse course and provide for a return to democracy,” Blinken said July 2, announcing sanctions against 22 Burmese officials and mining and technology companies that support the regime.

The restrictions block sanctioned entities from doing business with the United States and come as international consensus builds against the military regime.

Man standing in middle of crowd of people sitting down with yellow umbrellas (© AP Images)
Burma’s military attacked peaceful protesters, including in Mandalay, where demonstrators called for a return to democracy March 13. (© AP Images)

In a June 18 resolution, 119 United Nations member states condemned the Burmese military’s violence and supported regional efforts to resolve the crisis.

“A system built on brutality and bloodshed will not survive,” U.N. General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said announcing the resolution.

The European Union and United Kingdom June 21 announced new sanctions against Burmese military officials and companies for serious human rights violations and for undermining democracy and the rule of law.

“Alongside our allies, we are placing sanctions on companies linked to Myanmar’s military junta, targeting the finances of this illegitimate regime,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

May 26

The United States, the United Kingdom and Canada are taking action against Burma’s military regime in response to the military’s violence against civilians and refusal to return Burma to democracy.

On May 17, the United States designated 16 people and the State Administrative Council, the military regime’s governing body. Of those targeted, 13 are key members of the military regime, while three are related to previously designated regime officials.

The United Kingdom and Canada are also taking steps to impose costs on the regime.

“As President Biden has stated, the United States will continue to promote accountability for those responsible for the coup,” Blinken said on May 17. “Our actions today underscore our resolve and that of our partners to apply political and financial pressure on the regime as long as it fails to stop violence and take meaningful action to respect the will of the people.”

New U.S. sanctions come after the military regime attacked Mindat, in western Burma, with helicopter gunships and artillery, killing at least five civilians, Radio Free Asia reports.

May 24

Burma’s military has repeatedly shut down the internet to maintain its grip on power, violating the Burmese people’s right to access information and crippling the country’s economy.

Access to information is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Blocking the internet imposes an array of costs, from shuttering online businesses to endangering public health and the food supply.

April 7

The United States joined more than 75 countries and the European Union in an April 1 statement calling on Burma’s military to release all those unjustly detained, including imprisoned journalists, and end its attacks against the Burmese people.

“We are appalled by the escalating violence in Myanmar and the killing of demonstrators, arbitrary arrests and violence, including against journalists and media workers,” the U.N. Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists said in a joint statement. “We join the call for an immediate release of all those detained arbitrarily.”

Woman crying while being held up by other people (© AP Images)
Mourners console Thida Hnin at her husband’s funeral February 23 in Mandalay. Burmese forces shot and killed Thet Naing Win during anti-coup protests February 20. (© AP Images)

April 1

On March 30, Blinken urged international companies to reconsider business dealings that support Burma’s military. Firms such as Japanese beverage company Kirin and South Korean steel manufacturer POSCO Coated & Color Steel have cut ties with Burmese companies that support the military as it ignores calls for democracy.

The United States and international partners sanctioned Burmese military officials responsible for the coup and attacks on peaceful protesters. On March 25, the United States sanctioned officials and military units responsible for firing into crowds and other attacks on peaceful protesters.

On March 22, the European Union designated 11 individuals in connection with the coup and subsequent violence, including some officials already targeted by U.S. sanctions.

The chiefs of defense of a dozen countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and the United States, condemned the Burmese military’s use of lethal force against unarmed people in a joint statement March 27.

“A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting — not harming — the people it serves,” the officials said.