Military leaders from 12 countries, including the United States, issued a rare joint statement Saturday night condemning the deadly use of force by Myanmar’s security forces following the deadliest day of anti-coup protests since the movement began. Security forces reportedly killed 114 people, including children, as the ruling military junta, which seized power from the civilian government on Feb. 1, celebrated Armed Forces Day.
The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, chaired by Gen. Mark Milley, joined their counterparts from Australia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, and the United Kingdom in signing the brief statement, which urged Myanmar’s military to “cease violence and work to continue to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions.” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also tweeted his support for the statement.
The recent reports of violence out of Myanmar (Burma) are deeply disturbing. I stand with General Milley, Admiral Davidson, and other military leaders around the world in condemning this violence. https://t.co/MpmgYbXZX0
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) March 28, 2021
Meanwhile, Tom Andrews, the United Nation’s special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, called for “robust coordinated action” from the international community. “Words of condemnation or concern are frankly ringing hollow to the people of Myanmar while the military junta commits mass murder against them,” he said, per CNN. “The people of Myanmar need the world’s support.”
On Sunday, security forces again opened fire, this time at a crowd that had gathered for a funeral for one of Saturday’s victims. There have been no reports of casualties. Read more at Reuters and CNN. Tim O’Donnell