Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Questions (743, 781)

Mick Barry


743. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the military coup in Myanmar; the representations he and the relevant ambassadors have made to the authorities in Myanmar; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13995/21]

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Marian Harkin


781. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action he is taking either in his own right or as a member of the United Nations Security Council to uphold democracy in Myanmar and to condemn the military coup; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15785/21]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 743 and 781 together.

I strongly condemn the coup carried out by the Myanmar military. The coup is a reversal of the progress made towards democracy and rule of law in Myanmar that has taken years to establish, and does nothing to tackle the public health, security or economic issues faced by the people of Myanmar.

I am appalled by the escalating and systematic use of force on peaceful protesters by the Myanmar military, resulting in the death of so many peaceful protesters and the critical injury of so many more. 

I have called upon the Myanmar military to demonstrate restraint, respect the freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, to restore unimpeded access to telecommunications and to uphold human rights and the rule of law. I have also called for the immediate release of political detainees and for the reinstatement of the legitimate civilian government.

In support of sanctions against the perpetrators of the coup and the economic entities that support them, I endorsed the strong and comprehensive approach set out in the Council Conclusions agreed at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council on February 22. My Department is currently working with the EU to establish a package of measures that work to restore the democratic path in Myanmar and do not negatively affect developmental gains or exacerbate the humanitarian situation. These include sanctions targeted at the perpetrators of the coup.

Ireland continues to engage in discussions on Myanmar at the UN Security Council. I welcome that the Security Council took united positions following two closed consultations as this sends a strong message to the Myanmar military. The crisis remains on the Council's agenda and we continue to follow developments closely. 

My Department has also voiced our concern at the Special Session and the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council. I welcome the unanimous resolution agreed by the Special Session of the Human Rights Council; this consensus is a significant and positive signal of accord on this issue within the international community.

I emphasise the importance of a united response to this crisis, in particular, we need to recognise the importance of engaging partners in the region to ensure an effective, appropriate, and sustainable outcome to the crisis. Through the UN and our Embassy network, we are encouraging those who have influence on the military leadership, including countries within the region, to use it to find a political solution to the crisis and protect the human rights of the Myanmar people.