Obama urges world to reject Myanmar junta, warns of 'failed state'
Then US president Barack Obama speaks to young people in Yangon in November 2014 as Myanmar transitioned toward democracy.
AFP, File

Obama urges world to reject Myanmar junta, warns of 'failed state'

(Agence France-Presse) - April 27, 2021 - 7:35am

WASHINTON, United States — Former US president Barack Obama on Monday urged all nations to stand firm against Myanmar's junta, voicing solidarity with democracy protesters and warning of a "failed state."

"The world's attention must remain on Myanmar, where I've been appalled by heartbreaking violence against civilians and inspired by the nationwide movement that represents the voice of the people," said Obama, who visited the country to support its nascent embrace of democracy a decade ago.

"The military's illegitimate and brutal effort to impose its will after a decade of greater freedoms will clearly never be accepted by the people and should not be accepted by the wider world," Obama said in a statement.

Obama, who is sparing in his comments on international affairs, backed efforts by the United States under President Joe Biden and other nations to "impose costs on the military" in a bid to restore democracy.

"Myanmar's neighbors should recognize that a murderous regime rejected by the people will only bring greater instability, humanitarian crisis, and the risk of a failed state," he said.

He was speaking on the heels of an ASEAN summit in Jakarta to which junta chief Min Aung Hlaing was invited, with host Indonesia urging an end to violence.

Myanmar's military on February 1 overthrew the elected government and arrested democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

It has harshly cracked down on democratic protests, killing more than 700 people.

Obama in his statement used the name Myanmar, the preferred usage of the Southeast Asian nation's leaders which his administration had gradually adopted.

Since the coup, the Biden administration has gone back to the former name Burma.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 15, 2021 - 8:05am

Follow this thread for updates on the situation in Myanmar, where a coup may be happening after de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials have reportedly been detained by the military.

Photo: Military officers wearing facemasks who serve as members of Myanmar's parliament leave after a session at the Assembly of the Union (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw) in Naypyidaw on March 10, 2020. AFP/Ye Aung Thu

June 15, 2021 - 8:05am

Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations, who has refused to leave his post despite being fired after the February coup, has called for "effective collective measures" against the junta, ahead of expected Security Council talks on the situation.

"It is most urgent that the international community take effective collective measures to prevent any possible crimes against humanity from happening and the emergence of a potential regional humanitarian crisis," Kyaw Moe Tun wrote in a letter to the world body dated May 28 and published on Monday.

"Strong, decisive and unified measures are imperative and needed immediately," he wrote. 

"The lack of such actions by the international community will further encourage the military to continue committing inhumane and brutal acts against civilians and will result in the further loss of lives of innocent civilians in Myanmar."

Kyaw Moe Tun has passionately rejected the February 1 coup and brushed aside the junta's claims that he no longer represents Myanmar. The United Nations still considers him as the rightful envoy. — AFP

June 14, 2021 - 5:49pm

A US journalist detained in Myanmar since March was released on Monday after charges against him were dropped, his lawyer says.

US citizen Nathan Maung "was released this morning from Insein prison as the police withdrew the charges against him", and will fly back to the US on Tuesday, his lawyer Tin Zar Oo toells AFP.

Maung, who founded local outlet Kamayut Media, had faced charges under a colonial-era law that criminalises encouraging dissent against the military, she adds. —  AFP

June 10, 2021 - 11:54am

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been hit with fresh corruption charges, state-run media reports Thursday. 

The Anti-Corruption Commission found evidence that she had committed "corruption using her rank", according to the Global New Light of Myanmar. "So she was charged under Anti-Corruption Law section 55." — AFP

June 7, 2021 - 3:24pm

The trial of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi will hear its first testimony from next Monday, her lawyer tells AFP Monday. 

"We will get testimonies from plaintiff and witnesses starting from next hearing," scheduled for Monday June 14, lawyer Min Min Soe says after a meeting with the detained Suu Kyi in the capital Naypyidaw. —  AFP

June 1, 2021 - 10:52am

Schools in Myanmar will open on Tuesday for the first time since the military seized power, but teachers and students are set to defy the junta's calls for full classrooms in a show of resistance.

Four months of national turmoil have followed the February ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, with more than 800 people killed by security forces and a nationwide strike crippling the economy.

Public school teachers — dressed in the green and white uniforms mandated by the education ministry — were prominent in the early mass protests, joining railway workers, doctors and civil servants on the streets. — AFP

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