Written answers

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Foreign Policy

Photo of Thomas PringleThomas Pringle (Donegal, Independent)
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137. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the official position of the State on the military coup in Myanmar; if it has been conveyed to the coup forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9079/21]

Photo of Simon CoveneySimon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
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Since 1 February Ireland has made its position clear through my own statements, statements issued by the EU, by the United Nations Security Council and by Ireland at the Human Rights Council.

Ireland stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and I reiterate my condemnation of the coup carried out by the Myanmar military on February 1st and the unlawful detention of political leaders including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

I made this position clear in a statement of 1 February and it was reinforced by a joint EU statement of 2 February, to which Ireland was party. On 11 February, I further called for a firm response from the international community, including sanctions that target the perpetrators of the coup. I also outlined Ireland’s commitment to ensuring continued humanitarian support to the most vulnerable communities in Myanmar, including internally displaced persons.

My Department provides development cooperation funding to support the livelihood and resilience of vulnerable communities in Myanmar. In particular, funding support has been provided to strengthen food and nutrition security, and in response to humanitarian needs in Rakhine State. We will continue to review the situation with our implementing partners to ensure that Irish funds are utilised where they are needed most.

I welcome the united position taken by the UN Security Council in its statement of 4 February, and Ireland will continue to work with our partners on the Council and with countries in the region in response to this crisis.

The consensus shown on the Human Rights Council, where an EU and UK-led resolution was adopted unanimously at a special session on 12 February, was also a positive signal of accord on this issue within the international community.

These views are being expressed directly to the Myanmar military through appropriate channels. For instance, earlier this week in a discussion with the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar, Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener called on the Myanmar military to refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. Ireland continues to monitor the situation closely and engage with the EU Delegation and Head of Mission in Myanmar via our Embassy in Bangkok.

It is important that the authorities in Myanmar respond appropriately to these events and that people in Myanmar are free to peacefully and safely express their views. It is vitally important that the military in Myanmar exercise restraint.

Ireland continues to work with EU partners and other like-minded countries in responding to the events since 1 February and is committed to ensuring that any course of action is appropriate; works to restore the democratic path in Myanmar and does not negatively impact developmental gains or exacerbate the humanitarian situation. At a political level, Myanmar will be a point of discussion at the Foreign Affairs Council next week.

Ireland, along with our EU colleagues, has been a steadfast supporter of Myanmar’s civilian and democratic transition, its peace process and national reconciliation, and its inclusive socio-economic development. These are roles we want to continue to assume during this challenging period.


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