02/23/2021, 00.00
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G7, EU, Malaysia, Indonesia increasingly critical of Myanmar coup

by Francis Khoo Thwe

The G7 group condemns the military violence, calls for the release of political prisoners and supports the "demand for democracy and freedom" of the population. The EU has decided on targeted sanctions and the blocking of humanitarian aid to Naypyidaw government. Indonesia’s U-turn (which "supports the people of Myanmar"). A Malaysian court stops the repatriation of 1,200 illegal migrants, some in need of the right to asylum.

Yangon (AsiaNews) - More than 3 weeks after the military coup and the arrest of the country's democracy leaders, criticism of the junta is also growing among ASEAN countries (Association of Southeast Asian Countries), traditionally silent and not at all eager to enter into the fray of another allied nation’s “internal affairs".

In London, the group of G7 countries (United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain), together with the High Representative of the European Union (EU), issued a statement today expressing their opposition to takeover by the military and criticized their violence. They write:  "Use of live ammunition against unarmed people is unacceptable. Anyone responding to peaceful protests with violence must be held to accou”.

The G7 demands an end to the "systematic kidnapping" of demonstrators, doctors, members of civil society, journalists and demand the lifting of the state of emergency declared by the junta. “"We remain united in condemning the coup in Myanmar. We call again for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained arbitrarily, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and continue to stand with the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy and freedom," the statement said.

Yesterday, EU foreign ministers decided to impose targeted sanctions against the military who managed the coup and blocked direct development aid to the government of Myanmar.

EU high representative Josep Borrell also specified that the blockade will not stop trade links with the country, for fear of affecting the population in general in this way.

Among the Western countries, the United States, Canada and Great Britain have already launched some targeted sanctions against the generals leading the coup.

The US, together with India, Japan and Australia (the so-called "Quad", Quadrilateral Security Dialogue), have declared that they want an "urgent" return of democracy to Myanmar.

China, for its part, first advised everyone not to meddle in another country's "internal affairs"; then expressed that it was "not happy" with the coup, officially denying that it was helping the junta by sending soldiers and weapons.

Critics of the coup also include some countries of Southeast Asia. The government of Singapore, the largest foreign investor in Myanmar, after defining the sanctions as not very effective, has declared that it wants the return of democracy. Today Indonesia and Malaysia joined.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi today declared that in Myanmar "the inclusive democratic transition must be pursued, according to the wishes of the people". Previously, according to some rumours, Indonesia was trying to endorse the junta's proposal to hold new elections: a decision strongly criticized by the population in Myanmar, after elections last November allowed a spectacular victory for the National League for Democracy. "Indonesia - Retno said today - is concerned about the situation and supports the people of Myanmar".

Malaysia initially expressed "serious concerns" over the coup, but days later it accepted the junta's offer to repatriate 1,200 illegal migrants to Myanmar. They include members of the Chin Christian community and Shan and Kachin ethnic groups, fighting against the army.

Thanks to pressure from humanitarian activists, a Malaysian court today revoked the repatriation order. The UN has asked to check whether there are people in need of asylum among the migrants. According to the United Nations, there are at least six of them in need of international protection

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