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Statement by the Women’s Refugee Commission Regarding Military Coup in Myanmar and Arrest of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi

New York, NY – Early Monday morning, Myanmar’s military (Tatmadaw) took control of the country in a coup and declared a state of emergency, following the detention of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior government leaders, as well as civil society leaders.

In reaction to the alarming developments in Myanmar, Joan Timoney, vice-president, advocacy and external relations of the Women’s Refugee Commission, issued the following statement:

“We are extremely concerned by reports of the detention of the elected leader of Myanmar, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, as well as civil society and opposition leaders, and call for their immediate release.

“While we are alarmed, these developments do not come as a surprise. The lack of accountability for crimes perpetrated by the Tatmadaw against Myanmar’s ethnic communities, including Rohingya women and girls, has been an open invitation to the military to continue seizing power, without any fear of consequences.

“Time and time again, women’s rights organizations and UN human rights experts have warned the international community to take urgent action, including sanctions, against the military, which, despite past elections, has remained in power without any civilian oversight, as provided for under Myanmar’s constitution.

“We call on UN Member States to immediately suspend all engagement with Myanmar’s military and hold perpetrators accountable. We also call on the UN Security Council to immediately take all necessary measures to protect civilians, in particular refugees and internally displaced persons, who are already living in dire conditions and lack access to humanitarian aid, including food, critical medical care, psychosocial care, and sexual and reproductive health care.”