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TakeAction for March 2021: Building peace & security

Urgent international action needed to end deadly Myanmar coup The situation in Myanmar is growing more violent and polarized. Deadly attacks on peaceful protesters by Myanmar’s security forces continue. More than 60 people have been killed since the 1 February military coup ousted the recently elected civilian-led government. Over 2,000 people have been arrested, charged, or sentenced since the coup took place.

Despite the crackdown, daily demonstrations continue in defiance of the military’s state of emergency, and strikes have brought much of Myanmar’s economy to a halt. The Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) is a 21st-century movement in that technology-savvy youth, including women, stand at the forefront of the demonstrations on the streets. In addition to the civil disobedience covered by the news media, many people, including more than 75 percent of Myanmar’s civil service, are protesting against the coup by refusing to go to work.

The security forces’ response targeting National League for Democracy (NLD) members and unarmed protestors is becoming increasingly violent and could get worse. Meanwhile, protesters continue to call for the international community to uphold its responsibility to protect (R2P) and urgently respond to violence by the security forces. Photos continue to emerge on social media showing “We need R2P” and similar messages on protest placards and written in candlelight on city streets.

Numerous countries have condemned the military takeover. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said it was a “serious blow to democratic reforms.” Although China’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council prevents that body from taking meaningful action, other diplomatic and economic pressure, as well as continued protest by the citizens of Myanmar, can make a difference.

The US and UK have responded with more sanctions on military officials. What about Canada?

Canadian mining companies continue to operate in Myanmar, often in close partnership with government military officials. Canada should strengthen its limited sanctions imposed years ago targeting a few of Myanmar’s military leaders, following the attacks on the Rohingya people in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.

What you can do

Write to Foreign Affairs Minister Garneau regarding Canada’s response to the coup and deadly crackdown on peaceful protest in Myanmar.

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