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S. Korea, EU, others condemn Myanmar atrocities

Feb. 1, 2024 - 15:22 By Ji Da-gyum
Myanmar's junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who ousted the elected government in a coup on Feb. 1, 2021, presides at an army parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 27, 2021. (File Photo - Reuters)

Eight countries including South Korea, together with the European Union, joined forces on Thursday to denounce the atrocities and human rights violations committed by Myanmar's junta in a joint statement on Thursday.

A joint statement was issued on the same day Myanmar's military seized power in a dawn coup on Feb. 1, 2021, and overthrew the democratically elected government.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the military regime’s ongoing atrocities and human rights violations, such as sexual and gender-based violence, and the restriction of fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression, through peaceful protests and the media," the statement read.

The military's actions have intensified the country's humanitarian crisis, displacing 2.6 million and leaving over 18 million people in need.

"We reiterate our call for the commander-in-chief and the military to change course, immediately ceasing violence against civilians, releasing all unjustly detained political prisoners, allowing full humanitarian access and creating space for inclusive dialogue with all stakeholders," said the statement.

The statement also called for a unified international effort to support Myanmar's transition towards an inclusive democracy.

"Three years on from the military coup, we continue to stand in solidarity with the Myanmar people and their desire for an inclusive and genuine democracy in Myanmar," the statement read.

The High Representative on behalf of the EU, in collaboration with the Foreign Ministers of South Korea, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States released the statement.

For three consecutive years, South Korea has actively joined in issuing joint statements to condemn the brutalities committed by the Myanmar coup, each time on Feb. 1 since 2022. Notably, South Korea has been the only Asian country to consistently endorse the joint statements of the foreign ministers.

"Our government has consistently urged an end to violence, the release of arbitrary detainees and the swift restoration of democracy since the early stages of the Myanmar situation, along with the international community," South Korea's Foreign Ministry told The Korea Herald. "The participation in the joint statement is part of the efforts."

The ministry underscored that the South Korean government "will continue to join the international community's endeavor for a peaceful resolution of the Myanmar situation and the restoration of democracy."