Two years ago today, people across Burma voted in credible and peaceful multiparty elections that were a milestone in the nation’s progress toward democratic governance after a half-century of military rule. While these elections reaffirmed the commitment of the people of Burma to democracy, the Burma military regime denied the will of the voters. In February 2021, it staged a coup d’état that reversed a decade of democratic progress.
Since the coup, the military has waged a brutal campaign of violence against the people of Burma, killing over 2,400 and arresting over 16,000 more, including President Win Myint and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi. The people of Burma are suffering under a worsening humanitarian crisis, while the regime limits access to critical humanitarian aid to a growing number of people in need. In recent months, the regime has escalated its violence by executing pro-democracy activists and attacking and killing society’s most vulnerable people – schoolteachers, young children, cultural leaders, and other innocent civilians. The regime’s scorched-earth campaign aims to reimpose an authoritarian system on people who are committed to charting a democratic future for their nation.
On the second anniversary of the 2020 elections in Burma, the United States holds firm our commitment to stand with those promoting peace, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and multiparty, inclusive democratic governance in Burma. We will continue to support the pro-democracy movement, including the NUG, the National Unity Consultative Council, and ethnic minority groups, including Rohingya, as they work to restore Burma’s democratic path. We share their convictions that the regime’s planned sham “elections,” which could not possibly be free and fair in the current context, will only fuel more violence, prolong the crisis, and defer the country’s transition to democracy and stability. We urge the international community to deny the military and its so-called “elections” credibility and instead meaningfully engage with pro-democracy leaders who uphold a vision for an inclusive and prosperous Burma.
The United States, alongside our allies and partners, will continue to take measures to impose consequences for the regime’s atrocities. We will persist in working with our partners to ensure justice and accountability and deny the regime revenue and resources as we press the regime to cease the violence and respect the will of the people and their demands for democracy, rule of law, and human dignity.