Australian Greens Statement on Myanmar


On the 1st of February 2021, the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s military junta, launched a military coup against the civilian government. They declared the results of the November 2020 general election invalid and instated a one-year state of emergency. 

Since February 2021, the situation has progressed, and improvements to the human rights situation by international organisations have been seldom due to strict policies enacted by the junta. According to the recent United Nations OCHA Myanmar Humanitarian Update humanitarian needs have been exacerbated by military operations, conflict between military junta and armed resistance groups, as well as natural disasters (e.g., Cyclone Mocha). 

According to the United Nations, there are currently 1.6 million internally displaced peoples across Myanmar, 17.6 million people in need and 70,000 civilian properties have been burnt or destroyed by the junta since the February 2021 coup. The update also states that humanitarian response remains largely underfunded, with only 17% of the required funding received by mid 2023. Arrests or detentions of aid workers have noticeably increased in recent months, with 50 humanitarian staff reported to have been detained or arrested since January 2023. 

United Nations Security Council attempts to intervene have been hampered by the dissent of Russia and China in protection of Myanmar. Resolution 2669 and the 5PC call for constructive dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar, but neither document provides detail on how the international community can support this. 

The key recommendation of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar was for the economic isolation of and disengagement from military-linked companies and state-owned enterprises. Australia stands out for not having sanctioned any of the key State Owned Enterprises and banks, which are now under full control of the military junta as a result of the illegal 2021 coup; and these SOEs are all key sources of revenue for the junta, helping to finance its ongoing campaign of terror against the people.

So far, the Australian Government has only implemented targeted sanctions on 16 members of the Myanmar military regime’s governing State Administration Council (SAC), as well as sanctions on two military-owned holding companies, 2 years after the coup d’etat.The reliance on ASEAN to adequately respond by both this Labor Government and the previous Coalition government falls short of what the people of Myanmar so desperately need and deserve. It also falls noticeably short of other state’s responses such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Europe.

Additionally, according to Myanmar Campaign Network, Australia has imported $2.5 million worth of timber and wood products, $508,000 worth of pearls and gems and $46,000 worth of arms and ammunition  from entities linked directly to the junta-controlled state-owned enterprise since the coup.

The Australian Greens continue to hear the people of Myanmar’s call for assistance and we support you in your struggle for freedom and democracy in your country. We will always champion your democratic rights and freedoms. Therefore, the Greens:

  • Continue recognition of the National Unity Government as the legitimate democratic government of Myanmar and call on the Australian Government to do the same.
  • In line with the Australian Greens National Conference Resolution on Boycotts, Divestments & Targeted Sanctions, call on the Australian Government to impose targeted sanctions on the following organisations involved in the financial support of the military junta and therefore responsible for the continued repression of human rights of the people of Myanmar:
    • Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise
    • Myanmar Mining Enterprises no.1 & 2
    • Myanmar Pearl Enterprise 
    • Myanmar Gems Enterprise 
    • Myanmar Timber Enterprise 
    • Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise
    • Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) 
    • Myanmar Investment and Commercial Bank (MICB)
  • Call on the Australian Government to enforce diplomatic isolation of the Myanmar military Junta, including advocating for the exclusion of the military junta from ASEAN forums.  
  • For the Australian Government to advocate for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, including civilians, who have been unlawfully detained under the regime. This includes an immediate end to any threat or act of execution of political prisoners and clear condemnation from the Australian Government where this occurs.
  • Call on the Australian government to increase its humanitarian aid in Myanmar and work with international partners and organisations to ensure a safe passage of aid through  a humanitarian corridor. 
  • For the Australian Government to call on its allies in the UN Security Council to table and vote on a follow up resolution for Myanmar that includes mechanisms to enable full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in Myanmar

In addition, the Australian Greens continue their advocacy for the Rohingya population, and therefore:

  1. Recognise the ongoing injustices that have been done to the Rohingya population making them one of the most persecuted minorities in the world and aim to assist to rectify this situation; 
  2. Call on the Australian Government to increase humanitarian intake to 50,000 places a year, including for those fleeing persecution following the military coup in Myanmar and the Rohingya population.
  3. Call on the Australian Government to grant Permanent Resident visas to all Rohingya on bridging visas, including those who were in indefinite mandatory detention for 8 years and are now living in the community with uncertain futures; and
  4. Call on the Australian Government to restore the Rohingya to the Immigration Priority List to ensure timely processing of citizenship, partner visa, and other Immigration issues.