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Volume 689: debated on Thursday 25 February 2021

The UK condemns the coup in Myanmar in the strongest possible terms and we stand with the people of Myanmar who were clear at the elections in November that they want a democratic future.

Since 1 February the UK has led a strong, co-ordinated international response to support the Myanmar people and put pressure on the military.

We have led statements by G7 Foreign Ministers on 3 February and 23 February: convened an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council and co-ordinated a statement from all members condemning the coup on 4 February and co-led a special Session of the Human Rights Council on 12 February.

Last week, alongside our Canadian counterparts, we also announced sanctions on three individuals responsible for serious human rights violations committed by the military and police.

Today I am announcing further measures to increase the pressure on the Myanmar military following the coup.

First, the UK will impose sanctions on six military members of Myanmar’s State Administration Council for their role in overseeing human rights violations. This includes the Commander-in-Chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, Secretary of the SAC, Lieutenant General Aung Lin Dwe, Joint Secretary of the SAC, Lieutenant General Ye Win Oo, General Tin Aung San, General Maung Maung Kyaw, and Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun. The measures prevent these individuals from travelling to the United Kingdom and freeze any assets held in this country.

Secondly, the UK will temporarily suspend all trade promotion in Myanmar and launch a strategic review of the UK’s trade and investment approach. We are clear that UK businesses should not be supporting the military or their businesses. The joint FCDO-DIT review will look at identifying sectors with limited exposure to the military, opportunities for responsible development and mitigating the risk to Myanmar’s poorest.

Thirdly, I can confirm that following a review of all UK aid in Myanmar, the UK has suspended all support involving the Myanmar Government directly or indirectly unless there are exceptional humanitarian reasons. Support for Government-led reforms has been stopped and planned programmes will close. Our remaining programmes will focus on reaching the poorest and most vulnerable in Myanmar.

The international community has sent a clear message to Myanmar. The military must hand back power to the democratically elected Government and release all those detained arbitrarily.