The ambassador also said that embassy staff were being threatened with “severe punishment if they don’t continue to work for the military general,” the BBC reported.
Myanmar’s military staged a coup on February 1 after claiming voter fraud in its November 2020 election, and detained its leaders. Since then it has also cracked down on anti-coup protests and killed hundreds of demonstrators.
Kyaw Zwar Minn has called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the civilian leader that the military detained during the coup.
On Friday, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution that censured the military coup in Myanmar by a 398-14 vote. Over a dozen Republicans, most of them from the pro-Trump Freedom Caucus, stood in opposition.
The vote condemned the military generals who orchestrated the coup and called for the Biden administration to place sanctions on them.
Some Freedom Caucus representatives tied their votes to right-wing political talking points, and some referenced the 2020 US elections.
Those who voted no were, 13 of whom are part of the Freedom Caucus:
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado
Rep. Chip Roy of Texas
Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland
Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina
Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois
Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia
Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama
Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia
Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida
Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, a member of the caucus, voted present.
One Republican, who is not a part of the Freedom Caucus, also voted against the resolution: Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
Perry objected to Pennsylvania’s electors ahead of the insurrection on January 6, and on Friday, and his spokesperson told Forbes that the Myanmar resolution “is an overt attempt to trap Republicans into condemning the claims of evidence of election fraud in Burma while perpetuating similar claims (in the Democrat’s views) of evidence in US elections.”
Harris issued a statement aimed at immigrants, saying that Congress should address, “COVID positive illegal aliens being dispersed into our communities rather than wasting time on useless resolutions about a foreign country.”
Biggs, the caucus chair, posted a video on Twitter explaining his opposition to the resolution.
In the video, Biggs said the violence resulting from the coup is “tragic.” However, Biggs says that “there is suffering everywhere in the world” and he believes the US “can’t be the military police for the entire world.” He alleged that the resolution was a means to “put our foot in the door in Burma.”
In Myanmar’s November elections, the ruling National League for Democracy won 396 out of 476 seats in Parliament, with the military-affiliated Union Solidarity and Development Party winning 33 seats.
The military, known as the Tatmadaw, claimed that the election was rife with voter fraud – charging 8.6 million instances of “voter irregularities” among a population of 54 million – a claim that was rejected by the country’s election commission, according to the AP.
Top members of the ruling party, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, were detained by the military.
Mass protests have followed the coup in Myanmar since early February, and according to the UN, military forces have killed at least 138 protesters since then. The military has also instituted media and internet blackouts.
After the vote on Friday, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted that, “The House QAnon Caucus refuses to condemn the military coup in Burma.”
Myanmar’s UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, speaking for the country’s elected civilian government ousted in a military coup on February 1, appealed to the UN on Friday “to use any means necessary to take action against the Myanmar military” to restore democracy to the Southeast Asian country.
He addressed the 193-member U.N. General Assembly after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, warned that no country should recognize or legitimize the Myanmar junta and all efforts must be made to restore democracy.
“We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore the democracy,” Kyaw Moe Tun said to applause and praise from Western and Islamic counterparts.
Schraner Burgener pushed for a collective “clear signal in support of democracy” as she sounded the alarm over the coup, urging “influential” countries to push the military to allow an independent assessment of the situation.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army seized power and detained civilian government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party after the military complained of fraud in a November election.
“Regrettably, the current regime has so far asked me to postpone any visit. It seems they want to continue making large-scale arrests and have been coercing people to testify against the NLD Government. This is cruel and inhumane,” Schraner Burgener said.
The country has been largely paralyzed by weeks of protests and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes against the military. While military chief General Min Aung Hlaing says authorities are using minimal force during the protests, three protesters and one policeman have been killed.
“If there is any escalation in terms of military crackdown – and sadly as we have seen this before in Myanmar – against people exercising their basic rights, let us act swiftly and collectively,” Schraner Burgener said.
‘Make sure that this coup fails’
The army has promised an election, but has not given a date. It has imposed a one-year state of emergency.
The question of an election is at the center of a diplomatic effort by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a member. Indonesia has taken the lead, but coup opponents fear the efforts will confer legitimacy on the junta.
“It is important the international community does not lend legitimacy or recognition to this regime,” Schraner Burgener said. “The result of the election of November 2020 was clear with 82 percent of the votes for the NLD.”
Guterres has pledged to mobilize enough international pressure “to make sure that this coup fails.” The Security Council has voiced concern over the state of emergency, but stopped short of condemning the coup.
Schraner Burgener expressed concern for the Rohingya Muslims and other minorities.
A 2017 military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine State sent more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh, where they are still stranded. Guterres and Western states have accused the Myanmar army of ethnic cleansing, which it denies.
“We must ask, how can we rely on a military regime when the very same led the security operations leading to the human rights violations and forced displacement of Rohingya people and others from their homes?” Schraner Burgener said.
Facebook deleted the main page of the Myanmar military on Sunday for violating the platform’s standards that prohibit the incitement of violence, Reuters reported.
Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment, but a spokesperson told Reuters: “In line with our global policies, we’ve removed the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page from Facebook for repeated violations of our Community Standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm.”
The military, known as the Tatmadaw, took over on February 1, claiming there was mass voter fraud during the country’s November elections.
An independent election committee, however, reviewed the claims and found them to be baseless.
The coup resulted in the detention of officials including President Win Myint and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
On Saturday, riot police shot and killed two people protesting against the coup, the Associated Press reported.
In a Facebook post, Kyi Toe, spokesperson for the National League for Democracy said Khine was shot by “a bullet that pierced a motorcycle helmet,” and rights groups confirmed that she was shot by police.
The military’s “True News Information Unit” however, claimed that only non-lethal weapons were used during the protests.
Earlier this month, in response to the coup, Facebook said it would “significantly reduce the distribution of all content on Facebook Pages and profiles run by the Myanmar military that has continued to spread misinformation.
The platform has been criticized in the past for not being strict enough on moderating political content.
“We take action against accounts on our platforms in accordance with our product policies and applicable laws,” a Google spokesperson told Insider’s Jeff Elder. “In this case, we have terminated accounts as a result of President Biden’s Executive Order of 11 February 2021 concerning Myanmar.”
Biden announced an executive order on February 10 which ordered sanctions against Myanmar’s military leaders, limited the military’s access to the country’s $1 billion in government funds held in the US, and froze assets that help Myanmar’s government.
“The people of Burma are making their voices heard, and the world is watching,” Biden said in a briefing: “We’ll be ready to impose additional measures, and we’ll continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts.”
Google has pulled down a propaganda blog supporting the military coup in Myanmar after the blog was discovered by an online activist this week.
The blog was managed and hosted via the Google-owned Blogger platform under the URL seniorgeneralminaunghlaing.com, taking its name from the Myanmar military leader who has seized control of the country.
“We take action against accounts on our platforms in accordance with our product policies and applicable laws,” a Google spokesperson told Insider. “In this case, we have terminated accounts as a result of President Biden’s Executive Order of 11 February 2021 concerning Myanmar.” Google also removed apps run by the coup from its Play Store app marketplace.
After the blog was pulled down, Enby told Insider that “taking down Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s website and propaganda apps on the Play Store is a step in the right direction, but Google should speak out and tell us whether they also intend to cut them off from services like Gmail that he and his cronies rely on to do their day-to-day business.”
Google did not respond to questions about pulling other services used by the coup.
A post on the blog on Monday claimed the military leadership “has not changed the path of multi-party democracy. All tasks are being carried out in accord with the Constitution (2008). No policies were changed in politics, administration, economic, social affairs, peace and international relations.” The domain listed its registrant organization as the Myanmar Ministry of Defence.
President Joe Biden ordered sanctions against Myanmar’s military leaders after a coup earlier this month and called on them to release detained officials, including President Win Myint and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“The people of Burma are making their voices heard, and the world is watching,” Biden said in a briefing. “We’ll be ready to impose additional measures, and we’ll continue to work with our international partners to urge other nations to join us in these efforts.”
The first round of individuals to be reprimanded will be announced this week, but Biden promised to “immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price also said the US would work with other countries to impose “steep and profound costs on those responsible for this coup.”
The US formally declared the military takeover as a coup on February 2, which prompted a review of foreign aid to the country, NBC reported.
The military, known as the Tatmadaw, took over on February 1, claiming there was mass voter fraud during the country’s November elections. An independent election committee, however, reviewed the claims and found them to be baseless.
Biden’s executive order will also limit the military’s access to the country’s $1 billion in government funds held in the US.
Additionally, the US said it would freeze assets that help Myanmar’s government, but will continue to support “health care, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly,” Biden said.
While the US has ordered sanctions, Reuters reported that it’s unlikely that countries like China, India, Japan, and other Southeast Asian neighbors will impose sanctions on Myanmar.
“The key will not be just what America does,” Derek Mitchell, a former US ambassador to Myanmar told Reuters. “It’s going to be how we get others along with us, allies who may have more skin in the game, more leverage, or at least better relationships with the key players.”
The Myanmar police, which operates under the military, charged Suu Kyi with breaching import laws and using illegal communication devices – walkie-talkies – on Wednesday, the BBC reported. The police also charged Win Myint with violating COVID-19 rules, per the BBC.
However, the council was unable to issue that statement as UN ambassadors from China and Russia said they would need the respective blessings of Beijing and Moscow before agreeing, the Associated Press reported.
As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia are able to veto or delay the body’s activities.
Issuing a joint statement is the first step to enforcing sanctions and Sherine Tadros, the deputy director of advocacy at Amnesty International, told the AP the council needs to act.
“The Security Council must also impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar, and crucially, refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court,” Tadros said, adding that the council should freeze Min Aung Hlaing’s assets.
That same month, China said that it “firmly supports Myanmar’s efforts to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests and national dignity in the international arena,” AFP reported.
Russia and China have blocked UN actions regarding Myanmar in the past, having in 2007 vetoed a UN draft resolution that called on the country’s military regime at the time to release political prisoners and stop violating human rights.
Myanmar’s military announced on Monday that it would be taking over the country for at least a year, citing massive voter fraud as justification for the coup.
The announcement was made on the military-owned television channel Myawaddy TV, and followed the detainment of several top Myanmar politicians, including civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar President Win Myint. Members of the ruling National League for Democracy were also taken into custody, according to the Associated Press. The newly elected parliament was due to meet on Monday for the first time since the election.
Myanmar Vice President Myint Swe, a former general who is backed by the military, is currently heading up the government.
In the country’s last election in November, the National League for Democracy won 396 out of 476 parliamentary seats, while the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won just 33 seats.
The military, known as the Tatmadaw, claimed there was massive voter fraud, and on January 26 released a list of corruption allegations. They claimed there were 8.6 million instances of “voter irregularities” among a population of 54 million.
The claims were rejected by the country’s election commission, according to the AP.
As news of the coup spread across the country, citizens lined up at banks to pull their cash out. Residents in the city of Yangon reported that area ATMs had run out of cash. According to Reuters, all banks are planning to shut down temporarily.
World leaders expressed shock and outrage at the military takeover.
“We call on Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted. “The military must reverse these actions immediately.”
United Nations’ Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the coup represents “a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.”
UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir tweeted: “I call for immediate release of detained political leaders. Attempts to undermine #democracy and rule of law are unacceptable. Military leaders must adhere to democratic norms and respect public institutions and civilian authority.”
In a statement on Monday, the military said the international community “should not be endorsing the next steps of the political process on a business-as-usual basis without understanding actual events,” according to the Myanmar Times.
Sen. Bob Menendez, the incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, recommended the US impose sanctions on Myanmar, “as well as other measures, against the Tatmadaw and the military leadership of Burma.”
Myanmar’s military ran the country until 2015, when it began transitioning toward a democratic model. In recent years, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was hailed as a humanitarian hero and presented with a Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest in 1991, has been criticized for her imprisonment and torture of the Rohingya ethnic minority.