The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade today presented its report, Australia’s response to the coup in Myanmar.
Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Aid Subcommittee, Mr Dave Sharma MP, stated ‘the military coup in Myanmar has resulted in widespread loss of life and human tragedy, and has entirely reversed the significant development gains Myanmar has made in the past decade under civilian, democratic rule.’
‘This has led the Committee to make a range of recommendations to the Australian Government, including how Australia can best support regional diplomacy efforts geared towards resolution of the crisis, and the implications for our development assistance program.’
‘The Committee also recommends Australian Government support for ASEAN, UN and multilateral efforts to hold leaders of the Tatmadaw to account; investigate serious human rights violations; deter further violent repression; and restore civilian democratic rule.’ Mr Sharma stated.
The report provides an overview of the diplomatic options available to Australia to positively influence developments in Myanmar, drawing on evidence from a wide range of diaspora groups, human rights organisations, leading experts and government.
The Committee made eight recommendations, including:
- that the Australian Government continue to pursue the restoration of civilian rule in Myanmar as a foreign policy objective;
- for official Australian engagement with the legitimately-elected representatives of Myanmar, and for caution to avoid conveying legitimacy to military rule in Myanmar.
- continuation of Australian development assistance directed to humanitarian needs and civil society, but directed through non-government entities;
- further consideration of sanctions, including financial sanctions, against senior figures in the Tatmadaw and Tatmadaw-linked entities; and
- exploration of pathways to permanent residency for Myanmar nationals in Australia.