The military coup in Myanmar of 1 February 2021 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.
Public opposition and resistance to the re-imposition of military rule in Myanmar remains widespread, whilst Myanmar’s economy is in the early stages of a contraction which threatens to be profound. The pathway ahead remains unclear, including the willingness of Myanmar’s military rulers to restore civilian rule and the effectiveness of regional diplomacy in addressing the crisis.
The potential regional security consequences of a prolonged crisis in Myanmar would be considerable. Australia has key interests engaged, including in the strategic, security, economic, development and human rights spheres. Australia has a clear national interest in the cessation of violence in Myanmar; the restoration of civilian, democratic rule; and the resumption of Myanmar’s economic and social development.
Conscious that this remains an ongoing crisis, the Committee saw an opportunity to assess the diplomatic options available to Australia and to hear from those communities most directly affected by developments, including Myanmar’s diaspora community in Australia. Australia is fortunate to have a number of experts, groups and organisations with expertise and first-hand knowledge of the situation in Myanmar and the Committee was fortunate to be able to hear from many of them, and to ensure their perspectives informed Australia’s evolving response to the crisis.
On the Committee’s behalf, I thank the inquiry participants for the expertise they offered. We are grateful to all who made time to write and speak to the Committee, including Government officials who are involved in Australia’s response to the crisis.
This report provides an overview and recommendations from the Committee as to how Australia may positively influence developments in Myanmar, whilst remaining mindful of the extent of our likely influence and the significant role that other foreign and domestic factors will play in such developments. Members of the Committee will continue to follow developments in Myanmar with keen interest.
Mr Dave Sharma MP
Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-committee 2021-06-23T00:00:00