Tragic development in Myanmar. Norway must act!

What is happening in Myanmar is tragic. After half a century of military rule, the country was taking its first democratic steps with a civilian government.

Myanmar and its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, struggled to forge a path between the democratic aspirations for reform and the everyday presence of the military.

Emergency democracies do not have it easy leaving the past, but yesterday’s military coup compromised the fundamental principles of freedom, peace, and development.

I am deeply concerned with this development.

Whilst disagreement will always exist, we ask Myanmar to use new democratic resolution mechanisms to find a way forward. Abuse of power does not co-exist with the democratic values the country fought for.

It is of fundamental importance that the democratically elected parliament and government will be allowed to do their work under the mandate they have been given from the people.

The international community must act to defend the rights of Myanmarese citizens to democratic representation, accountable governance, and transparent ruling.

As a member of the UN Security Council, Norway must ensure that the matter is brought up as soon as possible. China’s response and engagement will be important.

The illegitimate imprisonment of government officials, political members, and use of force are symptoms of an autocratic and fear-based regime where tolerance, freedom, and prosperity for the masses die.

The call to defend democracy has been rung.

Kjell Magne Bondevik, Executive Chair of The Oslo Center

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