“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the military regime’s ongoing atrocities and human rights violations, such as sexual and gender-based violence, and the restriction of fundamental freedoms,” said a joint statement by the European Union and foreign ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“We call on the military regime to implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus and engage meaningfully and positively with ASEAN representatives, in order for Myanmar to transition towards an inclusive democracy,” the joint statement said.
ASEAN refers to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
On April 24, 2021, leaders from nine ASEAN countries, along with Myanmar’s junta leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, committed to a five-point plan.
This plan, known as ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus, includes halting violence immediately, initiating dialogue among all concerned parties, naming a special envoy, providing humanitarian aid through ASEAN, and facilitating a visit by the special envoy to Myanmar to engage with all factions.
Since the coup, tens of thousands of pro-democracy advocates have been killed, imprisoned or forced to flee their homeland, according to a State Department spokesperson. Civilians have been regularly targeted by the military’s aerial and artillery attacks that have leveled entire villages.
The United States has sanctioned 91 individuals and 50 entities for their role in the crisis in Myanmar, also known as Burma.
The United States has also provided more than $317 million in life-saving humanitarian assistance to people across Burma through international organizations and local partners, a State Department spokesperson told VOA.
On Wednesday, Washington imposed further sanctions on the junta and designated four individuals and two entities associated with it.
Last June, the U.S. imposed sanctions against the junta-controlled Myanma Foreign Trade Bank and Myanma Investment Commercial Bank, which undercut the military’s ability to obtain foreign currency and purchase weapons from abroad.
In October 2023, the United States sanctioned the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, the military regime’s most lucrative state-owned company, curtailing its key source of U.S.-dollar revenues.
At the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said the United States reaffirms its commitment to using the Security Council’s resources to back ASEAN’s quest for a peaceful resolution in Myanmar, a stance widely supported by most council members.
“We will continue to promote peace and the conditions for inclusive democracy in Burma through our work with members of the Security Council, other Member States, and regional partners, including ASEAN,” she said in a statement on Thursday.
More than 18 million people in Myanmar need humanitarian aid this year, which is up from 1 million people before the 2021 military takeover, according to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
VOA U.N. correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this report.