6 December 2021
Washington (December 6, 2021) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, released the following statement upon reports that imprisoned Burmese elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years in prison by a Burmese court, which was then reduced by coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to two years. Min Aung Hlaing oversaw a coup against Suu Kyi on February 2, 2021 after her National League for Democracy (NLD) party overwhelmingly won elections at the end of 2020, and the military government imprisoned Suu Kyi, other NLD officials, and thousands of political prisoners thought to oppose the military junta.
“This sentence, which is devoid of legal merit, is another step in the Burmese military’s campaign to thwart the will of the people of Burma in their quest for freedom and democracy,” said Chair Markey. “The Burmese military must end its assault on freedom of expression and rule of law, release all political prisoners, and restore the democratically-elected government of Burma. The United States can best help support the aspirations of the people of Burma by preventing oil and gas revenues from flowing into the Burmese military’s coffers, a step for which I have repeatedly called. The Biden administration also must make a formal declaration as to whether the crimes committed by the Burmese military against the Rohingya people in 2017 constitute genocide. The Senate should urgently pass my Rohingya Genocide Determination Act to recognize the genocide for what it was and provide some justice for the Rohingya people and all the people of Burma.”
Earlier this year, Senator Markey chaired a hearing of the East Asia Subcommittee “U.S. Response to the Coup in Burma”, during which he called on the Biden administration and the international community to take steps to cut off the Burmese military’s oil and gas revenues, primarily through the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), as well as pushed for an arms embargo against the military regime that overthrew Burma’s democratically elected, civilian-led government on February 1, 2021. On April 14, 2021, Senator Markey led nine of his colleagues in reintroducing the Rohingya Genocide Determination Act, which would require the administration to quickly determine whether the actions carried out by the Burmese military against the Rohingya people constitute genocide.