Ongoing concerns about situation in Myanmar three years after coup

‘The situation in Myanmar is deeply worrying. Three years after the military coup, the country is contending with a humanitarian crisis that has led to widespread human suffering,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Norway and seven other countries issued a joint statement together with the EU today on the situation in Myanmar.

The UN estimates that 18.6 million people in Myanmar will be in need of humanitarian aid in 2024. More than 2.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes. At the same time, the UN and other actors are being denied humanitarian access to conflict areas where the needs are greatest.

Since October, there has been an increase in fighting and attacks against the military regime in many parts of the country. The military’s use of air attacks and artillery have led to widespread civilian casualties.

‘Norway condemns the military regime’s violations of human rights and attacks on people across the country, including the Rohingya and other ethnic and religious minorities, in the strongest possible terms,’ said Mr Eide.

The UN and other organisations are now describing the situation as a human rights crisis.

‘I am deeply concerned by reports of air attacks on residential areas, schools, health facilities and places of worship, and of villages being burnt to the ground. There have also been serious restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, arbitrary arrests and violent attacks on civilians,’ said Mr Eide.

‘The military regime must change its course. The violence must stop. Steps must be taken to ensure an inclusive and meaningful political dialogue. This is essential if there is to be a return to a democratic process in Myanmar. All parties have a responsibility to protect civilians and give humanitarian actors full and unhindered humanitarian access,’ said Mr Eide.

Norway will maintain its long-term, active engagement in support of the people of Myanmar. Humanitarian aid, human rights and democracy, peace and reconciliation, and access to basic services will be key priority areas in these efforts. Norway will also continue its close dialogue with partners on the ground. Norway’s policy of talking to all parties in a conflict is a hallmark of our peace and reconciliation work and will remain unchanged. Norway has aligned itself with the EU’s sanctions against the military regime in Myanmar.

‘We are working to promote a united international response. The countries in the region have a particularly important role to play,’ said Mr Eide.

Norway fully supports the efforts of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the UN to promote political dialogue and increase humanitarian access in Myanmar, in line with Security Council resolution 2669.

Facts about Norwegian support to Myanmar

  • Since the military coup, Norway has suspended all government-to-government aid to Myanmar.
  • Assistance provided by Norway is now channelled through the UN and civil society organisations.
  • In 2023, Norwegian aid to Myanmar amounted to NOK 348 million, largely due an increase in humanitarian assistance.
  • In addition, Norway provided NOK 124 million for humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya community in Bangladesh.
  • Norway also provides core funding to the UN and other multilateral organisations, which is used to finance projects in Myanmar.