Two years since military coup in Myanmar

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‘The situation in Myanmar is very worrying. Two years after the military coup, the country is in a deep political, economic and humanitarian crisis,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

‘Norway will maintain its long-term, active engagement in support of the people of Myanmar. We will work strategically to build a stable and democratic Myanmar for the future. Humanitarian aid, human rights and democracy, peace and reconciliation, and access to basic services will be key priority areas in these efforts. Norway has also aligned itself with the EU’s restrictive measures against the military regime in Myanmar,’ Ms Huitfeldt said

Some 1.5 million people are internally displaced in Myanmar. The UN has estimated that more than 17 million people in the country will be in need of humanitarian aid in 2023. At the same time, it is very difficult to gain humanitarian access to those most in need.    

‘The violence must stop. Civilians must be protected and humanitarian actors must be given full and unhindered humanitarian access,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.   

Myanmar is contending with multiple, complex conflicts, and the political situation is deadlocked. The military regime shows no willingness to engage in dialogue with the democratic opposition or to end its violent crackdown. Hundreds of new resistance groups have emerged. In addition, the more than 50-year conflict between the military and several of the ethnic armed groups is continuing. The violence is at a historically high level, with hostilities in a number of states.

‘I am deeply concerned about the reports of serious human rights violations, including against children. Restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, arbitrary arrests and violent attacks on civilians are causing great suffering. An inclusive and meaningful political dialogue is essential if there is to be a return to a democratic process in Myanmar,’ Ms Huitfeldt said.

The Foreign Minister emphasised the importance of promoting a united international response. Norway has worked actively to keep Myanmar on the Security Council’s agenda. Right at the end of its term as an elected Council member, Norway helped to secure the adoption of the first-ever Security Council resolution on Myanmar, which was an important step forward.

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. 

Norway is also maintaining 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.  

Since the military coup, Norway has suspended all government-to-government aid to Myanmar. Assistance provided by Norway is now primarily channelled through the UN and civil society organisations. In 2021, bilateral Norwegian aid to Myanmar was NOK 275 million. In addition, Norwegian core funding to the UN and other multilateral organisations is used to finance projects in Myanmar.