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The U.S. Stands With the People of Burma

(File) A village in Burma that villagers say was burned by the military.

Over 3,000 have been killed; nearly 17,000 detained; and more than 1.5 million displaced by Burma's military.

The U.S. Stands With the People of Burma
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It’s been two years since Burma’s military seized power from a democratically elected government and violently disrupted the country’s hard-fought, decades-long democratic progress.

Since then, the military regime has plunged the country into political, economic, and humanitarian disaster, and continues to wage a brutal campaign against the Burmese people. Over 3,000 have been killed; nearly 17,000 detained; and more than 1.5 million displaced.

On February 1, the regime announced it will extend the state of emergency in the country for at least six months, thereby ensuring its grip on power and delaying any possibility of holding free or fair elections.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price denounced the regime’s decision, saying it will prolong “the military’s illegitimate rule and the suffering it inflicts on the country.” He deplored “the regime’s plan for so-called elections, which …will not be representative of the country’s people.”

At a press briefing, State Department Counselor Derek Chollet noted that “any election the regime might have … will have no chance of being free or fair given that the regime has imprisoned or intimidated nearly all potential contenders.” He emphasized the determination of the United States to deny the regime international legitimacy, and, in coordination with allies, to continue to impose on it political and economic costs.

To that end on January 31, the United States announced additional sanctions on six Burmese individuals and three entities, including the senior leadership of the Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, arms dealers, regime leaders and their business cronies. Also sanctioned was the Union Election Commission, which the regime has manipulated to advance its flawed elections.

In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted that to date, the U.S. has sanctioned 80 individuals and 32 entities, “to deprive the regime of the means to perpetuate its violence and to promote the democratic aspirations of Burma’s people.”

He made clear that in addition to increasing costs on the regime, the United States will also continue to provide critical humanitarian aid to the Burmese people and will vigorously support the prodemocracy movement in Burma.

As State Counselor Chollet said, the United States will not waver from its support for the people of Burma as they “bravely voice their aspirations for democracy, for the rule of law, for justice, and the respect of human rights.”