Press Release

January 31, 2023
Cardin, Young, Merkley and Collins Mark Two-Year Anniversary of the Military Coup in Burma with Resolution Calling for a Return to Democratic Governance
While the February 2021 coup represents a major step backwards, the United States remains steadfast in support of a free and prosperous future for Burma

WASHINGTON – On the eve of the two-year anniversary of the military coup in Burma, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.), with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), have introduced a resolution (S. Res. 20) condemning the coup and calling for an immediate return to democratic governance grounded in respect for civil liberties. Since February 1, 2021, the Burmese military has engaged in mass atrocities, including by detaining over 13,000 people for exercising basic freedoms and killing over 2,800 civilians, including children. Today, over 17 million people in Burma are in need of humanitarian aid, and 1.5 million remain internally displaced due to the ongoing violence and instability fostered by the military.

“The people of Burma have been suffering for two years since the Burmese military seized power through a coup d’etat. Today, we honor those lives lost due to the junta’s violent repression and call upon the Burmese military to end its senseless killing of its own people,” said Senator Cardin. “This bipartisan resolution, which I am proud to introduce today with my colleagues, reaffirms the United States’ solidarity with the Burmese people in their quest for sustainable peace and democracy. We remain committed to free and fair elections in Burma and the peaceful and expedient transition to a civilian-led government. The United States and the international community must hold human rights violators accountable for their actions.”

“Indiana is home to one of the largest Burmese-American communities in the U.S. It has been heartbreaking to sit with these fellow Hoosiers and hear how families and loved ones had their hopes and dreams for the future disrupted two years ago by the military coup in Burma,” said Senator Young. “Burma has made great strides toward democratic governance, and while this coup is a setback, it will not be the end of the story. This bipartisan resolution expresses solidarity with the Burmese people’s aspirations for a free and prosperous Burma. I am proud to stand with the people of Burma both now in this time of crisis and in the future.”

“It has been two years since the Burmese military threw out the results of free and fair elections that would have returned a civilian-led, democratically elected government to power. Today, we honor the lives of those lost and recognize the perseverance and resilience of the people of Burma,” said Senator Merkley. “America can’t stay silent in the face of these abuses. Today’s bipartisan resolution reaffirms America’s solidarity and commitment to the Burmese people and that atrocities like these will not be allowed to go unnoticed, no matter where they occur in the world.”

“Since seizing power two years ago, the junta in Burma has brutally suppressed democracy and committed a number of heinous human rights violations,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan resolution will help impose additional international pressure on the Burmese military to release civilians who have been unjustly detained and allow elected members of parliament to resume their duties.”

Cardin and Young have been on the forefront of Senate action in support of Burma’s democracy, calling for sanctions against senior military leaders for gross human rights violations, including the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people. Cardin, Young and Merkley are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The text of the resolution (S. Res. 20) follows and can be found at this link.