Australia suspends Defence Cooperation with Myanmar

The government of Australia has suspended its defence cooperation with Myanmar and has decided to redirect the humanitarian aid which the country was providing to the government of Myanmar. This decision was taken on March 7, 2021 by the government following the military takeover of the government of Myanmar and detention of the Australian citizen in Myanmar.

Highlights

The Foreign Minister of Australia, Marise Payne, stated that the Australian diplomats only had access to the economic policy adviser Sean Turnell twice after he was detained in February 2021 in Myanmar. She is of the view that it is a limited consular support for the diplomat. Australia announced to suspended its defense training program with Myanmar which was worth 1.5 million Australian dollars over the five years. This program was restricted to the non-combat areas like English-language training. Now the Australian humanitarian aid will be directed away from the Myanmar government and other government-related entities. The aid will now focus on immediate humanitarian needs of most vulnerable and poor in Myanmar such as Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. Australia had also imposed sanctions like an arms embargo and other sanctions which targeted several individuals. Those sanctions will also continue to be reviewed

Background

The Australian citizen was detained within the weeks of arriving in Yangon which is the biggest city of Myanmar. He travelled from Australia to take up the job as adviser to the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The military coup on Myanmar took place on February 1, 2021 following which the Prime Minister of Myanmar Suu Kyi and the President Win Myint were arbitrarily detained.

Military Coup in Myanmar

The military in Myanmar took over the government and a state emergency were announced in Myanmar on February 1, 2021 after claiming that, the government was failed in tackling the situation in Myanmar amid the covid-19 pandemic. The military took over the country in accordance with the Article 417 of the Myanmar’s constitution that provides power to the military to take over in times of emergency.

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