Image Credit: Karen Escobar
PEN Perth hosted a Spotlight on Myanmar on 12th July at the Centre for Stories. The Spotlight lent focus to the ongoing civil crisis in Myanmar in the aftermath of the military coup in February. The panel consisted of: Dr Htwe Htwe Thein, an international business researcher; Dr Jie Chen, an Asia-Pacific scholar; and Ms Khin Thida Kyaw, an activist from the WA Myanmar Democratic Network. The conversation shed light on the political and economic impact on Myanmar’s people, the regional implications of the situation, and the response of the Burmese community in Perth.
Myanmar’s plight is the most brutal in recent memory. The military has committed mass atrocities against civilians since February. Over 4000 arrests and 800 deaths have been reported (Association of Political Prisoners, 2021). The United Nations estimates that over 6 million people are in urgent need of food aid. This crisis has further exacerbated the systematic dismantling of free expression. A widespread ban on independent news channels and the arrest of 86 journalists (Reporters without Borders, 2021) have stifled the media landscape and posed dangers to reporters. Writers and filmmakers have posed a special target—with reports of detention and torture—as the junta looks to crush those whose art has the power to inspire hope and rebellion.
PEN Perth strongly condemns the coup, the Myanmar military’s violence on civilians, and its persecution of journalists, artists, and writers in Myanmar. It calls upon the Australian government to adopt stronger actions against the Myanmar military and to work with other countries to exert pressure on the junta to restore civilian government.
Call to action to PEN Perth members:
- Write to Senator Marise Payne (Minister for Foreign Affairs) to call on the Australian government to take stronger action.
PO Box 6100
Senate, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600
- Write to Mr Tha Aung Nyun (Myanmar’s Ambassador to Australia) to protest against the actions of the Myanmar military
Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
22 Arkana Street, Yarralumla, ACT 2600