The UK as a ‘force for good’ in Myanmar?
The Foreign Policy Centre is hosting a webinar to explore what measures the UK can undertake in relation to the crisis in Myanmar.
The Foreign Policy Centre’s (FPC) programme on ‘Finding Britain’s role in a changing world’ examines Britain’s foreign policy with a focus on its aim to be a ‘force for good’ in the world. The 2021 Integrated Review signalled an important geopolitical shift – the ‘Indo-Pacific tilt’ – towards South and East Asia, a region that accounts for 40% of global GDP and includes the world’s fastest growing economies. Despite the inevitable focus of attention and resources on Ukraine over the past six months, the Indo-Pacific retains great geopolitical significance.
Currently, one of the most urgent security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region is the crisis in Myanmar. In February 2021, the military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. This triggered a wave of public protests and a nationwide non-violent civil disobedience movement. The military junta responded with brutal violence to suppress all protest and opposition. Over 2,000 people have been killed since the coup, 15,000 detained or disappeared, 1.2 million displaced, and 14 million are in need of urgent humanitarian aid. The junta’s actions prompted the most widespread and popular armed uprising in the country’s history. As a result, Myanmar’s junta has lost control of much of the country and is unable to administer key governance functions.
The UK has a long-standing relationship with Myanmar, is one of the largest aid providers to the country, and is currently the penholder on Myanmar at the UN Security Council. Therefore it has a significant role to play in catalysing and shaping concerted international action in support of human rights and democracy in the country.
Against this backdrop, on Thursday 24th November at 9:30am-11:00am UK time, the FPC is hosting a webinar to explore what practical measures the UK can undertake in relation to Myanmar. The webinar will bring together Parliamentarians, leading Myanmar democracy and human rights activists, and international analysts. It will discuss what lessons can be learnt from the UK’s previous engagement in Myanmar, the importance of support for civil society and humanitarian resistance, the accountability and legitimacy of the military junta, and greater coherence among UN and international partners.
See the event here:
This event will be taking place on Zoom.
Khin Ohmar, Founder and Chair of Progressive Voice
Saw Nanda Hsue, Advocacy Coordinator for the Karen Human Rights Group
Chris Gunness, Director of the Myanmar Accountability Project
Martin Smith, Independent analyst, trustee of the Prospect Burma educational charity and senior advisor to the Transnational Institute
Chair: Catherine West MP, Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific