Bangkok Desk, Mar 26 (efe-epa).- Lawmakers from around the world have formed an alliance to support their counterparts in Myanmar and promote human rights and democracy in the country, where more than 300 people have been killed since the Feb. 1 coup.
The first meeting by video conference brought together 24 members of parliament from 12 countries spanning from the European Union to Canada, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) said Friday in a statement
ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is made up of 10 regional countries: Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“Our first action will focus on supporting Myanmar MPs currently being detained or forced into hiding when their only crime has been to be elected by the people of Myanmar to serve in Parliament,” said Charles Santiago, Malaysia MP and APHR chair.
The new group, known as the International Parliamentarians Alliance for Myanmar (IPAM), has among its objectives to ensure that Myanmar’s military junta is held accountable for its crimes internationally.
“The people of Myanmar need support now, as bullets are being fired, prisons filled, and lives stolen by a ruthless military,” said Heide Hautala, member of the European Parliament.
Following the coup, some elected lawmakers unable to take their seats formed the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), run as an offshoot to the elected civilian government as its leaders and other officials were detained.
The CRPH, accused of treason by the military junta, has vowed to use the Spring Revolution restore democracy and re-establish the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Protests occur daily across the country despite deadly repression by police and soldiers, who use tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber and live bullets.
Since the coup, at least 320 people have been killed by security forces violence, while more than 2,900 people have been detained, according to the latest tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
The international community has condemned the coup and violence against protesters, while the European Union and countries such as the United States have imposed sanctions against military leaders, including the junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, as well as entities.
According to the internet watchdog group NetBlocks on Friday,Myanmar’s military has blocked the network for 40 consecutive nights, while mobile data has been down for 12 days.
The military justify its coup alleging fraud in the November elections, in which Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide, and which were described as legitimate by international observers. EFE-EPA