PEN International is extremely alarmed by reports of a coup being carried out by Myanmar’s military. On 1 February, the Myanmar Army declared a state of emergency, after carrying out waves of arrests of government officials and political figures, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.
The military coup has taken place following allegations by the military of voter fraud during the country’s general elections in November 2020, which led to a robust rejection of the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party by Myanmar’s citizens at the polling booth. On Friday, 29 January, Myanmar’s election commission flatly rejected the military’s claims of voter fraud.
PEN International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained and for the reinstatement of the democratically elected government. Myanmar’s military must abide by and respect the primacy of the country’s constitution, which prohibits the declaration of a state of emergency without the consent of Myanmar’s President. It is understood that the military has declared a state of emergency unilaterally without the President’s consent, severely undermining the will of the people of Myanmar and signalling a return to a dark chapter in the country’s history.
For further information please contact Ross Holder, Asia Programme Coordinator at PEN International, Unit A, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email: email@example.com