Bloody Crackdown on Myanmar’s Military Day Top Military Chiefs of 12 Countries, including U.S., Britain and Japan, Jointly Condemn

People and families of those killed by the junta in Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city

On Burma’s Military Day, March 27, junta security forces used a deadly and violent nationwide crackdown on unarmed civilians, resulting in the tragic deaths of 114 people known to have died in more than 40 towns in Burma. Subsequently, the top military chiefs of 12 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and South Korea, issued a joint statement condemning the atrocities committed by the Burmese military

“The following is a joint statement from the Chiefs of Defense of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America,” the statement by the top military officers of the 12 countries reads.

The statement said, “As chiefs of defense, we condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and related security services. Professional military forces follow international standards of conduct and are responsible for protecting, not harming, the people they serve. We urge the Burmese Armed Forces to stop the violence and work to restore the respect and credibility to the Burmese people that has been lost as a result of their actions.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed support for the joint statement issued by the top military chiefs of the 12 nations via Twitter. He wrote, “Recent reports of violence in Burma are deeply troubling. I join General Milley, Admiral Davidson and other military leaders around the world in condemning this violence.”

The Japanese Ministry of Defense noted via Twitter, “On March 28, Japan Time, Admiral Yamazaki, Chief of the Unification Shogunate, issued a joint statement condemning the violence by the Burmese armed forces. Japan will call on the Burmese military to stop the violence against civilians, release the detainees and restore a democratic political system.”

Eberhard Zorn, chief inspector general of the German Bundeswehr, said, “My 11 colleagues and I are calling on the Burmese military to stop the violence against its own civilians. A country’s military is always there to protect, not harm, its own people.” German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said, “The Burmese military is absolutely inhumane and cruel to its unarmed fellow citizens. The military violence against civilians must stop immediately. Burmese citizens have the right to freedom of speech and assembly.”

The British Ministry of Defense said, “Chief of the Defence Staff General Nick Carter, along with the military chiefs of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States, signed a statement condemning the use of violence by the Burmese armed forces against its citizens. A professional military is one that protects the people it serves, not harms them.”

Wayne Eyre, Canada’s acting chief of defense staff, reiterated that “a professional military follows international standards of conduct and is responsible for protecting, not harming, the people it serves.” A spokesperson for the South Korean Foreign Ministry said through a statement, “The South Korean government is deeply shocked by the deaths of many innocent civilians at the hands of the Burmese military and police on March 27, Myanmar’s Military Day, and strongly condemns the brutal violence that continues to occur despite repeated calls from the international community.

The statement said, “The Korean government hopes that the Burmese military will recognize its inherent responsibility and reiterate its strong call for an immediate end to the unacceptable violence against its own people. The Korean government respects the aspirations of the Burmese people for democracy and will continue to contribute to the resolution of the current situation in Burma as a responsible member of the international community while coordinating closely with the international community.”