Australia has been a long-standing friend of Myanmar. Australia stands by Myanmar during this critical time.
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Here is the official statement from Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne:
"Australia has raised our grave concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and the escalating violence and rising death toll following the events of 1 February. We condemn the use of lethal force or violence against civilians exercising their universal rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
We continue to strongly urge the Myanmar security forces to exercise restraint and refrain from violence against civilians...."
As a longstanding supporter of Myanmar's democratic transition, Australia has been reviewing its Myanmar policy settings.
Australia also has undertaken extensive consultations with international partners particularly our ASEAN neighbors, Japan and India.
Australia has had a limited bilateral Defence Cooperation Program with Myanmar's military, restricted to non-combat areas such as English language training. This program will be suspended.
Australia's development program is also being re-directed to the immediate humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable and poor including the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities.
Australia will now prioritize the most pressing humanitarian and emerging needs and seek to ensure our humanitarian engagement is with and through non-government organizations, not with government or government-related entities, as is currently the case in some parts of the program.
Australian Government calls on the Myanmar regime to engage in dialogue. Australia will continue to play a constructive role, including in consultation with international partners, particularly ASEAN, in support of the Myanmar people.
Burmese People in Australia
Community leaders fear outspoken Myanmar citizens will be arrested when they return home
International students have been more active in their opposition and are most at risk
Local leader Sophia Sarkis said that the military coup has put returning citizens in plausible danger and considers returning home a threat currently. International students who have taken part in anti-military rallies in Australia are at greater risk, she said due to their status as temporary visa holders. A spokesperson from the Department of Home Affairs said that "Australia does not return individuals to situations where they face persecution or a real risk of torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary deprivation of life or the application of the death penalty".
In this uncertain time, RACC stands beside our fellow Myanmar students and friends.
There could be multiple visa options available to you including a Protection Visa under well-founded fear of persecution grounds. Read more on Protection Visa here: www.racc.net.au/protection-visa-australia
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