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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is under pressure to press for the release of trade union and human rights defenders detained without trial following the military coup in Myanmar.

The NASUWT is deeply concerned at the detention of Professor Sean Turnell, an Australian academic and member of the National Tertiary Education Union.

Prof Turnell is also director of the Myanmar Development Institute and an economic adviser to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi.

General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach has written to Mr Raab to express the Union’s concern regarding the coup in Myanmar that has undermined the democratisation process in the country. 

On February 1 the military arrested the democratically elected President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and more than a hundred elected legislators of the National League for Democracy (NLD), preventing the seating of the newly democratically chosen Parliament.

In his letter Dr Roach said: “This coup is a blow to the fragile transition of Myanmar to democracy.  

“With great courage and determination, tens of thousands of peaceful citizens, including teachers, other workers and trade unions have taken the streets to oppose the illegitimate military takeover of their country and express their support to their democratically elected representatives. 

“The NASUWT calls on you to condemn the military coup in Myanmar and to press for the release of all those detained since February 1, including Prof. Sean Turnell, the end to the violence and harassment against the people, the respect of the election outcomes to allow the process of democratisation of Myanmar to continue.

“The NASUWT stands in solidarity its sister organisation, the Myanmar Teachers’ Federation (MTF) and all workers in the country in their struggle for democracy.”

In line with the demands of Education International and the Global Union Federations to international institutions, the NASUWT is urging the UK Government to stand together with all governments of the world to:

  • Publicly condemn the coup d’état in Myanmar. 
  • Not recognise or appease the military. 
  • Request the United Nations General Assembly to keep the Myanmar seat vacant until the elected representatives can form a parliament and a government.
  • Support the adoption of an urgent resolution of the UN Security Council, including sanctions for the coup leaders.
  • Call for a special session of the UN Human Rights Council to review the situation in Myanmar; to call for the release of everyone arrested pursuant to the coup; and to mandate the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar to monitor and issue a special report on the human rights situation, including arrests, compliance with freedom of association, protection of protestors, respect for the right to peaceful assembly and protests and the right to opinion, expression and speech, including reliance on information technology platforms.
  • Implement comprehensive economic sanctions to stop any and all revenue to the military.
  • Immediately cease all military cooperation and arms trade with Myanmar.
  • Expose and hold to account all lobby firms employed by Myanmar’s military.
  • Trace supply chains of military-run companies to ensure full application of economic sanctions.
  • Support and assist all refugees from Myanmar’s military persecution.
  • Protect Myanmar’s diplomatic staff in our country.
  • Ask UK companies operating in or sourcing from Myanmar to provide support to workers where operations are curtailed and also support and protection to workers protesting the coup. 



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