Marise Payne is one of the finest Foreign Ministers who speaks very less but her words matters in world of foreign relations. The Australian Foreign Minister representing Australia in QUAD and recently she spoke on turbulences in Myanmar, condition of Uyghur Muslims in China and concerns of freedom in new Electoral system in Hong Kong.
She retweeted joint statement of 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, and the United States of America.
She supports her Chiefs of Defense in saying, “ we condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and associated security services”.
A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves.
She urged the Myanmar Armed Forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions.
Australia has raised grave concerns about the military coup in Myanmar and the escalating violence and rising death toll following the events of 1 February.
She earlier had said, “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”.
Australian Professor Sean Turnell has been detained with limited consular access for over 30 days. We call for the immediate release of Professor Sean Turnell, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and others who have been arbitrarily detained since 1 February.
As a longstanding supporter of Myanmar’s democratic transition, Australia has been reviewing its Myanmar policy settings. Senator Payne added that, ”We have also undertaken extensive consultations with our international partners particularly our ASEAN neighbours, Japan and India. The political stability of ASEAN member states is essential to achieving our vision for a secure, peaceful, prosperous and open Indo-Pacific region with ASEAN at its centre”.
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. We will prioritise the most pressing humanitarian and emerging needs and seek to ensure our humanitarian engagement is with and through non-government organisations, not with government or government-related entities, as is currently the case in some parts of the program.
Australia’s autonomous sanctions regime already includes an arms embargo that prohibits supplying weapons to Myanmar and targeted sanctions on a number of individuals. We continue to review our sanctions regime.
Finally Senator Payne added, ”We call 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”.
In a joint statement along with The Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Local Government Associate Minister of Maori Development, New Zealand ,The Australian and New Zealand Governments reiterated their grave concerns about the growing number of credible reports of severe human rights abuses against ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
In particular, there is clear evidence of severe human rights abuses that include restrictions on freedom of religion, mass surveillance, large-scale extra-judicial detentions, as well as forced labour and forced birth control, including sterilisation.
Australia and New Zealand welcomed the measures announced overnight by Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. We share these countries’ deep concerns, which are held across the Australian and New Zealand communities.
Since 2018, when reports began to emerge about the detention camps in Xinjiang, Australia and New Zealand had consistently called on China in the United Nations to respect the human rights of the Uighur people, and other religious and ethnic minorities.
New Zealand and Australia both felt that they underscore the importance of transparency and accountability, and reiterate our call on China to grant meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for United Nations experts, and other independent observers.
In another comment The Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Local Government, Associate Minister of Maori Development, New Zealand, The Governments of Australia and New Zealand, like G7 counterparts, are deeply concerned that changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system passed by the National People’s Congress on 11 March further undermine rights and freedoms and the high degree of autonomy guaranteed by China to Hong Kong until 2047 under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Australia and New Zealand have always wanted Hong Kong to succeed, given its role as a significant hub for finance, trade, and our communities overseas. This depends on Hong Kong continuing to enjoy a high degree of autonomy and respecting the rule of law.
These changes run contrary to the ultimate aim of a Hong Kong Chief Executive elected through universal suffrage, weaken Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, and erode freedom of speech and association – all of which are set out in the Basic Law. This is a significant step which will further undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The parties urged the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to uphold their commitments, allow genuine avenues for the people of Hong Kong to participate in their governance, and protect the role of the Legislative Council as a forum for the expression of diverse views and scrutiny of government.