Federal Labor, the United Nations chief and the United States government have condemned the latest violence against pro-democracy protesters in Myanmar that have killed at least 18 people.
More than 30 demonstrators were also wounded from live rounds as police and military forces in the violent weekend crackdown according to the UN's human rights office citing "credible information".
It was the highest single-day death toll for protesters since a military coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government.
Myanmar's security forces, the Tatmadaw, detained elected politicians during the coup and declared a state of emergency for one year.
Penny Wong, Australia's shadow minister for foreign affairs, said the latest reports were "deeply distressing and such actions are completely unacceptable."
She called on the Morrison government to send a strong signal that until democracy is restored, bilateral relationships will not go back to business as usual.
We condemn the Burmese security forces’ abhorrent violence against the people of Burma & will continue to promote accountability for those responsible. We stand firmly with the courageous people of Burma & encourage all countries to speak with one voice in support of their will.— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) February 28, 2021
"It has been a month since the coup, but the Australian government has still not made clear what it has done to oppose the recent actions of the Tatmadaw, including the mass arrests of democratically elected leaders, political figures and protesters," Senator Wong said on Monday.
"Amid the escalating crackdown against protesters by the military regime, the Australian government must explain what steps it is taking to support the people of Myanmar and to oppose the coup.
"Marise Payne instead referred to the 'incoming government of Myanmar' on the 9th of February and has announced reviews into bilateral cooperation."
"This response is simply not good enough - Australia cannot be a bystander to a direct attack on Myanmar's democracy."
Foreign Minister Marise Payne says it was a very distressing situation.
"We have been absolutely consistent in our urging of the military regime to not use lethal violence and they are observing the sort of approach that is not resulting in these deaths," Senator Payne told Sky News on Monday.
Australia's diplomats have been advocating for the release of Professor Sean Turnell, an Australian citizen, who was detained since 6 February. Senator Payne said the government's focus on was his release.
The New Zealand government has already suspended ties following the coup.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the violence against the protesters, seeking accountability for those responsible. He also condemned the detention of pan-democratic candidates in Hong Kong's elections who have been charged with violating the new security law.
On Friday, the UN Ambassador to Myanmar denounced the coup in a General Assembly meeting in New York, calling on the international community to take the "strongest possible measures" against the military junta to restore civilian rule. The top diplomat was reportedly fired from his post on Saturday.
"The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy", said UN human rights officer spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani on Sunday.
"These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression."
Hundreds of thousands of protestors who have taken to the streets across the country were met with violence in response from security forces in the largest city Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myiek, Bago and Pokokku.
"Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms", Ms Shamdasani said. "Since the beginning of the coup d'état ... the police and security forces have targeted an ever-increasing number of opposition voices and demonstrators by arresting political officials, activists, civil society members, journalists and medical professionals.
"Today alone, police have detained at least 85 medical professionals and students, as well as seven journalists, who were present at the demonstrations. Over 1000 individuals have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in the last month - some of whom remain unaccounted for - mostly without any form of due process, simply for exercising their human rights to freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly."
Junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing said last week authorities were using minimal force to deal with the protests.
Elected leader Suu Kyi was due to form government this month after last year's elections, but now faces court on Monday over illegally importing radios and breaching coronavirus protocols.
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