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Australia Myanmar nationals in Australia to have visas extended following deadly military coup, federal government announces

22:26  04 may  2021
22:26  04 may  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

ASEAN leaders demand immediate end to 'unacceptable' killings in Myanmar, following emergency summit

  ASEAN leaders demand immediate end to 'unacceptable' killings in Myanmar, following emergency summit South-East Asian leaders say they had agreed on a plan with Myanmar's junta chief to end the crisis in the violence-hit nation, including halting the killing of civilian protesters and accepting humanitarian assistance. At the meeting in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also told Myanmar's Min Aung Hlaing that they wanted a commitment from the military chief to restrain his security forces, and for the release of political prisoners. "The situation in Myanmar is unacceptable and should not continue," Indonesian President Joko Widodo said.

Myanmar nationals living in Australia are being offered safe haven, with the federal government announcing it will extend their visas until it's safe for them to return home.

The government has been under pressure to offer greater protection to the more than 3,300 Myanmar citizens in Australia, following February's deadly military coup.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said his department would be writing to the visa-holders with advice on how to "lawfully remain" in Australia.

"This measure provides a means for Myanmar citizens in Australia to remain here until it is safe for them to return home," Mr Hawke said in a statement.

Criticism over Myanmar ASEAN deal with military coup leader

  Criticism over Myanmar ASEAN deal with military coup leader Questions raised over lack of commitment to freeing political prisoners and restoring democracy.There were no immediate protests in Myanmar’s big cities a day after the armed forces’ chief flew to Jakarta to meet leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and agreed to a five-point plan that called for an immediate end to violence and for “all parties” to exercise restraint.

"These arrangements will support Myanmar nationals in Australia who are affected by the ongoing unrest in Myanmar, consistent with Australia's international obligations.

"Australia continues to strongly urge the Myanmar security forces to exercise restraint and refrain from violence against civilians, release those detained arbitrarily and engage in dialogue."

The announcement will be a great relief to many international students and other short term visa holders from Myanmar living in Australia.

Some students from Myanmar, who have been agitating against the military coup online, have said they fear political persecution if they return home.

The government had already assured Myanmar citizens they would not be forced back to the country, but some international students said they still felt their situation was ambiguous and unsettled.

Myanmar junta wants 'stability' before heeding pleas on violence

  Myanmar junta wants 'stability' before heeding pleas on violence Myanmar junta wants 'stability' before heeding pleas on violenceThe nation has been in turmoil since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a February 1 coup, triggering an uprising that has seen security forces mount deadly crackdowns against protesters.

Today's announcement will provide them with greater clarity and certainty, although at this stage it's not clear how long they will be able to stay, or how the government will judge when it's safe for them to return.

Officials and politicians in Canberra are deeply pessimistic about the turmoil in Myanmar and remain worried the violence in the country could escalate further.

Australia's top diplomat, Frances Adamson, recently warned the situation there was "a security, political and humanitarian crisis that is not only catastrophic for the people of Myanmar, but imperils regional stability".

Human rights groups have been urging the federal government to take more forceful action against the country's military rulers in the wake of the coup on February 1.

While Australia has suspended military cooperation with the junta, it has not — unlike several other Western nations — imposed fresh sanctions on leading figures in the military regime.

Myanmar coup: 100 days of turmoil .
Myanmar's military seized power on February 1, ousting the civilian government and arresting its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The 100 days that have followed have seen mass street protests, bloody crackdowns by the junta, economic turmoil and growing international concern. A recap of events: - Back to the old days - The generals stage a coup on February 1, detaining Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi and her top allies in pre-dawn raids. It endsThe 100 days that have followed have seen mass street protests, bloody crackdowns by the junta, economic turmoil and growing international concern.

usr: 2
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