International community must act after arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, say Christian leaders

Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders in Myanmar have been arrested by the militaryReuters

Christians are looking to the international community to take action after a military coup in Myanmar - also called Burma. 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Senior Analyst for East Asia, Benedict Rogers, called for the "immediate and unconditional release" of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other pro-democracy leaders following their arrest in the coup.

"The events of the past few days and especially the past 24 hours are a desperate step backwards for Burma," he said.

"We urge all sides to engage in meaningful dialogue, peaceful talks and negotiation.

"We urge the military to respect the democratic process, and we call for international mediation to help all sides to reach an agreed way forward." 

Failing this, Rogers said the international community should impose the "toughest possible" targeted sanctions on Myanmar's military leaders and their enterprises, as well as foreign investment in those enterprises.

"There should be a stark warning: if the military reverts to the political repression of a decade or more ago, the international community will respond accordingly, and Burma will return to the dark days of isolation from which it has only recently emerged," he said.

"It is in no one's interests, and so we must urge all parties to step back from the brink."

Gina Goh, Regional Manager for South East Asia at International Christian Concern, said the developments of the past 24 hours were "extremely worrying", and showed that the Myanmar military "has little respect" for the country's constitution or "hard-earned democracy".

"The global community should stand up to its barbaric actions to ensure the South East Asian country does not recede [back to the] authoritarian military government era," she said.