18 May 2021, New York – Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States delivered by Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly: Meeting on Myanmar
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Members States.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
We welcome the successful adoption of the resolution today to which the EU has actively contributed. The General Assembly has spoken out clearly against the military of Myanmar and condemned its abuses of the Myanmar people and their country. They have no support. The General Assembly has also backed the efforts of ASEAN and underlined the complementarity with the work of the UN.
This is a rare and significant expression of the General Assembly condemnation in the face of a gross violation of fundamental democratic norms and neglecting the clearly expressed wish of a people. The international community does not accept the coup, and it does not recognize any legitimacy to the regime that emerged from it.
We thank ASEAN as well as the other members of the core group for their collaboration to make today’s adoption possible. We are proud to co-sponsor today’s resolution.
The European Union continues to condemn the military coup in Myanmar in the strongest terms and calls on the junta to halt its violent repression and intimidation immediately. The will of the people of Myanmar which was clearly expressed in the November 2020 election must be respected. We once again call on the junta to restore power to the elected civilian government, to allow the country to return to its democratic transition and to immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained, arrested or charged in connection with the coup, including President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other government officials, as well as other civilian and political leaders, journalists, human rights defenders and other members of civil society. We continue to condemn all forms of violence and call for maximum restraint. We also condemn the intimidation of journalists and call for restrictions on access to information and freedom of expression to be lifted.
Accountability is crucial. The culture of impunity that reigns within the Myanmar military and security forces must end. The EU reiterates its support for the work of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and the International Criminal Court in this regard. We call on the Myanmar authorities to fully implement the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice.
The European Union remains very concerned about the ongoing discrimination against people belonging to ethnic minorities in Myanmar, including the Rohingya. We recall that Myanmar must address the root causes of conflict and displacement in ethnic areas, including in Rakhine State, and create conditions necessary for the safe, voluntary, sustainable and dignified return of refugees and displaced persons. Recent statements from the National Unity Government regarding the review of the citizenship law are a positive step. We acknowledge the generosity of Bangladesh in hosting Rohingya refugees.
We will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to those in need and call for full and unhindered humanitarian access. All parties to conflict have a responsibility to protect civilians.
Today’s resolution is the first step. The EU will continue to support democracy, human rights and prosperity in Myanmar. We support all initiatives aimed at facilitating dialogue and call on the international community to mobilize for democracy in Myanmar. We recognize the important role of ASEAN in this regard and look forward to the swift implementation of the five-point consensus agreed almost two months ago. We reiterate our support for the efforts of the UN, including Special Envoy Schraner Burgener who has worked tirelessly to facilitate dialogue and de-escalation and we thank for today’s briefing. We welcome an active role for the UN Security Council. We call on all Member States to exercise caution and avoid providing recognition to the military junta. There can be no business as usual.
At a national level the EU welcomes the efforts of the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) as well as the National Unity Government (NUG) and other pro-democracy forces working towards a peaceful resolution of the current crisis.
We will not let this coup stand. Together with our international partners we have adopted targeted sanctions against those responsible. These measures avoid adverse impact on the people of Myanmar. Our sanctions regime also includes an embargo on arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression. We call on all members of the international community to follow suit in line with today’s resolution.
We will continue to keep other policy options under review with a view to ensuring the restoration of Myanmar’s path towards democracy.
The people of Myanmar must know that the EU is on their side. We hear you and we are with you.
I thank you.