22 Dec 2022
The UN Security Council called for an end to violence in Myanmar/Burma and the release of political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on 21 December.
CSW welcomes the resolution, the first on Myanmar by the UN Security Council in 74 years, which passed with 12 countries voting in favour and abstentions from Russia, China and India.
Since Myanmar’s military, the Tatmadaw, seized power in a coup in February 2021, it has waged widespread violence against civilians and imprisoned members of the government, including Aung San Suu Kyi. Its use of airstrikes against civilians and civilian structures has been a major driver of displacement, occasioning a humanitarian crisis in the country.
Reuters reports that the adopted resolution, which was drafted by the UK, expresses ‘deep concern’ at the continuing state of emergency imposed by the military when it seized power and its ‘grave impact’ on civilians.
The resolution calls for ‘concrete and immediate actions’ to implement a peace plan agreed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ‘uphold democratic institutions and processes and to pursue constructive dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people.’
CSW’s Senior Analyst for East Asia Benedict Rogers said: ‘This historic resolution is long overdue but very welcome. However, in itself it does no more than send a signal to the illegal and brutal military regime in Myanmar that the atrocities it continues to inflict on its peoples are completely unacceptable and are condemned by the international community. Such a signal is important, but it must now be accompanied by meaningful action by member states to cut the lifeline to the military regime through more targeted sanctions, including sanctions on aviation fuel to stop the military’s aerial bombardment of villages, and the implementation of a global arms embargo, and at the same time to provide a lifeline to the people of Myanmar through urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the internally displaced and refugees along Myanmar’s borders. The resolution is a welcome step forward but it will only have meaning if it is accompanied by action.’
Reuters reports that the UK’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward told the Security Council: ‘Today we’ve sent a firm message to the military that they should be in no doubt – we expect this resolution to be implemented in full…we’ve also sent a clear message to the people of Myanmar that we seek progress in line with their rights, their wishes and their interests.’
Myanmar’s UN ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, representing the government that was overthrown in the coup, said: ‘We are clear this is only a first step. The National Unity Government calls on the UNSC (to build) on this resolution to take further and stronger action to ensure the end of the military junta and its crimes.’
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