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Call for arms embargo to halt Myanmar massacre

UN rights expert says stopping the flow of weapons to the military junta is a matter of life and death

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: May 09, 2021 03:12 AM GMT

Updated: May 09, 2021 03:13 AM GMT

Call for arms embargo to halt Myanmar massacre

Protesters march with placards supporting the opposition National Unity Government (NUG) during a demonstration against the military coup in Hpakant in Myanmar's Kachin state on May 8. (Photo: Kachinwaves/AFP)

A United Nations human rights expert has called on all states to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar to stop the massacre of citizens.

“Stopping the flow of weapons and dual-use weapons technology into the hands of the military junta of Myanmar is literally a matter of life and death. There is no time to lose,” said Tom Andrews, the UN’s special rapporteur on Myanmar.

He has urged governments to consider immediately establishing an arms embargo while simultaneously encouraging UN Security Council action.

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“Bilateral arms embargoes should encompass weapons and dual-use technology, including surveillance equipment. Together, they will represent an important step forward to literally taking guns out of the hands of those killing innocent men, women and children,” Andrews said.

He lauded a call by over 200 civil society organizations to bring the issue to the attention of the 15-member UN Security Council.

The groups including Human Rights Watch have urged the Security Council to impose an arms embargo as the time for statements has passed and immediate action is needed to help protect peaceful protesters against military rule.

Daily protests against military rule have entered a fourth month despite a brutal crackdown

“No government should sell a single bullet to the junta under these circumstances,” the groups said. “Imposing a global arms embargo on Myanmar is the minimum necessary step the Security Council should take in response to the military’s escalating violence.”

Andrews said an arms embargo is needed “in light of the horror that the Myanmar military continues to inflict on its citizens every day.”

Daily protests against military rule have entered a fourth month despite a brutal crackdown by security forces that has led to at least 750 people being killed.

The military is also engaged in intense fighting in northern and southeastern Myanmar with the KIA and KNU ethnic armed groups.

Thousands of people have been displaced in largely Christian Kachin and over 2,300 people have crossed from Myanmar into Thailand since April 27, according to the UN.

UNHCR estimates that 4,000 to 6,000 refugees from Myanmar have entered the Indian states of Mizoram and Manipur since March.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in political turmoil since the military coup on Feb. 1 and there are serious concerns that the country will face a widening civil war including urban areas.

The UN has warned of an economic collapse in Myanmar that could result in up to 25 million people — nearly half the country’s population — living in poverty by early 2022.

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