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UN calls on Myanmar military to show restraint

Rights group claims killings of peaceful protesters amount to extrajudicial executions

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: March 11, 2021 07:02 AM GMT

Updated: March 11, 2021 07:12 AM GMT

UN calls on Myanmar military to show restraint

Residents look on as soldiers block a road after arriving to arrest railway workers involved in the civil disobedience movement at Mahlwagone station in Yangon on March 10. (Photo: AFP)

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the violence against Myanmar’s protesters and called on the military to show the “utmost restraint.”

In a presidential statement agreed by the 15-member council on March 10, they expressed deep concern at restrictions on medical personnel, civil society, labor union members, journalists and media workers and called for the immediate release of all those detained arbitrarily.

The council called for the military to exercise the “utmost restraint” and emphasized that it is following the situation closely.

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“The Security Council expresses its continued support for the democratic transition in Myanmar, and stresses the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence, fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and uphold the rule of law,” the statement said.

The Security Council showed its strong support for regional organizations, in particular ASEAN, and its readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful and constructive manner.

It also reiterated its support for Christine Schraner Burgener, the UN special envoy on Myanmar, and encouraged her to maintain communication and efforts to engage intensively with all relevant parties in Myanmar and to visit the country as soon as possible.

Schraner Burgener had communication with the military's deputy commander-in-chief Soe Win in February but was told that the time was not right for a visit.

The council failed to condemn the coup and removed the draft text “threatening possible measures under the UN Charter should the situation deteriorate further” due to opposition from China, Russia, India and Vietnam.

Myanmar’s military has stepped up its crackdown on peaceful protesters with tear gas, sound grenades, night raids and arrests as a tactic to undermine daily protests.

On March 10, security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of anti-coup protesters who were trapped in two districts of Yangon, according to media reports.

They also raided the quarters of railway workers who were on strike as part of a civil disobedience movement and attempted to arrest them.

The movement has gained momentum across the country as thousands of people from several sectors including health care and education have joined the campaign.

The US has imposed sanctions on two family members of military chief Min Aung Hlaing and six of their businesses. The US, Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s generals.

Amnesty International has slammed Myanmar’s junta for deliberately using lethal weapons against participants in peaceful protests.

“Many of the killings documented amount to extrajudicial executions,” the rights group said on March 11, citing analysis of 50 videos.

It said footage clearly shows that security forces are increasingly armed with weapons that are only appropriate for the battlefield, not for policing actions.

The research revealed that some of the military units Amnesty International had accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity were now being used against the protesters.

More than 60 protesters have been killed and some 2,000 people have been detained since the Feb. 1 coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights organization based in Mae Sot, Thailand.

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