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UN urged to take collective action against Myanmar junta

Special envoy says she is receiving 2,000 messages a day urging international action

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: March 06, 2021 05:06 AM GMT
UN urged to take collective action against Myanmar junta

The wife of Phoe Chit, a protester who died during a demonstration against the military coup on March 3, cries over the coffin of her husband during his funeral in Yangon on March 5. (Photo: AFP)

The United Nations Security Council has been urged to take collective action to stop the violence and restore democracy in Myanmar following the Feb. 1 military coup.

Christine Schraner Burgener, UN special envoy on Myanmar, told the 15-member council in a closed meeting on March 5: “There is an urgency for collective action. How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with?

“It is critical that this council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly in support of the clear November election results. Your unity is needed more than ever in Myanmar. The repression must stop.”

Burgener noted that she is receiving some 2,000 messages a day from Myanmar urging international action.

“The hope they have placed in the United Nations and its membership is waning and I have heard directly the desperate pleas — from mothers, students and the elderly,” she said.

She warned that no country should recognize or legitimize the Myanmar junta.

“I will continue my efforts in solidarity with the people of Myanmar. Their hope will depend on unified support and action from the Security Council,” she added.

Last month the Security Council voiced concern over the state of emergency and called for the release of detained leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi but stopped short of condemning the coup because of opposition from China and Russia.

The Southeast Asian nation has been in political turmoil following the coup, with daily protests across the country.

At least 57 people have been killed by security forces’ bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters since Feb. 1.

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A 26-year-old man who was part of protests led by an engineering group was shot in the neck and died in Mandalay on March 6.

On March 6, defiant protesters, mostly young people, continued to march on the streets in several cities including Yangon and Mandalay despite security forces dispersing them with tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition.

Tom Andrews, the UN’s rights envoy on Myanmar, has called on the Security Council to impose a global arms embargo on the military.

“I urge the council to take decisive and unified action against the military junta, including targeted sanctions, an arms embargo and a referral to the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed since the Feb. 1 coup and those committed against ethnic groups in years prior,” Andrews said.

The committee representing Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmakers has also called for robust, targeted sanctions and an arms embargo against the junta in a March 4 letter sent to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.

“The international community has a responsibility to protect civilians there [Myanmar],” Dr. Sasa, the envoy representing Myanmar’s parliament at the UN, told CNN.

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