Over 200 NGOs call for UN arms embargo on Myanmar


UNITED NATIONS (PA) – More than 200 global organizations on Wednesday urged the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar, saying the time for declarations has passed and immediate action is needed to help protect peaceful protesters against the military regime and other opponents of the military regime. the junta.

A statement from non-governmental organizations said the military “had shown senseless disregard for human life” since their February 1 coup, killing at least 769 people, including 51 children as young as six years and detaining several thousand activists, journalists, officials and politicians. Hundreds more have disappeared, he said.

“No government should sell a single bullet to the junta under these circumstances,” the NGOs said. “The imposition of a global arms embargo on Myanmar is the minimum necessary action the Security Council should take in response to escalating military violence.”

The organizations urged the United Kingdom, the Security Council nation responsible for drafting resolutions on Myanmar, “to begin negotiations as soon as possible on a resolution authorizing an arms embargo.” This “will show the junta that there will be no more business as usual,” they said.

Myanmar has languished for five decades under strict military rule that has led to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals loosened their grip, culminating with Aung San Suu Kyi’s rise to power in the 2015 elections, the international community responded by lifting most sanctions and investing in the country. The coup came after the November elections, which Suu Kyi’s party won overwhelmingly, and the military contests as fraudulent.

The 15-member Security Council has issued several statements since the coup demanding the restoration of democracy and the release of all detainees, including Suu Kyi, strongly condemning the use of violence against peaceful protesters and the death of hundreds of civilians and calling on the army to “exercise the utmost restraint” and “on all sides to refrain from violence”.

He also underlined “the need to fully respect human rights and to continue dialogue and reconciliation” and supported the diplomatic efforts of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian and Southeast Asian Nations. UN Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener to find a solution.

“The time for declarations is over,” the NGOs said. “The Security Council should take its consensus on Myanmar to a new level and agree to immediate and substantial action.”

They said a United Nations global arms embargo against Myanmar should prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of “all arms, ammunition and other military equipment, including dual-use items such as as vehicles and communication and surveillance equipment ”. Training, intelligence and other military assistance should also be banned, they said.

Amnesty International’s senior lawyer at the United Nations, Lawrence Moss, told a virtual press conference to launch the statement that many countries are providing arms to Myanmar.

Citing Amnesty’s research and information from other reliable sources, he said Russia is providing fighter jets and attack helicopters to Myanmar, while China is providing fighter jets, naval weapons, armored vehicles, surveillance drones and aiding Myanmar’s indigenous naval industry. In addition, he said, Chinese weapons, small arms and armored vehicles have been diverted to ethnic armed groups, especially the Kachin Independence Army.

Moss said Ukraine has also supplied the Myanmar Army with armored vehicles and is involved in the joint production of armored vehicles in Myanmar, Turkey has supplied hunting rifles and shotgun cartridges, the India provided armored vehicles, troop carriers and naval equipment, including a submarine with torpedoes, and Serbia recorded transfers of small amounts of artillery and small arms systems.

Israel had supplied Myanmar with frigates and armored vehicles as well as police training, but this stopped in 2017 although it could still provide surveillance equipment, Moss said. South Korea transferred an amphibious assault system in 2019, but announced a halt to continued military exports after the coup.

United Nations Director of Human Rights Watch Louis Charbonneau said: “This is the start of what we hope will be an escalation of advocacy to make the task extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the writhing Security Council. hands, sticking to inaction and the occasional statement. worrying. “

But getting the Security Council to pass a resolution authorizing an arms embargo faces a bitter struggle, especially with general opposition from China and Russia to sanctions.

Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun, whose country holds the presidency of the Council this month, said at a press conference on Monday that China is “a friendly neighbor of Myanmar” and puts more emphasis on emphasis on diplomatic efforts. He is “not in favor of imposing sanctions” that can hamper diplomacy and cause suffering for ordinary people, Zhang said.

Amnesty Moss retorted that an “arms embargo would not harm ordinary citizens of Myanmar in any way, form or form … and I hope China will take this into account”.

Simon Adams, executive director of the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, said Myanmar’s “murderous army-led regime” should not be allowed to buy bombs or even “camouflage underwear” and ” should be treated like the outcasts they are. . ”

“I think we all share the concern that the country could become a failed state, that the armed conflict escalates, and therefore an arms embargo is now also a kind of prevention against a refugee crisis that is going through the regional borders and armed conflict. that doesn’t serve anyone’s best interests, ”Adams said.

Myra Dahgaypaw, general manager of the American Campaign for Burma who recalled fleeing past military airstrikes, said an arms embargo will not solve all the country’s problems, but “it will greatly increase the security of people. on the ground, including ethnic groups and religious minorities. “

“Today, I just want to tell the UN Security Council that the Burmese people need your help and they need it urgently,” she said. “Please don’t let the efforts, the struggle and the resilience of the people on the ground trying to survive go in vain.”

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