The UN has called on member states to “prevent the flow of arms into Myanmar” and to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other incarcerated leaders, giving a symbolic but sharp rebuke to Min Aung Hlaing’s military arrival.
On Friday the UN general assembly adopted the resolution with the majority vote with 119 countries in support. Only one country – Belarus – voted against the resolution, with China, Russia and 34 other countries abstaining. China has said external pressure could aggravate the situation but has not ruled out an arms embargo in the future.
The text is not binding and its language has been softened during negotiations with some regional neighbors in Myanmar. But diplomats and human rights groups have said the effort has nevertheless marked an attempt by the international community to isolate the junta at a time when some countries are pursuing ties with the generals.
“This is a contrast to the junta,” said Richard Gowan, the UN’s director at the International Crisis Group, adding that it was “very unusual” for the general assembly – the UN body of 193 states. limbs – to weigh in a blow. “Generals and their allies will find it harder to tell the world that their capture is now just a fact of life that everyone must accept.”
Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, said the UN Security Council should now “intensify” and impose a global arms embargo on Myanmar given the “very strong” approval of the Friday at the general assembly.
The 15-member UNSC, whose decisions are binding on member states, discussed Myanmar on Friday but has not yet considered an arms embargo.
“Today’s vote seems to indicate that China has not yet launched with the junta,” Charbonneau said, adding that he hopes Beijing will not block a UNSC arms embargo.
The crisis in Myanmar was caused by the military overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government on February 1 after it disputed a victory shattered by its National League for Democracy in the November elections.
At least 865 people have been killed and more than 6,000 arrested since the coup, according to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (Burma), a human rights group.
The Myanmar army suppressed maximum peaceful demonstrations in the weeks following the coup. More recently the violence has expanded to include clashes between troops and urban anti-regime warriors or armed organizations in some of the country’s ethnic minority states.
Head of Myanmar he went on trial this week in Naypyidaw, where she faces several criminal charges that her lawyers and human rights groups say were fabricated to prevent her from returning to office.
Human rights groups and civil society activists in Myanmar had urged the UN to act, and described an arms embargo as one of the steps the world community could take that would do the most to stop it. bleeding in the village.
However, diplomats considered until a Security Council resolution had little chance of passing because the permanent members China and Russia, the two largest arms suppliers to the Myanmar army, have veto power.
The vote comes at a time when some Myanmar residents are opening contacts with junta officials, inciting anti-coup activists who want the world to isolate the junta and deprive them of revenue.
Asean, the 10-member Southeast Asian group to which Myanmar belongs, held an online meeting of defense ministers this week attended by a regime official, which was also attended by Lloyd Austin. , United States Secretary of Defense. Asean members were split from the UN vote on Friday, with Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand all abstaining and the majority, including Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam, backing.
The UN, China, and Asean have all been targets of anti-coup protesters, who Asean flag burned to a Yangon protest this week. The bloc in April accepted one five-point consensus on the escalation of violence in Myanmar, but angered the anti-coup camp by inviting Min Aung Hlaing to the summit to which it was agreed.