UN condemns coup in Myanmar, calls for arms embargo | Burma


In a rare gesture, the United Nations General Assembly condemned the military coup in Myanmar and called for an arms embargo against the country in a resolution demonstrating widespread global opposition to the junta and demanding the restoration of the democratic transition of the country.

Supporters had hoped the 193-member world body would approve the resolution unanimously by consensus, but Belarus called for a vote. The measure was approved with 119 countries voting “yes”, Belarus voting “no” and 36 countries abstaining.

The resolution is the result of lengthy negotiations by a so-called central group comprising the European Union and many Western countries, and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which includes Myanmar. A UN diplomat said there was an agreement with ASEAN to seek consensus but, during the vote, its members were divided, some including Indonesia and Vietnam voting “yes” and others, including Thailand and Laos, abstaining.

While the resolution did not gain the overwhelming support desired by its supporters, the decision, while not legally binding, reflects international condemnation of the February 1 coup – which ousted the party from Aung San Suu Kyi out of power and arrested her along with many government leaders. and politicians – as well as strong opposition to the military crackdown on protesters demanding an end to the military takeover.

The resolution calls on Myanmar’s military junta to restore the country’s democratic transition, condemns its “excessive and deadly violence” since the coup and calls on all countries “to prevent the influx of arms into Myanmar”.

The resolution also calls on the armed forces to immediately and unconditionally release President Win Myint, State Councilor Suu Kyi and other government officials and politicians detained after the coup, “as well as all those who were arbitrarily detained, charged or arrested ”.

EU Ambassador Olof Skoog said the resolution “sends a strong and powerful message”, calling it “the broadest and most universal condemnation of the situation in Myanmar to date”.

“He delegitimizes the military junta, condemns its abuses and violence against its own people and demonstrates its isolation in the eyes of the world,” he declared. “The UN community of nations has expressed its unwavering support for the people of Myanmar – that their human rights and freedoms must be protected, and that their democratically elected leaders must be released from detention. “

Richard Gowan, director of the international crisis group at the UN, said he was “only aware of three previous General Assembly resolutions condemning coups in this manner since the end of the Cold War “.

The assembly called for arms embargoes and sanctions, including against Israel and South Africa during the Cold War, he said, but “it’s a rare call to stop the flow arms, and Western diplomats deserve credit for receiving a fairly clear and firm call to stop arms deliveries to Myanmar, especially since ASEAN members had doubts about such language. “

Assessing the impact of the resolution, Gowan told The Associated Press: “The junta will ignore this resolution, but it will be more difficult for them to try to normalize their relations with the rest of the world and to present the coup. like a done deal. “

“The General Assembly effectively warned the generals that if they retain power, they indefinitely resign themselves to pariah status … (and) sent a clear message that UN members are unwilling to sweep aside the coup under the rug, ”Gowan said.

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