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‘Without strong action, carnage in Myanmar would worsen’

Published : 25 Dec 2022 09:44 PM | Updated : 26 Dec 2022 05:13 PM

A UN-appointed independent human rights expert has said the carnage in Myanmar would only worsen without strong, coordinated action by countries against atrocities committed by the junta in the country.

Thomas Andrews, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, said the adoption of the UN Security Council's first resolution on the Southeast Asian nation recently since the military unleashed a brutal crackdown nearly two years ago was not enough. Special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights country situation.

"Demanding that certain actions be taken without any use of the Security Council's Chapter VII authority, will not stop the illegal Myanmar junta from attacking and destroying the lives of the 54 million people being held hostage in the country," he said recently.

The resolution expressed "deep concern" at the continuing state of emergency since the military seized power and the "grave impact" of the coup on Myanmar's people.

It also urged "concrete and immediate actions" towards implementing a peace plan, which was agreed to by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and called to uphold "democratic institutions and processes."

Andrews said: "The systematic gross human rights violations – amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity – being perpetrated daily on the people of Myanmar by an illegal military junta requires strong, coordinated action by UN member states."

He said the resolution's demands – including an immediate end to all forms of violence, the release of political prisoners, unimpeded humanitarian access, and respect for the rights of women and children – are "critically important" but missing are "consequences for the failure to meet them and the imposition of sanctions and accountability for crimes the military has committed to date."

The language of the resolution should have been stronger, Andrews added.

"However, the resolution makes it clear that the action required to end the crisis would not come from the Security Council. It is, therefore, imperative that those nations with the political will to support the people of Myanmar take coordinated action immediately to end the carnage," the expert said.

"The resolution should not become 'a dead-end…followed by more international inaction.' It should be a wake-up call for those nations who support a people under siege."

Targeted action is needed, including coordinating sanctions, cutting off the revenue that finances the junta's military assaults, and an embargo on weapons and dual-use technology, Andrews said.

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