In a rare move, the UN general assembly condemned Myanmar’s military coup and called for an arms embargo against the country in a resolution that demonstrates widespread global opposition to the junta and calls for the restoration of the country’s democratic transition.
Supporters expected the 193-member world body to pass the resolution unanimously by consensus, but Belarus called for a vote. The measure passed with 119 countries voting “yes”, Belarus voting “no” and 36 countries abstaining.
The resolution was the result of lengthy negotiations by a so-called core group that includes the European Union and many Western nations, and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Myanmar. A UN diplomat said there was an agreement with Asean to seek consensus but, in the vote, its members were divided, some like Indonesia and Vietnam voted “yes” and others, including Thailand and Laos, abstained.
Although the resolution did not garner the overwhelming support its supporters wanted, the move, while not legally binding, reflects international condemnation of the February 1 coup, which toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s party from power and placed it under arrest along with many government leaders. and politicians, as well as strong opposition to the military repression against protesters demanding an end to the army’s seizure of power.
The resolution calls on Myanmar’s military junta to restore the country’s democratic transition, condemns its “excessive and lethal violence” since the coup and calls on all countries “to prevent the flow of weapons 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, “and all those who have been detained, charged. Or arbitrarily arrested “.
EU Ambassador Olof Skoog said the resolution “sends a strong and powerful message,” calling it “the most comprehensive and universal condemnation of the situation in Myanmar to date.”
“It delegitimizes the military junta, condemns its abuse and violence against its own people and shows its isolation in the eyes of the world,” he said. “The UN community of nations has expressed its resounding support for the people of Myanmar, that their human rights and freedoms must be protected, and that their democratically elected leaders must be released.”
Richard Gowan, the UN director of the international crisis group, said he is “only aware of three previous resolutions of the general assembly condemning coups in this way since the end of the cold war.”
The assembly has called for arms embargoes and sanctions, including against Israel and South Africa during the Cold War, he said, but “this is a rare call to stop arms flows, and Western diplomats deserve credit for receiving a fairly clear and firm call. to stop the supply of arms to Myanmar, especially as ASEAN members had doubts about that language. “
In assessing the impact of the resolution, Gowan told the Associated Press: “The board will ignore this resolution, but it will make it more difficult for them to try to normalize their relations with the rest of the world and present the coup as a fait accompli. “
“The general assembly has effectively warned the generals that if they hold power, they are resigning themselves to pariah status indefinitely … (and) it has sent a clear message that UN members are unwilling to sweep away the low blow. the carpet, ”Gowan said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism