Myanmar’s UN ambassador calls for security council action to halt conscription

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations U Kyaw Moe Tun has urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take concrete action to stop the forced recruitment of Myanmar youths as junta soldiers under the conscription law, The Irrawaddy reports.

During a UNSC event titled Open Debate Promoting Conflict Prevention – Empowering All Actors Including Women and Youth held on March 13, the ambassador said Myanmar youth are now at extreme risk due to the unlawful military conscription being forced on the people by the illegal junta.

“Now they [the military dictators] are forcing Myanmar youth into mandatory military service, not to defend the country, but to use them as human shields and porters against the growing anti-coup revolutionary forces,” the ambassador told the UNSC.

“This military draft together with the worsening humanitarian crisis is creating a serious regional problem.”

He said that the military dictatorship’s brutal actions are a constant threat to the lives of Myanmar people.

Since early February, the people of Myanmar and the civilian National Unity Government have called for the international community to take necessary action to stop forced conscription by the military junta, he said, adding that he now reiterated that call.

The Myanmar military junta has been moving quickly to conscript the country’s young people into its armed forces since announcing the enforcement of the long-standing People’s Military Service Law on Feb. 10. It has also begun registering eligible individuals, with detailed data-collection processes now under way in Naypyitaw and Yangon, particularly.

The junta has also detained and forcibly recruited hundreds of Rohingya men from villages and camps for internally displaced persons in Rakhine State.

In a joint statement released on Thursday, the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and the National League for Democracy (NLD) party urged the international community not to wait for another atrocity but to take immediate, effective, legal and legislative actions against the junta.

“This recently announced forced conscription … is to sacrifice the lives, blood and sweat of young people in Myanmar to keep the bloody throne of the military in the country and force the unwilling young generation of Myanmar into acts of war crimes committed by the junta,” they said.

The NUCC and NLD urged people to sign a petition mobilizing public support against the junta’s forced conscription.

The collected signatures will be presented to various governments, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the UNSC, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the International Labor Organization, the European Union, and other international organizations, the statement said.

U Kyaw Moe Tun on Wednesday however expressed frustration over the lack of action by the UN.

He said that he and the people of Myanmar are tired of appealing to the UN, in particular the UN Security Council, to assist the “helpless” Myanmar people, whose appeals have so far met with a lack of concrete action, or even serious attention, from them.

“The people of Myanmar are asking a valid question: Where are you, the United Nations, to save lives in Myanmar?” he said.

“I do not want to see that the UN Security Council is directly or indirectly responsible for loss of so many innocent lives in Myanmar after the illegal military coup in February 2021. Instead, I want the UN Security Council to become a part of the solution by taking concrete action to save lives in Myanmar,” he said.

The ambassador reiterated his call for the UN to adopt an enforcement resolution as a follow-up to its resolution 2669 adopted in December 2022. He also urged it to prevent arms and jet fuel from flowing to the military junta and to ensure accountability for serious international crimes.

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