Nine UN Security Council members call on junta to end attacks on civilians

Nine member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) including three permanent members have called on the Myanmar junta to cease its attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure and release all political prisoners including President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, The Irrawaddy reports.

UNSC members the US, the UK, France, Japan, South Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ecuador and Malta issued the joint statement on Monday ahead of the council’s closed-door meeting on Myanmar. The nine countries are among 15 permanent and rotating members of the UNSC.

Noting that Feb. 1 marked three years since the Myanmar military overthrew the democratically elected government, they said the situation in the country remains dire.

On the same day that the UNSC convened its meeting, the junta conducted an aerial bombardment on a school in Karenni (Kayah) State’s Demoso Township, killing four children aged between 12 and 14 years and injuring at least 15 other children. The junta denied the attack.

“We strongly condemn the ongoing violence harming civilians in Myanmar including the military’s continued use of indiscriminate air strikes,” the member states said in the joint statement.

Two permanent members of the council, China and Russia, were not involved in the statement.

“As set out in UN Security Council Resolution 2669, we demand an immediate end to all forms of violence and urge restraint and de-escalation of tensions. We continue to urge the Myanmar military to immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including President Win Myint and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi,” the countries said in the statement.

U Kyaw Moe Tun, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN, on Monday thanked the member states for issuing the joint statement and urged that more action be taken to follow up on Resolution 2669.

In a statement to the media, he said, “The military junta continues its atrocities against the people of Myanmar even after the adoption of Resolution 2669 in December 2022. The UN Security Council so far can’t do anything to force the military junta to adhere to the resolution. Clearly we need an enforceable resolution building on Resolution 2669.”

He called for an end to the flow of arms, jet fuel and money to the military junta, as it continues to use fighter jets and helicopters to conduct attacks on civilian areas including schools, hospitals and religious buildings.

“My question again and again is, what are they waiting for to save the lives of the people of Myanmar?” the ambassador said.

U Kyaw Moe Tun also called on the Security Council to address rising transnational crime in Myanmar including online scam operations, and drug and human trafficking, which he said are facilitated by the military junta and its affiliated border guard forces. He said such crime is having a huge impact on the region and beyond and urged that effective action be taken against it.

Three years on from the coup, over 4,400 civilians have been killed, more than 25,000 people have been arrested and over 78,000 civilian houses have been burned down across the country as a result of the military junta’s nationwide campaign of terror against the population.

More than 18 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and over 2.6 million have been and remain displaced from their homes. Over 86,000 civilian properties Including religious buildings have been burned down by junta forces.

“The people of Myanmar have never, never stopped showing their determination against the military dictatorship… We are unified in opposition to the military dictatorship and its rule. We wish to live in a free, peaceful, inclusive, just and democratic society,” U Kyaw Moe Tun said.

He said the revolution is homegrown, people-centered and people-oriented, but help from the international community, including coordinated concrete action from both the Security Council and individual member states, is needed immediately.

“I appeal again to the member states of the UN Security Council to adopt a timely and enforceable follow-up resolution to save the lives of the people of Myanmar,” he said.

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