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Myanmar: UN expert urges emergency summit to head off deepening crisis

GENEVA (25 March 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, today warned that the pace and scope of the international response to the military coup in Myanmar is falling short of what is required to head off a deepening crisis. 

Andrews called on UN Member States, including those in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union, the United States and China, to hold an emergency summit of all stakeholders, including the duly elected illegally deposed parliamentarians who make up the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH).

“Conditions in Myanmar are deteriorating,” he said, “but they will likely get much worse without an immediate robust, international response in support of those under siege.

“It is imperative that the international community heed the recent call of UN Secretary-General António Guterres for a ‘firm, unified international response’,” Andrews said. “To date, however, the limited sanctions imposed by Member States do not cut the junta’s access to revenue that help sustain its illegal activities, and the slow pace of diplomacy is out of step with the scale of the crisis. 

“The incremental approach to sanctions has left the most lucrative business assets of the junta unscathed. It needs to be replaced by robust action that includes a diplomatic offensive designed to meet the moment.”

Andrews stressed that he is receiving reports indicating that the situation in Myanmar is in danger of spiralling further out of control and warned of a dramatic increase in loss of life.

“Without a focused, diplomatic solution, including the hosting of an emergency summit that brings together Myanmar’s neighbours and those countries with great influence in the region, I fear the situation of human rights in Myanmar will further deteriorate as the junta increases the rate of murders, enforced disappearances and torture,” he said.

“It is critical that the people of Myanmar, the CRPH, and opposition leaders and activists see that the international community is working towards a diplomatic solution in support of the peaceful Civil Disobedience Movement. This combined course of action — domestic peaceful resistance, sustained pressure, and international diplomatic momentum — will have a greater chance for success than taking up arms and will save untold numbers of lives.

“Member States have an opportunity to demonstrate this alternative, but the window in which this can be achieved is closing rapidly. I fear that the international community has only a short time remaining to act.”  

ENDS

Mr. Thomas Andrews (United States of America) is the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar. A former member of the US Congress from Maine, Andrews is a Robina Senior Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School and an Associate of Harvard University’s Asia Center. He has worked with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and parliamentarians, NGOs and political parties in Cambodia, Indonesia, Algeria, Croatia, Serbia, Ukraine and Yemen. He has been a consultant for the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma and the Euro-Burma Network and has run advocacy NGOs including Win Without War and United to End Genocide.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Comprising the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, Special Procedures is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Myanmar

For more information and media requests please contact: Pol Planas Callicó (Email: pplanas@ohchr.org / Tel. +4122 917 94 77)
For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / rrosariodesouza@ohchr.org).

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter@UN_SPExperts.

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