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Myanmar: UN expert urges States to impose arms embargo

GENEVA (7 May 2021) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, today welcomed the call by a broad number of civil society organizations to impose an arms embargo on Myanmar's military junta, and encouraged States to take their own actions immediately.

"Stopping the flow of weapons and dual-use weapons technology into the hands of the military junta of Myanmar is literally a matter of life and death. There is no time to lose," said Andrews.

"I applaud the efforts of more than 200 organisations to bring this to the attention of the UN Security Council. Action to stop the flow of deadly weapons into the hands of those who are using them to massacre their own people is needed now.

"I urge governments who support cutting the flow of weapons to a brutal military junta to consider immediately establishing their own arms embargo against Myanmar while simultaneously encouraging UN Security Council action.

"Bilateral arms embargoes should encompass weapons and dual-use technology, including surveillance equipment. Together, they will represent an important step forward to literally taking guns out of the hands of those killing innocent men, women and children."

Andrews said he was currently updating a list of States that have established arms embargoes against Myanmar. In his March report* to the Human Rights Council, he identified those nations that had already established arms embargoes against Myanmar.

"It is my hope that those who have yet to impose an arms embargo will do so in light of the horror that the Myanmar military continues to inflict on its citizens every day. I intend to publish this updated list next month," he said.

"Additionally, I urge organizations and advocates who have called for UN Security Council action to simultaneously urge governments to impose their own arms embargo. They can begin by carefully reviewing the list of nations who have established arms embargoes, and reach out to those who have yet to do so."


*See page 50, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Thomas H. Andrews, Human Rights Council, Forty-sixth session, 22 February–19 March 2021.

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

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