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Myanmar: One year into coup, a new and stronger course of international action is needed – UN expert

01 February 2022

GENEVA (1 February 2022) – One year after the Myanmar military launched a coup, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar released a video* featuring the voices of some of those in Myanmar who have suffered greatly and are taking action to defend their country.

Tom Andrews implored States to take a more robust course of international action "before it's too late".

"Now is not the time for more rhetoric, it is time for meaningful action," the UN expert said. "The international community must take strong, meaningful steps to cut the junta's access to weapons, funds and legitimacy."

Andrews reiterated the urgent need for the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Myanmar military and stressed the need to significantly increase financial pressure on the junta, as many in Myanmar are doing with boycotts.

"The fact that one year has elapsed with no Security Council Resolution imposing a comprehensive arms embargo — as arms continue to flow to the junta and kill innocent people — is unacceptable," he said. "The people of Myanmar deserve better from the United Nations."

Andrews said he would soon release a report that identifies the weapons that continue to flow into the arsenal of the junta and where they are from.

"The military junta is functioning as a criminal enterprise, committing murder, torture, abductions, forced displacement, all the while stealing the revenue and seizing the assets that rightfully belong to the people of Myanmar," he said. "What is worse, they appear to be getting away with it. Their attacks continue unabated. The suffering of the Myanmar people is steadily increasing.

"Recent months have seen an even further escalation of violence, and a campaign of terror now widespread across the country. I have received more reports of mass killings, attacks on hospitals and humanitarian targets, and the bombing and burning of villages," he added.

"Despite great risks and immense hardships, the people of Myanmar are responding with courage, tenacity and an unwavering commitment to save their country and their children's future. I am amazed at the resilience of the Myanmar people. In the face of aerial assaults, and mass arrest and torture, they continue to strike, to protest, to speak out and to defend themselves. They need and deserve stronger support from the international community," he said.

"On this first anniversary of the illegal coup by the military junta, the best and worst of humanity is unfolding in Myanmar.

"As we mark this dark day and what amounts to a military occupation of Myanmar, let the international community, and Member States of the United Nations, offer not only words of concern, but strong action. The people of Myanmar deserve nothing less," he said.


*Broadcast quality content:

Voices from Myanmar: UN Special Rapporteur on the anniversary of the illegal military coup

Comments from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, on the first anniversary of the illegal coup in Myanmar. The video also contains testimonies from individuals inside Myanmar who describe the dire human rights situation in the country.

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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