Activists have called on the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to court

Activists have called on the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to court

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Human rights activists urged the U.N. Security Council on Monday to refer Myanmar’s military rulers to the International Criminal Court and called on neighboring Southeast Asian nations to support opposition pro-democracy movements.

Leaders of two women’s rights organizations spoke to reporters ahead of a closed-door council meeting on Myanmar. Members heard briefings from UN special envoy for Myanmar Nolin Heizer and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi of Indonesia, whose country chairs the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

May Sabe Phyu, director of the Gender Equality Network, a coalition of organizations promoting women’s rights in Myanmar, accused Myanmar’s military of conducting “terrorist operations” and committing “heinous acts” that constitute crimes against humanity. He said, the Security Council should be mentioned. The junta’s move to the International Criminal Court for trial.

Myanmar’s military has long been accused of human rights abuses, most notably during a brutal 2017 crackdown against Rohingya Muslims in the western state of Rakhine. The International Court of Justice is considering whether that crackdown was genocide.

In 2021, the military overthrew Myanmar’s elected civilian government, then moved to violently suppress popular opposition to the takeover. Some experts now consider the situation in Myanmar to be a civil war in which the army is waging a major campaign against widespread armed resistance.

ASEAN adopted a five-step consensus to restore peace in April 2021 that Myanmar agreed to but did not implement, which has since excluded Myanmar from some high-level ASEAN meetings.

The Security Council adopted its first resolution on Myanmar in December, demanding an immediate end to violence, calling on its military rulers to release all “reasonably detained” prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and to restore democratic institutions. It also reiterated calls for dialogue and reconciliation and urged all parties to “respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law”.

Activists called for an arms embargo, UN special envoys for public engagement with pro-democracy actors, and accountability for crimes committed by the military.

Phew, who left Myanmar after the annexation and is now based in the United States, asked the Security Council to press Myanmar not to support the governments of its neighbors but to publicly support democratic forces, including the National Unity Government, which it said it has support for. Myanmar people.

And he criticized UN envoy Heiser for meeting with senior general Min Aung Hlaing but not meeting publicly with pro-democracy groups, including the National Unity Government, which operates underground and calls itself the country’s legitimate government.

The head of the Women’s League of Burma, Nao Haser Hasar, said democracy advocates feel they have been forgotten by the international community.

Ahead of Monday’s council meeting, Britain’s UN ambassador Barbara Woodward said the Security Council fully supports ASEAN and the five-point summit, but stressed that now is the time for progress.

“The people of Myanmar have suffered for a long time,” Woodward said. “Myanmar is the second deadliest place in the world for civilians and the people of Myanmar really cannot wait.”

France’s deputy UN ambassador Nathalie Broadhurst told The Associated Press after the council meeting that Marsudi presented an implementation plan that called for action on five points in parallel, not sequentially.

“They say they don’t want megaphone diplomacy,” Broadhurst added, expressing hope that ASEAN efforts would eventually lead to a national inclusive effort and end the “desperate situation” in Myanmar.

Brazil’s U.N. ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho told the AP that council members supported ASEAN and some said the Security Council should be prepared for further action, but that “for now” no new action by the council is expected.

The Security Council in New York is increasingly divided by a major rift among its five permanent members: China and Russia on one side, and Britain, France and the United States on the other.

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