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UNSC calls for release of Aung San Suu Kyi from Myanmar in landmark resolution

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The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called on Myanmar’s ruling military junta to release all political prisoners, including deposed state councilor Aung San Suu Kyi and former president Win Myint, in its first resolution adopted on the Southeast Asian country since its independence.

UN Security Council Resolution 2669 on Myanmar expressed “deep concern over the military-imposed state of emergency” and underscored the need to address several long-standing issues. He also called for greater humanitarian assistance for victims of the violence, with a focus on women, children and displaced populations, including the Rohingya – a persecuted majority Muslim minority.

The act comes nearly two years after the military staged a violent coupoverthrowing the democratically elected government and arresting civilian leaders, including Suu Kyi.

Freedoms and rights in Myanmar under the military junta have deteriorated markedly. state executions are back, thousands people have been arrested for protesting against the military regime, and the number of violent attacks documented by the military against civilian areas, including schools, has increased, according to non-governmental organizations. The junta says it is fighting what it calls “terrorists” and promises a return to peace.

Wednesday’s resolution was proposed by Britain and passed with 12 votes in favor, none against and three abstentions from China, India and Russia.

Suu Kyi is currently being held in solitary confinement in a prison in the capital Naypyidaw on a host of charges. To date, the 77-year-old former Nobel Peace Prize winner has been sentenced to 26 years in prison, including three years of hard labor. The condemnations, which critics and international observers say are politically motivated, mainly relate to the November 2020 general election which his National League for Democracy won overwhelmingly, defeating a party created by the army.

In a statement Wednesday, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the United States applauds the Security Council for passing the resolution. “With this resolution, the international community demands that the Burmese military regime end its horrific violence, immediately release those arbitrarily detained, allow unhindered humanitarian access, protect minority groups,” she said, referring to in Myanmar by its former name.

But she said it “represents only one step towards the end of the bloodshed. Much remains to be done,” adding that the UNSC must “promote accountability for the atrocities and abuses of the Burmese military regime.”

“Since the junta violently seized power in February 2021, it has waged a brutal campaign against the people of Myanmar – burning down villages, carrying out indiscriminate airstrikes, torture and massacres,” the British ambassador told UN, Barbara Woodward, in a statement. statement.

“This resolution sends a clear message: the Security Council is deeply concerned about what is happening in Myanmar at the hands of the military and the so-called ‘state of emergency’ imposed to suppress the people’s calls for peace. and democracy,” she added. . . ”

The news received a mixed response from rights groups calling for more action.

Global Justice Center President Akila Radhakrishnan responded to the UNSC’s efforts, calling them “a missed opportunity for more vigorous action,” but reiterated the urgent need for a better plan of action.

“[W]We cannot deny that Council members missed an opportunity to act more vigorously. Most important is their failure to create a mechanism to regularly report on the situation in Myanmar. It is a crisis that continues to evolve and deepen. It is therefore urgent that Council members treat this decision as a first step in developing a comprehensive and continuous action plan.

Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said “the resolution is a momentous step on behalf of the people of Myanmar, opening the door to holding Myanmar’s brutal generals to account.”

Pearson added that “the resolution should bring renewed scrutiny of the daily atrocities of the junta and recognition of the courageous efforts of the people of Myanmar towards democracy and freedom.”