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UNSC calls for immediate release of Myanmar leaders

By Yoshita Singh
February 05, 2021 01:18 IST
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The United Nations Security Council on Thursday expressed deep concern over the declaration of the state of emergency in Myanmar by the military and called for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders arbitrarily detained by the military.

 

IMAGE: A woman hits a plate during a night protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar. REUTERS/. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

The 15-nation Council, the most powerful organ of the world organisation, agreed upon a press statement on the situation in Myanmar three days after the military seized power in the Southeast Asian nation in a coup and detained top political leaders.

'The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at the declaration of the state of emergency imposed in Myanmar by the military on February 1 and the arbitrary detention of members of the Government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and others. They called for the immediate release of all those detained,' the Security Council said in its first statement on the military's ouster of the government.

The Security Council members emphasised the need for the continued support of the democratic transition in Myanmar and stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence, and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

'They encouraged the pursuance of dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar,' the statement, issued by consensus, said.

The Council reiterated the need to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State and to create conditions necessary for the safe, voluntary, sustainable, and dignified return of displaced persons.

'The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar,' the statement said.

The members of the Security Council also expressed concern at the restrictions on civil society, journalists and media workers and called for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need, including through the re-establishment of UN relief flights.

Reiterating their strong support to regional organisations, in particular the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Council members also reiterated their support to the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener for her good offices.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in an interview to The Washington Post, had vowed to mobilise the international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to ensure that the military coup in the country 'fails' and had expressed hope that unity will prevail in the Security Council to deal with the crisis.

The UN Security Council had met Tuesday to discuss the situation in Myanmar. Suu Kyi has been charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies, a move by which she can be detained until February 15.

Burgener had urged the Council to 'collectively' send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar and had stressed that declaration of the Statement of Emergency and the arrest of civilian leadership was unconstitutional and illegal.

A spokesperson of the Permanent Mission of China said work on the press statement was 'not smooth' and added that the zero draft of the press statement had been leaked to the media even before Council members had the opportunity to discuss it.

Dmitry Polyanskiy, First Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, had tweeted on Wednesday that China, Russia and Vietnam insisted on 'continuing work on draft press-statement', which needs to be agreed upon by consensus.

'This is our right. Today we gave our edits. Responsibility of #UNSC is to give signals that improve situation and not worsen it #Myanmar,' Polyanskiy had said.

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