UN calls for member states to 'prevent the flow of arms' into Myanmar

UN calls for member states to 'prevent the flow of arms' into Myanmar
2 min read
18 June, 2021
The UN General Assembly on took the rare step of calling on member states to 'prevent the flow of arms' into Myanmar, part of a non-binding resolution condemning the military coup in the violence-wracked country.
Demonstrations across Myanmar protest the military ousting of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi [Getty]

The UN General Assembly on Friday took the rare step of calling on member states to "prevent the flow of arms" into Myanmar, part of a non-binding resolution condemning the military coup in the violence-wracked country.

The resolution was approved by 119 countries, with 36 abstaining -- including China, Myanmar's main ally. Only one country, Belarus, voted against it.

This came on the same day that the Security Council was holding informal talks on the situation in the Southeast Asian nation, where the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.

The resolution was not passed by consensus, as had been hoped, but rather through a vote, forcing all 193 UN countries to reveal their views.

Among the ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries, only four abstained: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

In a quirk of history, Myanmar's envoy to the world body, Kyaw Moe Tun, voted in favor of the text. He has passionately rejected the coup and brushed aside the junta's claims that he no longer represents Myanmar. The United Nations still considers him as the rightful envoy.

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"It is the broadest and most universal condemnation of the situation in Myanmar to date," said Olof Skoog, the European Union's ambassador to the UN.

"The EU is proud of the resolution just adopted by the UN General Assembly. It sends a strong and powerful message. It delegitimizes the military junta, condemns its abuse and violence against its own people and demonstrates its isolation in the eyes of the world," he said.

The resolution also calls for a restoration of democracy in Myanmar, and the release of all detained civilian leaders.

"We absolutely must create the conditions for democracy to be reinstated," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres before the vote on the resolution, hoping for a "very clear message" from the General Assembly.

The resolution also demands that the military "immediately stop all violence against peaceful demonstrators."

It asks for the implementation of a five-point plan drafted by ASEAN in April including the naming of an envoy from the bloc.

The text, co-sponsored by more than 50 countries, also calls on the junta to allow the UN envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, to visit the country, and for safe passage of humanitarian aid.