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As with Ukraine, a coalition should pressure Myanmar's junta, UN expert says

As with Ukraine, a coalition should pressure Myanmar's junta, UN expert says

The sun shines behind the United Nations Secretariat Building at the United Nations Headquarters from Jan 1, 2022, in New York City, on Jun 18, 2021. (Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)

UNITED NATIONS: Russian weapons being used in Ukraine are also killing people in Myanmar, an independent UN expert said on Wednesday (Oct 26), urging countries to form a coalition - just as they have on Moscow over Ukraine - to target and pressure Myanmar's military government.

Myanmar has been in crisis since the army ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government in February 2021, detaining her and other officials and launching a bloody crackdown on protests and other dissent.

The UN Security Council has long been split on Myanmar, with diplomats saying China and Russia would likely shield the junta from strong action. So the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said a coalition of countries should instead target the junta with sanctions and an arms embargo.

"The international community should be coordinating their efforts to target them, and then work together to implement these measures," Andrews told reporters in New York. "It's not being done now. Not because we don't know how to do it. We know how to do it. If you want a playbook, look at Ukraine."

The United States and European allies have coordinated their implementation of sanctions on Russia since Moscow invaded neighbouring Ukraine on Feb 24.

"Some of the very types of weapons that are being used to kill people in Ukraine are being used to kill the people of Myanmar. And they come from the very same source - they come from Russia," Andrews said.

After Andrews briefed the UN General Assembly human rights committee earlier on Wednesday, Russia's Deputy UN Ambassador Gennady Kuzmin questioned his report, saying it was "often not corroborated by facts".

"It's not up to you to say whose weapons are killing civilians, elderly people, women, children around the world. You have been appointed the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, so deal with Myanmar instead of Ukraine," Kuzmin told the committee.

Britain last month proposed a draft UN Security Council resolution to the 15-member body that would demand an end to all violence in Myanmar, threaten UN sanctions and call on the junta to release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi. A revised draft was circulated to the council this week.

It was not immediately clear when there could be a vote. To pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by China, Russia, the United States, France or Britain.

Andrews also slammed Malaysia for deporting dozens of Myanmar nationals, saying they "will be facing, in my opinion, torture and most probably execution". Malaysian authorities have not responded to requests for comment.

"I'd frankly be surprised if they're alive right now," Andrews told reporters. "This is outrageous. It is unacceptable, and it is a gross violation of international law."

Source: Reuters/ec


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