July 29, 2021

UN General Assembly condemns coup in Burma and calls for “preventing influx of arms” into the country

The General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on Friday, June 18 adopted a non-binding resolution condemning the coup in Burma and calling for “All member states to prevent the influx of arms” in this country.

This text was approved by 119 states, 36 of which abstained – including China, Burma’s main supporter. Only one country, Belarus, which prevented adoption of the resolution by consensus (as its authors wanted) and imposed a public ballot, voted against.

Unlike approval by consensus, the ballot forced the 193 UN countries to reveal themselves. Among the ten countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which had participated in the negotiation on the text (at the origin of which we find Liechtenstein, and which is supported by the West), only four abstained: Brunei, current president of ASEAN, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

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Particularity of this election: Burma, represented by Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun, sacked after the February coup, but who is still in office and continues to challenge the junta, voted in favor of the text.

The UN General Assembly very rarely adopts resolutions condemning military coups or calling for limiting the weapons supplied to the target country.

“Create the conditions for the restoration of democracy”

“This is the broadest and most universal condemnation to date of the situation in Burma”, noted the Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the UN, Olof Skoog. “The EU is proud of the resolution just adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It sends a strong and powerful message. It delegitimizes the military junta, condemns its abuses and violence against its own people and demonstrates its isolation in the eyes of the world ”, he added.

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Almost daily demonstrations, economy paralyzed by massive strikes, resurgence of clashes between the army and rebel ethnic factions: Burma has been in turmoil since the putsch of 1is February, which ended a ten-year democratic parenthesis.

The protest movement has since been bloodily suppressed by the security forces, which in recent months have killed more than 860 civilians, including women and children, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners.

The head of the junta, Min Aung Hlaing, justified his seizure of power as being a reaction to supposed electoral fraud which would have occurred during the legislative elections of November 2020, won overwhelmingly by the National League for Democracy, Aung San party. Suu Kyi.

The resolution adopted on Friday also calls for a return to democracy in Burma and the release of its civilian leaders. “We absolutely must create the conditions for the restoration of democracy”, had insisted before the vote of the resolution the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, hoping that the General Assembly will have issued a “Very clear message”.

The resolution also calls for the implementation of a five-point plan devised in April by ASEAN, which includes the appointment of an envoy and urges the Burmese armed forces “To immediately stop all violence against peaceful demonstrators”.

The text, sponsored by more than fifty states, also requests the agreement of the junta for an on-site visit by the UN envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener, and unhindered humanitarian access to the country.

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The World with AFP