UN renews call for arms embargo against Myanmar military

Military junta functioning as criminal enterprise, says UN special rapporteur on Myanmar Tom Andrews.

UN renews call for arms embargo against Myanmar military

The UN on Tuesday renewed the call for an arms embargo against Myanmar’s military, which took power in the Southeast Asian country a year ago.

Urging the world to take a stronger course of action, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar called for more robust course of international action "before it's too late."

"The international community must take strong, meaningful steps to cut the junta's access to weapons, funds, and legitimacy," Tom Andrews said.

On Feb. 1, 2021, Myanmar's military seized power, arrested leaders and officials of the then-ruling National League for Democracy party, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and declared a state of emergency.

Suu Kyi faces numerous cases, and was sentenced to six years imprisonment for charges that include violating coronavirus restrictions and possessing “illegally imported” walkie-talkies.

The military takeover has triggered mass protests and a crackdown on dissent with more than 1,500 civilians killed, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a local monitoring group.

Andrews reiterated the urgent need for the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the Myanmar military, and stressed the need to significantly increase financial pressure on the junta.

"The fact that one year has elapsed with no Security Council Resolution imposing a comprehensive arms embargo — as arms continue to flow to the junta and kill innocent people — is unacceptable," he said. "The people of Myanmar deserve better from the United Nations."

Andrews said he would soon release a report that identifies the weapons that continue to flow into the arsenal of the junta and where they are from.

"The military junta is functioning as a criminal enterprise, committing murder, torture, abductions, forced displacement, all the while stealing the revenue and seizing the assets that rightfully belong to the people of Myanmar," he said. "What is worse, they appear to be getting away with it. Their attacks continue unabated. The suffering of the Myanmar people is steadily increasing."

In a separate tweet, Andrews said that as millions in Myanmar mark the one-year anniversary of the coup with a "silent strike," the rest of us should be raising our voices for a "stronger, more responsible international response" to a junta that is "stealing a nation's future."