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UN Security Council adopts long-awaited resolution on Myanmar crisis

The United Nations Security Council has adopted a long-awaited resolution to the crisis in Myanmar. The Council called for Myanmar’s junta to release Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a famous political prisoner whose democratically-elected party was ousted from power by the military in February 2021. The 15-member council has been divided on the situation in Myanmar for decades and has previously only agreed on formal statements concerning the country.

According to The Irrawaddy, the coup last year saw violent crackdowns on dissent that are ongoing at present. The resolution passed yesterday and urges the junta to “immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners.” Those prisoners include Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.

The resolution also demands an “immediate end to all forms of violence” and asks for “all parties to respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman issued a statement before the resolution’s vote.

“Any opportunity for the Security Council to speak with one strong, united voice on any issue and especially on Myanmar, would be much welcomed.”

The resolution comes as the UN has faced division between members over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It was adopted with 12 votes in favour, while China, India, and Russia abstained, but did not wield vetoes following amendments to the resolution’s wording.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the resolution sends a “strong message” from the world that the junta “must end its violence across the country” and free such political prisoners.

“While we applaud the adoption of this resolution, the council still has much more work to do to advance a just solution to the crisis.”

He then called for greater efforts to restore democracy in the country.

The new resolution calls for the secretary-general of Myanmar, or his envoy, to report back to the UN by March 15, 2023, in coordination with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The junta’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters has allegedly killed more than 2,500 people, according to a local monitoring group.

ASEAN also made news today as Indonesia’s chair takeover could see Myanmar’s military brought to justice if a constitutional amendment is passed. That amendment would effectively change the wording in the constitution from only Indonesian citizens being subject to prosecution for human rights violations to all citizens being subject to prosecution.

Thailand also has reportedly invited ASEAN members to join a non-official meeting over the situation in Myanmar. However, official reports of the meeting have not been announced.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.