New York – A growing trend of coordinated action by UN Member States, including sanctions targeting key financial institutions and jet fuel, is offering a glimmer of hope for a more effective approach to weaken the military junta responsible for driving Myanmar deeper into a dire human rights and humanitarian crisis. This statement was made by Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, during his address to the General Assembly’s Third Committee in New York.
“The junta continues to attack the people of Myanmar with the relentless bombing of villages, hospitals, schools, and camps for internally displaced persons. But, non-Myanmar nationals are also being victimized by transnational criminal enterprises, including scam operations, that are flourishing on the border,” said Andrews.
In his report to the UN General Assembly, Andrews highlighted the junta’s horrifying attacks against civilians, including reports of mass killings, beheadings, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, forced labor, and the use of human shields by junta forces. These actions have given rise to massive humanitarian needs, which have been exacerbated by the junta’s deliberate obstruction of the delivery of lifesaving aid. The report also pointed out that Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have endured drastic cuts in food rations while facing the threat of coercive repatriation back into the hands of the same military forces that forced them over the border through genocidal attacks.
“Junta leaders would like the world to believe that only they can restore peace and stability in Myanmar. The opposite is true. The junta is an agent of chaos and violence, creating a vacuum of governance in the country that is increasingly impacting Myanmar’s neighbors and the international community,” Andrews emphasized.
While condemning the actions of Member States that supply the junta with arms and provide other forms of material or diplomatic support, Andrews praised the positive actions taken by governments to deprive the junta of weapons, money, and legitimacy.
“Sanctions targeting aviation fuel and key financial institutions relied on by the junta are potent measures that could help alleviate the suffering of the people of Myanmar and push the country back towards the path to democracy,” the Special Rapporteur said.
Some of Myanmar’s neighbors have boycotted diplomatic and defense summits attended by junta officials and denounced the junta’s plans to hold fraudulent elections, according to Andrews.
“The international community must build on the momentum created by these positive developments through a working coalition of States that are committed to human rights and engaging in coordinated actions that add up to a powerful whole,” he said. “The people of Myanmar deserve no less.”
The collective efforts of UN Member States in curbing the military junta’s power in Myanmar, as well as the resolve to protect the rights and dignity of the nation’s people, provide a ray of hope amidst the ongoing crisis. The global community’s continued focus on the situation in Myanmar serves as a reminder that the world must not lose sight of the suffering and human rights violations that persist in the region.