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UN Security Council demands end to violence and release of political prisoners in Burma

The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on Dec. 21 calling for the end of all violence in Burma and urged the military junta to immediately release all political prisoners, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. The UN Security Council adopted the resolution with 12 members voting in favor, none voting against, with India, China and Russia abstaining. It called for swift implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Five-Point Consensus.

“It sends a strong message from the international community that the regime must end its violence across the country, release arbitrarily detained prisoners, allow unhindered humanitarian access, protect members of minority groups, and respect the will and democratic aspirations of the people of Burma,” stated Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State. “Today we have sent a firm message to the military, that they should be in no doubt: we expect this resolution to be implemented, in full,” stated Barbara Woodward, the U.K. Permanent Representative to the UN.

Burma’s National Unity Government (NUG) expressed its approval. “This resolution is very good. but we would like to see a stronger text and stronger action. However, this is only a first step,” said U Kyaw Zaw, the spokesperson for the NUG President’s Office. Representatives from Burma’s civil society were not so eager to praise the UN Security Council resolution. Several pointed out that it did not call for measures initially included in the draft resolution calling for sanctions and an arms embargo against the junta.

“We are deeply disappointed that the long-awaited resolution falls short of substantive measures. There must be stronger action to stop the junta’s war and terror campaign against the people of Myanmar and committing atrocity crimes.” said Khin Ohmar, founder of Progressive Voice. “The imposition of a global arms embargo should have been a no-brainer first step by the UN Security Council, but the supply of arms doesn’t even get a mention in the Resolution,” said Mark Farmaner, director of Burma Campaign UK. This is the first resolution passed by the UN Security Council on Burma since the country gained independence in 1948.

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