The Situation in Myanmar - Security Council, 9231st Meeting

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21-Dec-2022 00:36:32
Security Council demands immediate end to violence in Myanmar, urges restraint, release of arbitrarily detained prisoners, adopting Resolution 2669 (2022).

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The Security Council today called for the immediate end to all forms of violence in Myanmar and urged restraint, the de-escalation of tensions and the release of all prisoners.

Adopting resolution 2669 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2669(2022)) by a vote of 12 in favour to none against, with 3 abstentions (China, India, Russian Federation), the 15-member organ demanded an immediate end to all forms of violence throughout the country and urged restraint and the de-escalation of tensions. It also urged the Myanmar military to immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

By its terms, the Council reiterated its call to uphold democratic institutions and processes and pursue constructive dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of Myanmar’s people. All parties must respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, it urged while acknowledging the central role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis and encouraging the international community to support the ASEAN-led mechanism and process in this regard. It called for concrete and immediate actions to effectively and fully implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus — which called for an immediate cessation of violence and constructive dialogue among all parties, among other things — and requested that the Secretary-General or his Special Envoy on Myanmar provide an oral report to the organ by 15 March 2023 on the Organization’s support to that end.

Also by the text, the Council reiterated its support for the ASEAN Special Envoy’s efforts to engage intensively with all relevant parties in Myanmar with a focus on promoting fully inclusive and representative dialogue, encouraged close cooperation with the United Nations Special Envoy and urged all parties in Myanmar to work constructively with both Envoys to commence dialogue to seek a peaceful solution in the interests of that country’s people.

In reiterating the necessity for full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, the Council underlined the need for scaled-up humanitarian assistance to all people in need in Myanmar and to ensure the full protection, safety and security of humanitarian and medical personnel.

The Council also underscored the need to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State and create the conditions necessary for the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons. It encouraged diplomatic efforts between the parties concerned to help address the issues facing the Rohingya, further stressed the importance of providing continued protection and assistance to refugees and displaced persons, and decided to remain seized of the matter.

Following the adoption of the resolution, many Council members voiced their support for ASEAN with several commending the organ for its action as others voiced their concerns over the text’s nature and content.

Through this first resolution on the situation in Myanmar, the Council has responded to the calls of ASEAN leaders for support and sent a firm message to the military, the representative of the United Kingdom commended. It also sent a message to the people of Myanmar that it seeks progress in line with their rights, wishes and interests.

The Council must use this opportunity to seek additional ways to support the implementation of the ASEAN Five-Point Consensus and promote accountability for the regime’s actions, the United States’ speaker encouraged. Despite being a strong next step in addressing the military regime’s egregious behaviour, the Council did not go far enough and should have directly addressed the severe violations of the freedom of religion and belief. It could have also recognized and condemned the continued sale and transfer of arms to Myanmar, widespread sexual and gender-based violence and the importance of accountability mechanisms, his colleague from Ireland added.

The representative of the Russian Federation then spotlighted proposals which were ignored by the penholders to demonstrate the counterproductiveness of unilateral restrictive measures. Council members must not destabilize the situation on the ground and undermine ASEAN’s mediation efforts, he cautioned before turning his attention to the text’s lack of balance. Given the main focus on the human rights situation in Myanmar, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) would have been a better discussion forum, he suggested while noting that his country did not block the resolution.

Agreeing with his fellow Council member over the text’s imbalance, China’s speaker said it would have been more appropriate to adopt a presidential statement as he explained his country’s abstention.

The complex situation in Myanmar calls for quiet, patient diplomacy, the representative of India stressed in explanation of her country’s abstention. Any other course will not help resolve outstanding issues and may even entrench the parties in inflexible positions. The Council must carefully weigh its action and consider the interests of neighbouring countries most affected by instability in Myanmar, she urged.

Also speaking today were the representatives of France, Norway, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, Ireland, Brazil, Albania, Mexico and Gabon.

The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 3:39 p.m.

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