UN General Assembly mulling resolution on Myanmar: diplomats

By: AFP      Published: 09:41 PM, 22 Apr, 2021
UN General Assembly mulling resolution on Myanmar: diplomats

The UN General Assembly is debating a draft resolution on Myanmar that calls on the junta to restore democracy following a coup and free detained civilian leaders, diplomats said Thursday.

Leaders and foreign ministers from the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to hold talks in Jakarta on the mounting crisis on Saturday.

The sponsors of the text are waiting for the meeting to finish so they can "see how it goes" before committing to a vote, said a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity.

Security forces in Myanmar have killed at least 741 people -- including 52 children, according to UN figures -- since the February 1 military coup ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Myanmar military has stepped up the use of lethal force as it seeks to quell mass protests against the junta, with an estimated 250,000 people now displaced.

Unlike with the Security Council, a resolution from the General Assembly would not be binding. But it would ramp up international pressure on the junta.

The draft, seen by AFP, calls on the military in Myanmar "to respect the will of the people," to "end the state of emergency" and "allow the sustained democratic transition of Myanmar."

It also urges the junta immediately to release Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and others who were arrested.

The text does not explicitly condemn the coup, however.

It calls on the armed forces to immediately "stop all violence against the people of Myanmar" and let the UN special envoy for the country visit.

Several NGOs want an arms embargo imposed on the junta, and the draft seeks "an immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment to Myanmar."

Since the coup, the Security Council has passed three statements on Myanmar but each time under pressure from China -- an ally of Myanmar -- the final wording ended up being watered down.

The council has yet to call for any powerful action like sanctions or an arms embargo.