activists urge un security council to refer myanmar to court
THE UNITED NATIONS: On Monday, human rights activists urged the United Nations Security Council to refer Myanmar’s military rulers to the International Criminal Court and urged Southeast Asian neighbors to support the opposition’s pro-democracy movement.
Before a closed council meeting in Myanmar, the leaders of two women’s rights organizations spoke to reporters. Members heard briefings from the United Nations Special Envoy for Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, whose country chairs the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
May Sabe Phyu, director of the Gender Equality Network, a coalition of organizations promoting women’s rights in Myanmar, accused the Myanmar military of carrying out a “terror campaign” and committing “heinous acts” that constituted crimes against humanity. She suggested that the Security Council refer the junta’s actions to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.
Myanmar’s military has long been accused of violating human rights, most recently during a brutal counterinsurgency campaign against Rohingya Muslims in the western state of Rakhine in 2017. International courts are debating whether the crackdown constituted genocide.
The military deposed Myanmar’s elected civilian government in 2021 and then proceeded to suppress public opposition to the takeover violently. Some experts now consider Myanmar’s situation a civil war, with the army waging major offensives against widespread armed resistance.
In April 2021, ASEAN adopted a five-step consensus on restoring peace, to which Myanmar agreed but has yet to implement, resulting in Myanmar’s exclusion from some top-level ASEAN meetings since then.
In December, the Security Council passed its first resolution on Myanmar, urging its military rulers to release all “arbitrarily detained” prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and to restore democratic institutions. It is known as “respect human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.”
So , Human Right Activists urge UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to court
The activists demanded an arms embargo, public engagements with pro-democracy actors by the UN special envoy, and accountability for military crimes.
Phyu, who fled Myanmar after the takeover and is now based in the United States, asked the Security Council to put pressure on Myanmar’s neighbors to publicly support democratic forces, including the National Unity Government, which she claims has the support of Myanmar people.
She also chastised United Nations envoy Heyzer for meeting Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing but not publicly meeting pro-democracy groups such as the National Unity Government, which operates underground and claims to be the country’s legitimate government.
According to Naw Hser Hser, the head of the Women’s League of Burma, supporters of democracy feel abandoned by the international commuBefore
Before Monday’s council meeting, Britain’s United Nations Ambassador Barbara Woodward stated that the Security Council fully supports ASEAN and the five-point council but is now time for progress.
“The people of Myanmar have suffered for far too long,” said Woodward. “Myanmar is the world’s second-deadliest place for civilians, and the people of Myanmar simply cannot wait.”
After the council meeting, France’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Nathalie Broadhurst, told The Associated Press that Marsudi presented the implementation plan, which calls for action on all five points simultaneously rather than sequentially.
“They say they don’t want megaphone diplomacy,” Broadhurst added, hoping that the ASEAN effort will eventually lead to a national inclusive effort and end the “desperate situation” in Myanmar.
According to Brazil’s United Nations Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho, council members supported ASEAN, and some said the Security Council should be prepared for further action, but no new council action is expected “for the time being.”
The Security Council in New York has become increasingly divided as a result of a major schism among its five permanent members: China and Russia on one side, the United Kingdom, France, and the United States on the other.