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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Investigator Calls for Myanmar's Generals to be Restrained

By Lisa Schlein July 08, 2021

A United Nations investigator is calling for international coordinated action to stem abuse by Myanmar's military leaders against its people. In a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, the U.N. special rapporteur lists measures for bringing the country's generals into compliance with international human rights norms.

Human rights investigator Tom Andrews accuses the international community of failing the people of Myanmar.

In an impassioned speech to the U.N. council, he presented documented evidence of widespread, systematic attacks by the military junta against the people of Myanmar.

Since the Junta's overthrow of the country's democratically elected government five months ago, he says military forces have killed about 900 people. He says they have forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands, tortured many and arbitrarily detained nearly 6,000 people.

"Some in Myanmar have lost hope that help from the international community will be forthcoming and have instead sought to defend themselves through the formation of defense forces and acts of sabotage, while some are reportedly targeting suspected junta collaborators and officials — and the junta's pattern of the use of grossly disproportionate force in response will likely lead to an even greater loss of life," he said.

Andrews says the people of Myanmar desperately need the support of the international community to end this nightmare, yet he says little action has been taken beyond international protestations of condemnation, the imposition of sanctions by some nations and resolutions by U.N. bodies.

The U.N. investigator is calling for the establishment of a so-called Emergency Coalition for the People of Myanmar. The plan proposes a series of five key measures he says would impose significant costs on the junta.

First and foremost, he asserts cutting off the junta's source of income could reduce its ability to attack its citizens. Therefore, he is calling on nations to impose economic sanctions on Myanmar's oil and gas industry.

"Oil and gas sector revenues are a financial lifeline for the junta and are estimated to be close to what is needed for the junta to maintain the security forces that are keeping them in power," he said. "They should be stopped. Second, an Emergency Coalition for the People of Myanmar could outlaw the export of arms to Myanmar military, as called for in last month's General Assembly resolution."

The plan also calls for the pursuit of universal jurisdiction cases and filing charges against Myanmar's senior security officials. Other measures include ensuring that humanitarian aid goes directly to the people of Myanmar, and the denial of any claims of legitimacy by the junta, such as the false claim that it is recognized by the United Nations.

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