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UN rights body adopts resolution calling for release of detained Myanmar leaders

UNHRC

Assess the current human rights situation in Myanmar, and to provide updates in their reports to the Human Rights Council, and called upon Myanmar authorities to engage and cooperate with United Nations human rights mechanisms,

New York, February 13: The UN’s top human rights body passed a resolution Friday urging military leaders in Myanmar to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian government leaders detained after a military coup, as the initial draft text was watered down amid pressure led by China and Russia.

 “In a resolution on the human rights implications of the crisis in Myanmar, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council deplored the removal of the Government democratically elected by the people of Myanmar in the general election held on 8 November 2020, and the suspension of mandates of members of all parliaments, and called for the restoration of the democratically elected Government,” the UNHRC said in a statement.

The Council also urgently called for the immediate and unconditional release of all persons arbitrarily detained following the coup, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint among others and the lifting of the state of emergency, while stressing the need to refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. 

In a special session at the Human Rights Council, the original resolution presented by Britain and and Austria on behalf of the European Union (EU) was revised to remove calls to bolster the ability of a UNHRC to scrutinize Myanmar and for restraint from the country’s military. The UNHRC further requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar to assess the current human rights situation in Myanmar, and to provide updates in their reports to the Human Rights Council, and called upon Myanmar authorities to engage and cooperate with United Nations human rights mechanisms, according to the statement.

Speaking in explanation of vote were China, Russian Federation, Venezuela, Bolivia and the Philippines.

Before the Council adopted the resolution, it continued its general debate, in which speakers said that censorship had been tightened in Myanmar and security forces had cracked down violently against peaceful protesters, in violation of international standards. 

Noting that the military had blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, the speakers warned that further internet cuts could allow the military to commit more human rights violations and asserted that State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders should be immediately released, as should all those who were arbitrarily detained.

Myanmar’s military overthrew the democratically elected government of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in a coup on Feb 1, alleging voter fraud in November 2020 elections that saw the NLD securing a resounding victory.

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