India, China and Russia abstain from UN resolution on Myanmar to release political prisoners

Resolution adopted by 15-member council with 12 members voting in favour

Sravasti Dasgupta
Friday 23 December 2022 09:42 GMT
Related video: Security Crackdown Continues In Myanmar

India, China and Russia abstained from voting on a draft resolution that demanded an end to violence in Myanmar at the United Nations Security Council.

The resolution on Wednesday was adopted by the 15-member council with 12 members voting in favour.

The council is under India’s presidency this month.

The resolution “urges” the junta to “immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners”, including Aung San Suu Kyi and ex-president Win Myint, reported AFP.

It also calls for “an immediate end to all forms of violence” and asks for “all parties to respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law”.

“Under the current circumstances, we are of the considered view that a UN Security Council resolution may entrench the parties in their inflexible positions rather than encourage them to pursue an inclusive political dialogue,” envoy Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent representative to the UN, was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.

She added that the all political leaders should be released.

“It is therefore important to carefully weigh actions by this Council. Quiet and constructive diplomacy is the desirable recourse to seeking constructive and enduring solutions in Myanmar,” she said.

The resolution is the first adopted by the council on Myanmar in 74 years.

The only other resolution was in 1948 when Myanmar got independence from Britain. The Council had recognised “the Union of Burma”, as the country was then called, and recommended to the General Assembly that it be given UN membership.

In subsequent years, the council failed to adopt a draft resolution after China and Russia cast their veto votes.

In 2018, an attempt was made by Britain to vote on the Rohingya crisis but was ultimately never held.

Ahead of the vote, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson said: “Any opportunity for the Security Council to speak with one strong, united voice on any issue and especially on Myanmar would be much welcomed.”

According to Louis Charbonneau, the UN’s director at Human Rights Watch, Russia and China’s abstentions signal that the Myanmar junta has lost its few friends in the council.

“China and Russia’s abstentions signal that even the junta’s few friends have lost interest in sticking out their necks to defend its atrocities,” the official said.

“The building blocks put in place with this resolution offer a starting point for reinvigorating pressure on the junta among Security Council members and governments across the globe.”

In February 2021, the Myanmar junta ousted the elected government led by Ms Suu Kyi and captured power.

Local rights groups have said the military’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters has killed more than 2,500 people.

Ms Suu Kyi has been found guilty by a junta court on every one of the 14 charges it has heard so far, including corruption, and jailed her for 26 years.

Last week, a UN committee again blocked Myanmar’s military junta from taking the country’s seat at the international organisation.

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