Russia, China, Vietnam and India ‘named as villains’ blocking UN action on Myanmar

At least 67 protesters have been killed by Myanmar’s security forces since 1 February

Mayank Aggarwal
Thursday 11 March 2021 13:08 GMT
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Myanmary’s military tightens its grip on power, targeting politicians and journalists

Countries that allegedly compelled the United Nations to remove language explicitly condemning the coup in Myanmar, watering down a text drafted by the UK, were called “villains” by human rights activists even as the UN Security Council (UNSC) asked the junta to show restraint.

Russia, China, Vietnam and India were lambasted for allegedly opposing United Nations action on Myanmar by Phil Robertson, who is the deputy Asia director of the non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Mr Robertson tweeted that “the people of #Burma should know that when it comes to UN Security Council inaction on #Myanmar’s military coup - these are the villains stopping any action. Russia, China, India, and Vietnam.”

The charge was denied by the Indian embassy in Myanmar which called such reports “mischievous and biased.”

“We have seen reports on social media about India’s role in deliberations on Myanmar in the UNSC. These reports are mischievous and biased. UNSC is seized of the matter and let us wait for the outcome. India’s position on the issue is well-known and has been clearly articulated,” the Indian embassy tweeted.

The Guardian reported that the text of the presidential statement, signed by all 15 members of the UNSC, was “weaker than the initial draft circulated by the United Kingdom” which would have “threatened possible measures under the UN Charter.”

Lethal action against pro-democracy protesters continued on Thursday and at least eight people were killed in the cities of Yangon, Myaing and Mandalay even as UNSC on Wednesday asked Myanmar’s military to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi, Win Myint and other political leaders.

At least 67 people have been killed since 1 February when the military removed the democratically-elected government in a coup and arrested Ms Suu Kyi, president Myint and several others.

On Thursday, Myanmar military’s brigadier general Zaw MinTun said Ms Suu Kyi had accepted illegal payments worth $600,000 and gold while she was in government while adding that the information has been verified and investigations are on. He also accused president Myint and several cabinet ministers of engaging in corruption.

In a statement on 10 March, the UNSC expressed its “deep concern” regarding events in Myanmar and condemned the violence against peaceful protestors. It asked the military to “exercise utmost restraint” while adding that they are closely following the situation.

The statement, however, doesn’t mention ‘coup’ due to opposition by China, India, Russia and Vietnam and also fails to call for strong action which some of its members wanted in the statement.

On Thursday, Myanmar military once again stated that it would only be in charge only for a certain period before holding the elections — something it has said before, without providing a date for polls.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of HRW, noted that Myanmar protesters are increasingly invoking the concept of R2P -- the responsibility to protect.

“We shouldn’t think of R2P as about only military intervention. The Myanmar people urgently need coordinated international pressure, but China blocks strong UN Security Council action,” he tweeted.

Though sanctions have already been imposed against Myanmar’s military leaders, they continue to remain defiant and have stated that they can live with them as they have in the past.

The protesters across the southeast Asian nation have defied lethal attacks by security forces, injuries and arrests to hit the streets seeking restoration of democracy and release of Miss Suu Kyi, who is under the house arrest since the coup, and other leaders.

Amnesty International has accused Myanmar’s forces of using lethal force against protesters, comparing it with extra-judicial executions. It said analysis of more than 50 videos show systematic and premeditated killings amid extensive deployment of battlefield weaponry such as semi-automatic rifles, sniper rifles, and light machine guns.

Additional reporting by agencies

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