Myanmar migrants in Thailand protesting against the military coup in front of the United Nations ESCAP building in Bangkok on March 7, 2021. (AFP)

UN resolution calls for reconciliation in Myanmar


The UN Human Rights Council on Monday adopted a resolution condemning human rights violations by Myanmar’s military against the Rohingya and other minorities, and called for a process of reconciliation.

The resolution, brought forward by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, was approved without a vote in the Geneva-based council.

China, one of the 47 council members, said it could not join the consensus but nonetheless did not insist on bringing the text to a vote.

“Unfortunately, the humanitarian and human rights situation of Rohingya Muslims remains dire, and therefore requires a collective call by the council asking Myanmar to immediately halt human rights violations, and to uphold their fundamental rights,” said Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva.

The text itself calls for a “constructive and peaceful dialogue and reconciliation, in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar, including Rohingya Muslims and other ethnic minorities”.

It also voices “unequivocal support for the people of Myanmar and their democratic aspirations and for the democratic transition in Myanmar”.

The resolution calls for the immediate cessation of fighting and hostilities, of the targeting of civilians and of all violations of humanitarian and rights laws.

It voices “grave concern” at continuing reports of serious human rights violations and abuses, including of arbitrary arrests, deaths in detention, torture, forced labour and “the deliberate killing and maiming of children”.

Thomas Andrews, the UN’s special rapporteur on the rights situation in Myanmar, told the Human Rights Council last week that the military had carried out crimes against humanity since taking control, and slammed the international community for failing to “end this nightmare”.

He decried the “widespread, systematic attacks against the people” since the coup five months ago.

Myanmar has experienced mass protests and a brutal military response since the coup.

UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet told the council last week that the situation in the country had “evolved from a political crisis to a multi-dimensional human rights catastrophe”.

“Suffering and violence throughout the country are devastating prospects for sustainable development, and raise the possibility of state failure or a broader civil war,” she warned.

Since the coup, nearly 900 people have been killed, while about 200,000 have been forced to flee their homes, according to UN numbers.

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