05/06/2021, 13.46
MYANMAR
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NGOs’ appeal to the UN: ‘Not another bullet to the junta’

by Francis Khoo Thwe

About 200 international NGOs are calling on the Security Council to impose an arms embargo. The junta's main suppliers, China and Russia, oppose the move. Ukraine, Turkey, India, Serbia, Israel, and Italy also sold weapons to Myanmar. South Korea halted its sales after the coup. In recent months, 769 people have been killed, including 50 children under six. More demonstrations are held against the junta in Yangon, Mandalay, Magway, and Tabayin.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – More than 200 international NGOs are asking the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on the country so that “Not another bullet [goes] to the junta”.

The NGOs call for immediate action to stop the killing of people engaged in peaceful protests against the coup.

The statement issued last night underscores that the military junta “has demonstrated a callous disregard for human life” from day one. Since 1 February, 769 people have been killed, including 50 children under six.

In addition, almost 4,000 activists, journalists, civil servants and politicians have been arrested and several hundred are missing. “No government should sell a single bullet to the junta under these circumstances,” the NGOs insist.

The UN Security Council has already issued several statements on the coup d'état in Myanmar, calling for a return to democracy, the release of political prisoners, and an end to the violence, but it has never been able to take action because of the vetoes imposed by China and Russia, and the contrary vote of some other states.

“The time for statements has passed,” the NGOs note. “The Security Council should take its consensus on Myanmar to a new level and agree on immediate and substantive action.”

According to several reports, China and Russia are among the largest arms suppliers to Myanmar's military junta. Moscow sells fighter jets and attack helicopters, whilst Beijing has been supplying fighter jets, naval weapons, armoured vehicles, and reconnaissance drones.

Other weapons have come from Ukraine, Turkey, India, Serbia and Israel. Italy has also been accused of selling bullets to the junta. South Korea has also supplied weapons, but after the coup it imposed a sales freeze.

Meanwhile, protests continue across the country against the junta and in favour of the new government of national unity. Students took to the streets in Yangon and Mandalay (picture 1).

In the latter, the local Monks’ union led a strike (picture 2). In Magway, in the centre of the country, “a human river”, as locals put it, rallied against “the terrorist leader” General Min Aung Hlaing and the military coup (picture 3).

In Tabayin (Sagaing Division), teachers, students and schoolchildren marched against education under the military regime, which tends to be “brainwashing”. Teachers want to continue the civil disobedience movement and keep schools closed (picture  4).

In several cities, security forces have arrested dozens of activists during night and morning raids.

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