UN human rights experts call for sanctions, arms embargo on Myanmar junta
UN human rights experts today expressed concern over the condition of rights defenders in Myanmar, and called for a stronger international response to the military coup, including coordinated sanctions and an arms embargo on the junta by forming an "emergency coalition of nations".
The brute force terror campaign that is being witnessed in Myanmar continues to be directed towards human rights defenders, said Mary Lawlor, UN special rapporteur. And Tom Andrews, UN special rapporteur lamented on the situation of human rights in Myanmar in a statement.
The experts highlighted credible information they had received concerning the human rights defenders in Myanmar being forced into hiding after having arrest warrants issued against them.
Their homes were raided, their possessions seized, and family members threatened and harassed. Many others, unable to flee, have been arbitrarily arrested, including labour rights defenders and student activists, the statement said.
Even lawyers representing people detained following the coup have themselves been detained, as have journalists covering the protests.
"For years, human rights defenders have been doing essential work promoting human rights in the country," Lawlor said.
"Since the coup, and despite enforced internet blackouts along with difficulties accessing basic resources, especially for defenders forced into hiding or living in rural areas, they have been documenting the mass violations being perpetrated by the military. As a result, they have been targeted," the expert said.
"The people of Myanmar appreciate expressions of concern from the international community, but what they desperately need is action. Nations must stand with and for the besieged people of Myanmar who are being held hostage by an illegal military junta," said Andrews.
"It is time for strong, focused and coordinated action that includes economic sanctions and an arms embargo against the junta," Andrews added.
Women have played a leading role in the protest and civil disobedience movement that has emerged in the country in response to the military's seizure of the state apparatus in February, and the experts expressed particular concern on the situation of women human rights defenders in the country.
"Their bravery in continuing to speak out against the human rights violations being perpetrated by the military against the country's population, coming as it does in the face of threats of gender-based violence and massive risks for their safety, is astonishing," said Lawlor.
"Female human rights defenders are particularly at risk in remote rural areas and are often beaten and kicked before being sent to prison where they can face torture and sexual violence with no medical care provided," Lawlor added.
Over 892 men and women have been killed since the coup. "A more determined, unified international solidarity with human rights defenders in Myanmar is required to avoid further attacks," Andrews also said.