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Security Council Calls For Release Of Aung San Suu Kyi, Pledging ‘continued Support’ For Myanmar’s Democratic Transition


UN
Photo/Rick Bajornas | Aung San Suu Kyi,
General Secretary of the National League for Democracy of
Myanmar, addresses a meeting at the United Nations in New
York. (file)

The UN
Security
Council
issued a press
statement
on Thursday expressing
“deep concern” over the military takeover in Myanmar,
calling for the immediate release of the country’s elected
leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and President Win
Myint.

Security
Council
members “emphasized the need for the continued
support of the democratic transition” inside the country,
after a military junta was installed on Monday ending five
years of civilian rule, announcing that it was taking power
for the period of a year before fresh elections.

A day
earlier, the Council was reportedly unable to agree on the
wording of a statement, after text under consideration was
blocked by permanent member China.

Release all
detainees

Thursday’s statement calls for the
“immediate release of all those detained”, and stresses
“the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes,
refrain from violence, and fully respect human rights,
fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.

On
Wednesday, Ms. Suu Kyi was charged with the illegal
possession of walkie-talkies, which were allegedly imported
illegally, and remanded in custody. The military leadership
has accused the democratically elected government of failing
to investigate voter fraud allegations in recent elections
that gave the governing National League for Democracy, a
large majority.

The 15-member body is encouraging
“the pursuance of dialogue and reconciliation in
accordance with the will and interests of the people of
Myanmar.”

Facebook blocked

The statement
also expresses concern at the restrictions that have been
put in place on civil society, journalists and other media
workers, as well as calling for humanitarian access to
“all people in need, including through the
re-establishment of UN relief flights.”

Myanmar’s
military rulers reportedly blocked access to Facebook across
the country on Thursday, for several days, which news
reports suggest is used by around half of Myanmar’s 54
million citizens, as a primary source of information. The
social media giant has issued a statement urging the
authorities to restore connectivity.

‘Root causes’ in
Rakhine

The Council statement also reiterates the
need to address “the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine
State”, which saw hundreds of thousands of mainly-Muslim
Rohigya flee for their lives following a brutal military
crackdown in 2017.

The statement calls on conditions
to be established for “the safe, voluntary, sustainable,
and dignified return of displaced persons.”

“The
members of the Security Council reaffirmed their strong
commitment to the sovereignty, political independence,
territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar”, the statement
concluded.

Takeover ‘absolutely unacceptable’ –
Guterres

In remarks on Wednesday during a discussion
hosted online by the Washington Post, UN Secretary-General
António Guterres, said the UN would work to mobilize the
international community “to make sure that this coup
fails.”

“It is absolutely unacceptable after
elections — elections that I believe took place normally.
And after a large period of transition, it is absolutely
unacceptable to reverse the result of the elections and the
will of the people”.

“I hope that democracy will
be able to make progress again in Myanmar”, said the UN
chief. “But for that, all the prisoners must be released,
the constitutional order must be re-established, and I hope
that the international community will be able to come
together.”

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