U.N. Security Council steps up pressure on Myanmar

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UNITED NATIONS, Nov 7 (APP):The United Nations Security Council has stepped up pressure on Myanmar by unanimously adopting a presidential statement demanding an end to the violent treatment of the country’s Rohingya Muslim community.
In a statement read out by Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi of Italy, the President of the Security Council for the month of November, the 15-member body on Monday also called on the Government “to restore civilian administration and apply the rule of law, and to take immediate steps in accordance with [the Government’s] obligations and commitments to respect human rights, including the rights of women, children, and persons belonging to vulnerable groups, without discrimination and regardless of ethnicity, religion, or citizenship status.”
The Council also urged the Government to implement measures in line with its resolution 2106 (2013) to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence, and encouraged it to work with the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
The Council also expressed concern over severely limited humanitarian access to the affected parts of the region and demanded that the Government ensure immediate, safe and unhindered access to UN and other humanitarian actors, and ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel.
In the Presidential Statement, the Security Council also welcomed the Myanmar’s decision to establish a “Union Enterprise Mechanism” and urged the Government to ensure that the Mechanism supported such return and allowed United Nations agencies full access.
Further, welcoming the Government’s support for recommendations by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State and calling for their full implementation, the Council stressed the importance of transparent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses and violations, including sexual violence and abuse and violence against children, and of holding to account all those responsible for such acts.
“In this regard, the Security Council calls upon the Government of Myanmar to cooperate with all relevant United Nations bodies, mechanisms and instruments, in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,” added the Presidential Statement.
Also in the Statement, the Council commended the provision of humanitarian assistance and support for dialogue by Bangladesh as well as other regional countries and organizations; and requested the Secretary-General to continue to engage with the Myanmar through good offices.
It also encouraged the UN chief “to consider, as appropriate, appointing a Special Adviser on Myanmar.”
Britain initially circulated a Security Council resolution with similar language, backed by the U.S., France and other council members. But resolutions are legally binding and diplomats said China, a neighbor and ally of Myanmar, was strongly opposed. China is one of the five countries that have veto power on the council.
So Britain and France turned the resolution into a presidential statement, which becomes part of the council’s record but does not have the legal clout of a resolution.
Myanmar’s UN ambassador, Hau Do Suan, expressed deep concern at the statement, saying it was “based on accusations and falsely claimed evidence.”
“It exerts undue political pressure on Myanmar,” Suan said. “It fails to give sufficient recognition to the government of Myanmar for its efforts to address the challenges in Rakhine State.”
By contrast, Bangladeshi Ambassador Masud Bin Momen thanked the council for the statement, saying:”It will be quite reassuring for the Rohingyas and other communities forcibly displaced from northern Rakhine State since Aug. 25 that the council remains engaged with their prolonged suffering, insecurity and uncertainty.”