UNSC Wants Release Of Myanmar Civilian Leaders, Mass Protests In Yangon Against Military Coup

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called upon the Myanmar military to release all civilian leaders, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Mynt, who were arrested during the February 1 seizure of power by the armed forces.

A large-scale protest is being organized in Yangon on Saturday, the biggest show of dissent so far against the country’s military.

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The move is significant as the UNSC statement was supported by China and Russia, both of whom maintain good relations with the Southeast Asian nation, according to The Irrawaddy. 

“The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at the declaration of the state of emergency imposed in Myanmar by the military on 1 February and the arbitrary detention of members of the Government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and others. They called for the immediate release of all those detained,” read a press statement issued by President Barbara Woodward.

The Security Council also emphasized “the need for the continued support of the democratic transition in Myanmar”.  

“They stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law. They encouraged the pursuance of dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar,” the statement read.

Earlier, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had called the coup “absolutely unacceptable”. Tom Andrews, the UN representative to monitor human rights in Myanmar, urged the international community to show resolve in denouncing the military’s actions, to take decisive actions including strong targeted sanctions, and to ensure that those responsible for the country’s past human rights violations are held accountable.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Myanmar military, called Tatmadaw, imposed a social media blackout. They blocked access to Twitter and Instagram amid a nationwide shutdown of the internet, according to NetBlocks that monitors internet outages around the world.

On February 5, thousands of government employees across Myanmar joined what was termed as civil disobedience movement against the coup staged by Tatmadaw. They urged that Parliament be convened with the members democratically elected in the November 8 general election.

The Eurasian Times had reported how Tatmadaw has been at loggerheads with the Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) over last year’s election results. While the NLD won the polls, the Army had sought a thorough investigation into what it called large-scale election frauds.

The military had on February 1 declared a nationwide state of emergency for one year under Article 417 of the 2008 Constitution.

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