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Activists calls for sanctions in wake of Myanmar coup

12:56 25 February 2021 Author :  

A group defending human rights in Myanmar is calling on the UN is to impose an embargo on the Southeast Asian country to stop its military from using weapons against the public.

“The international community must strongly sanction military officials and military-owned companies, and impose a global arms embargo,” said a statement by the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN), using another name for Myanmar.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Kyaw Win, the group’s executive director, touted the effectiveness of a non-violent civil disobedience movement (or CDM for short) in the country’s current situation.

“At least 70% of government employees and workforce joined the CDM movement. So I think this is getting stronger and stronger every day,” he said. “We hope that one day this will severely cripple the military rule.”

He added that they learned from previous mistakes as in a 1988 uprising, when nationwide pro-democracy protests were held in Myanmar but ended up with a military crackdown.

“Every night, government troops and security forces are raiding employees’ residences and houses to arrest them to take them to their jobs,” he said about the current situation, and called on the international community to support the resistance of Myanmar’s people.

‘Targeting their own people’

Win said the first step they expect from the UN is to impose an embargo on Myanmar, adding that the country's military is using its weapons not to protect the sovereignty of the country but to commit genocide, war crimes, and crime against humanity.

“They are using them against their own people,” he added.

Adding that a few days ago a 16-year-old humanitarian worker was shot dead by snipers in Mandalay city, he asked: “How could they become so ruthless as to use a sniper to target his head in such a way?”

He called the shooting “uncivilized and cruel.”

“Also the military equipment or any technologies, any items that are converted or indirectly can be used in the military and the security forces, also should be banned,” he stressed.

“The UN should impose targeted sanctions on the military and economic interests of the military and their money in Singapore, in Vietnam, in China, in Asian countries, in Western countries as well.”

Telling how the people of Myanmar are “risking their life to stand up against the ruthless regime,” Win said they “desperately need support” from the international community and especially the UN.

Although Win said the people of Myanmar know there will be violence and crackdown, they will continue protesting.

‘Misled on Rohingya issue’

He also accused Myanmar’s military regime of misleading the international community by telling them they will bring back the Muslim Rohingya people, about a million of whom fled the country in response to a 2017 genocidal campaign.

“Look who they appointed to the government,” Win said.

“They appointed all the dangerous people, those who hate Muslims and were involved in anti-Muslim pogroms and killing of Muslims in 2012 and 2013. Now they’re taking high positions in the government in the military,” he stressed.

He said that people from different sides, including Muslims and the Rohingya, stand together against the military regime at a time of urgency.

He added: “There are many young people coming out with posters, saying ‘We’re sorry to the Rohingya, we regret that we didn't stand up with you’.”

He again urged the international community: “Please do not accept or recognize this military illegal government.”​​​​​​​

This week the Burmese Rohingya Community in the UK called on the international community to impose sanctions against Myanmar’s military and stand by the people of Myanmar who are resisting the military coup.

In a written statement this Tuesday, the Burmese Rohingya Organization UK said: “We support the General Strike on Monday 22/02/2021. We urgently call on military leaders to immediately end violence against protesters by police or military forces.”

Military takeover

Myanmar's military declared a state of emergency on Feb. 1, hours after detaining de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and senior members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).

The coup took place hours before the country's new parliament was set to convene following November elections in which the NLD made sweeping gains.

The military claimed it launched the coup due to "election fraud" resulting in the NLD’s dominance.

Shortly after the Feb. 1 coup, the junta declared martial law imposing a nightly curfew and a ban on gatherings of five or more people.

However, the junta has failed to quell popular protests by the people and a civil disobedience campaign initiated by government officials against military rule./aa

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