Sunday, Aug 14, 2022

UN Assembly Passes Resolution For An Arms Embargo On Myanmar As India Abstains From Voting

The UN General Assembly on Monday condemned the Myanmar military for staging a coup in the country on February and urged it to respect ‘the people’s will’

Anti-coup protesters walk through a market with images of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi at Kamayut township in Yangon, Myanmar. AP/PTI Photo

The UN General Assembly on Friday condemned the Myanmar military for staging a coup in February as it called for an arms embargo against the country amid widespread international opposition to the junta.

Belarus had called for a vote in the 193-member world body on the resolution on Friday, during which 119 countries voted “yes”, Belarus voted “no” and 36 countries including India abstained from voting.

The UN resolution calls upon the Myanmar military to “respect the people's will as freely expressed by results of the general election of November 8, 2020, to end the state of emergency, to respect all human rights of people of Myanmar and to allow the sustained democratic transition of Myanmar, including the opening of the democratically elected parliament, and by working towards bringing all national institutions, including the armed forces, under a fully inclusive civilian government that is representative of the people's will".

In its explanation of vote, India said, "We find that our views have not been reflected in the draft being considered for adoption today. We would like to reiterate that a consultative and constructive approach involving the neighbouring countries and the region, remains important as the international community strives for the peaceful resolution of the issue.”

"The fact that there is lack of support from all neighbouring countries as well as several countries in the region itself should, hopefully, serve as an eye-opener to those who choose to pursue a hasty course of action," India said, adding that it does not believe that the tabling of this resolution for adoption at this juncture, is "conducive to aiding our joint efforts towards strengthening democratic process in Myanmar".

"We are therefore constrained to abstain," India said.

The resolution was the result of lengthy negotiations by a so-called Core Group including the European Union and many Western nations and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations known as ASEAN, which includes Myanmar. A UN diplomat said there was an agreement with ASEAN to seek consensus, but in the vote its members were divided with some including Indonesia and Vietnam voting “yes” and others including Thailand and Laos, abstaining.

The resolution didn't get the overwhelming support its backers wanted. But the action by the General Assembly, while not legally binding, reflects international condemnation of the February 1 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's party from power and put her under arrest along with many government leaders and politicians, as well as strong opposition to the military crackdown on protesters demanding an end to the army's takeover.

(With AP and PTI inputs)