Burma: UN chief calls for immediate end to repression

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Geneva | UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Monday called on the Burmese army which overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi to “immediately stop the crackdown”, when Europeans are due to discuss sanctions.

In his annual speech to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the UN chief named only one country: Burma.

“Today, I call on the Burmese army to immediately stop the repression. Free the prisoners. End the violence. Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed during the recent elections, ”asked Antonio Guterres, in a video pre-recorded and broadcast at the opening of the 46th session of the HRC.

“Coups d’etat have no place in our modern world,” he insisted.

However, the junta has so far ignored multiple international condemnations.

She even toughened her tone after a weekend of bloody violence by warning protesters they risked death, which failed to deter them from taking to the streets on Monday.

In Brussels, the Europeans should them, after the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada which have taken sanctions, adopt “appropriate decisions” at a meeting of foreign ministers.

On the ground, nearly three weeks after the February 1 putsch and Aung San Suu Kyi placed under house arrest on February 1 and placed her under house arrest, pro-democracy mobilization is not weakening.

“Brutal force”

Burmese security forces have shown their determination to suppress any protest movement, using tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse peaceful gatherings. Several people have died.

Waves of arrests of politicians, activists and strikers continue. Several hundred people were arrested, and very few released, according to an NGO providing assistance to political prisoners.

“We are witnessing the weakening of democracy, the use of brutal force, arbitrary arrests, repression in all its manifestations, the restriction of civic space, attacks on civil society” , lamented Antonio Guterres before the CDH.

He also pointed to “serious violations committed against people from minorities without accountability, including what has rightly been called ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population.”

“The list is still long” and “all this is combined in a real period of unrest”, he said, before expressing his support for the Burmese people “in their quest for democracy and peace and in their action. in favor of respect for human rights and the rule of law ”.

On February 12, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution calling for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi. China and Russia, traditional supporters of the Burmese army, distanced themselves from the consensus after the adoption of the text.