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UN Security Council demands end to Myanmar violence

December 22, 2022

The resolution on Myanmar condemns the violence in the country and calls on the military regime to release all political prisoners. China, Russia and India abstained from the vote.

A protester holds an image of Aung San Suu Kyi outside the United Nations building in Bangkok on February 3, 2021, during a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar which saw civilian leader Suu Kyi being detained.
The adoption marked a moment of relative Council unity in a year in which divisions have been heightened by Russia's invasion of UkraineImage: Jack Taylor/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council adopted its first resolution on Myanmar on Wednesday, demanding an end to violence in the country.

"Today we've sent a firm message to the military that they should be in no doubt — we expect this resolution to be implemented in full," Barbara Wood, the British ambassador to the UN, said.

The resolution was introduced by the UK and called on Myanmar to uphold democratic institutions and release all political prisoners, including the country's deposed former leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

But China, Russia and India abstained on the resolution, which was the first to be adopted since the country formerly known as Burma joined the UN in 1948.

UN split on Myanmar crisis

The UN Security Council has long been split on how to deal with the crisis in Myanmar, where the military seized power in a coup last year and clamped down on peaceful protesters.

The military has detained thousands of political opponents ever since and the regime executed pro-democracy activists in July this year.

While the Council, which consists of 15 members, has repeatedly called for an immediate halt to violence in the country, friendly ties between the Southeast Asian nation and Russia and China have proved challenging to the cause.

Zhang Jun, China's ambassador to the UN told the Council that China had "concerns" and wanted the Council to adopt a formal statement on Myanmar, not a resolution.

"There is no quick fix to the issue… Whether or not it can be properly resolved in the end, depends fundamentally, and only, on Myanmar itself," Jun told the Council after the vote.

Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian ambassador to the UN, said Moscow didn't think the crisis in Myanmar was a threat to international peace and security and believed that it should not dealt with by the Council.

rm/jsi (Reuters, AP)