Progressive Voice, a Myanmar-based civil society organization, has released a new Factsheet highlighting the escalating atrocity crimes committed by the Myanmar military junta since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) resolution on 21 December 2022.
The Factsheet serves as a reminder that urgent action is needed to address the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, including the imposition of a global arms embargo, targeted sanctions, and a referral of the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or the establishment of an ad hoc tribunal.
The military junta staged an illegal coup on 1 February 2021, and since then, it has committed widespread human rights violations and atrocity crimes.
The military has massacred innocent civilians, bombed and burned villages, engaged in unlawful arrests, torture, beatings, and sexual violence. It has systematically cut off access to basic freedoms and essential supplies, including much-needed humanitarian aid.
According to the Factsheet, at least 3,120 people have been killed by the junta, while 145 people have been sentenced to death. Over 20,000 people, including 549 children, have been arrested, and more than 55,000 homes have been burned down by the Myanmar military.
Despite repeated calls from civil society and human rights actors, the international community has been slow to take concrete action.
The UNSC finally passed a resolution on Myanmar in December 2022, but it has been criticized for its lack of political might.
Progressive Voice points out that the resolution fails to invoke Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which would enable the UNSC to take more forceful action with respect to threats to peace and security in the region and around the world.
It further notes that the December 2022 resolution also fails to include the targeted actions that civil society, human rights actors, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar have been calling for since the start of the coup, such as a global arms embargo, economic sanctions, and a referral to the ICC.
“Instead, the resolution places the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the centre of peace negotiations. Progressive Voice and other civil society actors have repeatedly pointed out that the ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus is flawed and ineffective, and in need of serious revision.”
“Rather than facilitate the protection of Myanmar people’s rights and freedoms, the Five-Point Consensus has instead allowed Myanmar’s neighbours and regional partners to aid and abet the junta in its commission of human rights violations and international crimes,” wrote Progressive Voice.
The Factsheet wrote that the military junta has shown disdain for the calls made within the December 2022 resolution, and weak action on the part of the international community has only served to embolden the military to intensify its abuse.
The situation in Myanmar has resulted in an unprecedented human rights and humanitarian crisis, with over 1.3 million people internally displaced and another 51,300 fleeing to neighbouring countries since the coup attempt.
In its recommendations, Progressive Voice urges the UN Security Council to adopt an additional resolution that invokes Chapter VII of the UN Charter and enacts measures such as a comprehensive coordinated global arms embargo on Myanmar, targeted sanctions against the military and its partners, and a referral to the ICC.
The organization also calls on the international community to recognize the failings of the current ASEAN Five-Point Consensus, welcome the declaration lodged by the National Unity Government (NUG) to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction over international crimes committed in Myanmar territory since 1 July 2002, and ensure that humanitarian aid does not legitimize and enable the military junta’s campaign of terror.