Global Justice Center Blog

UN Security Council Issues Statement on Myanmar Coup

NEW YORK — The United Nations Security Council issued a press statement today in response to the military coup in Myanmar. The statement, drafted by current council president the United Kingdom, follows days of strained negotiations between council members.

Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, had the following reaction:

“It is some relief for the people of Myanmar that the UN Security Council finally took action today by agreeing on a statement concerning the military coup. But thanks to recent, historic levels of gridlock on the Council, the bar has been set far too low. If this statement is not followed by formal action, it is meaningless.

“As a start, holding an open meeting on the crisis would build trust in the Council’s commitment to meaningful action and to execute its mandate to maintain international peace and security. Yet it is crucial the Council listens to communities most at risk in Myanmar, who have been clear from the beginning that targeted sanctions on the military and military owned companies, an arms embargo, and efforts to hold the military accountable are the concrete actions the international community must take to address this emergency.

“The geopolitical reality between Council members is no doubt complicated. Yet it is certain that the Council’s continued failure to act will have dangerous ramifications for the people of Myanmar. Ethnic groups like the Rohingya, activists, and others who speak out against the military are at risk. The military must be shown that there are consequences for such brazen attacks on democracy. The Council is in a unique position to lead this charge for accountability and if it fails, the people of Myanmar are all the more likely to face another violent era of military dictatorship.”

UN Security Council fails to condemn Myanmar coup

Excerpt of Al Jazeera article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Human rights groups condemned the failure of the council to take swift action.

“No one should be surprised that the world’s body for maintaining international peace and security failed to issue a statement condemning a brazen military coup,” Akila Radhakrishnan, the president of the Global Justice Center said in a statement urging world leaders to take action including selected sanctions, arms embargoes and economic divestment to “disempower” the military.

“The time has passed for failed strategies promoting ‘stability’ and quiet diplomacy over accountability and justice,” she said. “The military has destabilized the country irreparably. It’s now on the international community to stem the tide of military violence and impunity before it’s too late.”

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What does Myanmar's military coup mean for the persecuted Rohingya?

Excerpt of ABC News Australia article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

There are 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Rohingya, Karen, Rakhine, Shan and Chin peoples. Recent clashes in Karen state have led to 4,000 being displaced since December.

"It's quite likely that this will be utilised as a convenient excuse by the military to extend their state of emergency," Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, told the ABC.

"The military has only committed to ceasefires and peace when it is in their interests, and there is little to no trust between many of the ethnic armed groups and the military."

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Q&A: Preliminary Objections in The Gambia v. Myanmar at the International Court of Justice

On November 11, 2019 the Republic of The Gambia filed suit against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) for violations of the Genocide Convention. This historic lawsuit brings a critical focus to Myanmar’s responsibility as a state for the Rohingya genocide.

The Gambia’s case focuses on Myanmar’s security forces’ so-called “clearance operations” in 2016 and 2017 against the Rohingya, a distinct Muslim ethnic minority, in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. These attacks against Rohingya were massive in scale, ghastly in brutality, and meticulous in coordination. Approximately 800,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in a matter of weeks, with survivors reporting indiscriminate killings, gender-based violence, arbitrary detention, torture, beatings, and forced displacement. Rape and sexual violence were widespread, pervasive, and often conducted in public, to the extent that the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission (“FFM”) found that sexual violence was a hallmark of the Security Forces’ operations.

On January 20, 2021 Myanmar filed preliminary objections in The Gambia v. Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”). The objections challenge The Gambia’s ability to bring its genocide suit against the state of Myanmar.

This fact sheet answers fundamental questions about the Preliminary Objections stage of the ICJ case. (Answers to questions about the early stages of the lawsuit, Myanmar’s responsibility for genocide, and its impact on the Rohingya population are here and here.)

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Biden threatens sanctions after Myanmar military coup

Excerpt of Al Jazeera article that quotes GJC President Akila Radhakrishnan.

Human rights groups said the international community needed to recognise the shortcomings of their engagement during Myanmar’s democratic transition and take tougher steps to rein in the military.

“The Tatmadaw has exposed the vast vulnerabilities of Myanmar’s democratic institutions by staging this brazen coup,” Akila Radhakrishnan, the president of the Global Justice Center.

“Given the history of military rule, the risk of ensuing violence and atrocities is greater than any moment in recent memory. We can’t ignore the repeated failure of the international community to take concerted action to curb military power and hold it accountable for its constant human rights abuses, including its genocidal campaign against the Rohingya.”

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