UNITED NATIONS, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Russian weapons being used in Ukraine are also killing people in Myanmar, an independent U.N. expert said on Wednesday, urging countries to form a coalition – just as they have on Moscow over Ukraine – to target and pressure Myanmar’s military junta.
Myanmar has been in crisis since the army ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government in February 2021, detaining her and other officials and launching a bloody crackdown on protests and other dissent.
The U.N. Security Council has long been split on Myanmar, with diplomats saying China and Russia would likely shield the junta from strong action. So the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said a coalition of countries should instead target the junta with sanctions and an arms embargo.
“The international community should be coordinating their efforts to target them, and then work together to implement these measures,” Andrews told reporters in New York. “It’s not being done now. Not because we don’t know how to do it. We know how to do it. If you want a playbook, look at Ukraine.”
The United States and European allies have coordinated their implementation of sanctions on Russia since Moscow invaded neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“Some of the very types of weapons that are being used to kill people in Ukraine are being used to kill the people of Myanmar. And they come from the very same source – they come from Russia,” Andrews said.
After Andrews briefed the U.N. General Assembly human rights committee earlier on Wednesday, Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Gennady Kuzmin questioned his report, saying it was “often not corroborated by facts.”
“It’s not up to you to say whose weapons are killing civilians, elderly people, women, children around the world. You have been appointed the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, so deal with Myanmar instead of Ukraine,” Kuzmin told the committee.
Britain last month proposed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to the 15-member body that would demand an end to all violence in Myanmar, threaten U.N. sanctions and call on the junta to release all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi. A revised draft was circulated to the council this week.
It was not immediately clear when there could be a vote. To pass, a resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by China, Russia, the United States, France or Britain.
Andrews also slammed Malaysia for deporting dozens of Myanmar nationals, saying they “will be facing, in my opinion, torture and most probably execution.” Malaysian authorities have not responded to requests for comment.
“I’d frankly be surprised if they’re alive right now,” Andrews told reporters. “This is outrageous. It is unacceptable, and it is a gross violation of international law.”
Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.