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Arria: Voices from Myanmar

Statement by Permanent Representative Mona Juul in the Arria-meeting 'Voices from Myanmar', 9 April 2021.

As delivered:

Thank you Chair and let me also express my deepest condolences on the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh.

A deep thank you to the briefers for sharing your experiences. They are a clear testament to the need for the international community - and the Security Council – to act to prevent further violence and bloodshed.

We must ensure that democracy is restored in Myanmar, and that the wishes of the people are heard. And we welcome this meeting as an opportunity to discuss just this.

Norway has from the beginning strongly condemned the military coup. We have continuously called for the immediate return to civilian rule; the release of President U Win Myint, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and all others who are detained after the coup - particularly minors. And we call for the military to refrain from all use of violence, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to immediately end the repression of the civilian population.

Yet, these calls from the international community and from the Security Council have been ignored.

Widespread, systematic, and lethal attacks by security forces against peaceful protestors and civilians have continued.

It is appalling that children and youth continue to be among the victims – some shot while playing in the streets, or even in their own homes. A total of 43 children have now been killed. And schools, ambulances and healthcare personnel and facilities have been attacked, occupied, and misused against the civilian population.

This cannot be ignored.

The security forces are also targeting women, with hundreds arrested, and many reporting sexual and gender-based harassment and violence. Women also constitute over 70 percent of the civil servants dismissed for their active engagement in Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement. Women and women’s organizations are at the front lines in the fight for democracy, and we support their equal role, rights, and influence in Myanmar’s society.

We also condemn the military’s systematic repression of freedom of the press and media preventing these stories from being widely told.

Colleagues,

Norway is deeply concerned by reports of escalating clashes between the ethnic armed groups and the military. There is an imminent risk of further escalation of violence into outright civil war.

Safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need must be secured.

The current situation in Myanmar is a threat to regional peace and security.

The military’s actions have not only led to increased refugee flows into neighboring countries, but have also made the prospect of voluntary return of other refugees - such as the 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh - more unlikely.

Norway supports ASEAN in their efforts to play a constructive role in this very difficult situation. And we are encouraged by ongoing initiatives by its members to find a way to involve the organization in humanitarian assistance to Myanmar.

We are also pleased to see that the Special Envoy is now visiting the region.

Despite the increasingly brutal crackdown, the protests and civil disobedience continue from the people of Myanmar. As we have heard today, their wishes are clear. And there is no time to lose.

The Security Council must rapidly consider its options and show that further measures, such as targeted sanctions against the military, its many economic conglomerates, as well as a possible arms embargo, are under consideration. And accountability must be ensured to end systemic impunity.

Norway supports the ongoing important work of the Human Rights Council and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.

Colleagues,

The coup and the actions by the Military Leadership are unacceptable. The Council must send a clear message that we expect them to immediately stop the brutal attack on their own people, and on democracy. We must heed the call of the people of Myanmar, to assist them in returning to the path of democratic transition that they had started on.

Thank you.