The Security Council will discuss the situation in Myanmar today, a week after the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning the ongoing violations against the Rohingya Muslims in the country.
Burundi, China and the Philippines voted against the resolution, while 33 states voted in favour, and nine states, including Japan, abstained.
Since August, as many as 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh in what the UN has referred to as “ethnic cleansing” carried out by Myanmar’s military.
Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs and Pramila Patten, the secretary-general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict are scheduled to brief the 15-member Security Council in New York today.
A coalition of 81 international human rights organisations have called on the Security Council to impose an arms embargo against Myanmar’s military and targeted sanctions against officers responsible for carrying out the most serious offences.
The coalition’s joint appeal said:
If the pledge to ‘never again’ allow atrocities means anything, the Security Council cannot delay action any longer.
Sherine Tadros, head of Amnesty International’s UN office in New York outlined the need for Japan to end three and a half months of deadlock by supporting the UN resolution.
She went on to highlight the importance of enforcing an arms embargo and targeted sanctions:
Japan’s Security Council presidency faces a moment of truth: will its legacy include sitting idly by while hundreds of thousands of Rohingya faced ethnic cleansing on top of a longstanding apartheid regime in Myanmar’s Rakhine State? The Security Council must build on last week’s Human Rights Council resolution by imposing an arms embargo, and targeted sanctions on Myanmar’s military leadership.
“Myanmar’s authorities must immediately allow unfettered access to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, humanitarian aid and independent human rights monitors into the country, and into northern Rakhine State in particular. This is crucial to expose the truth, lay the groundwork for accountability for atrocities against Rohingya women, men and children, and ensure the voluntary, safe and dignified return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees,” she added.
On Monday, the Associated Press published interviews with 21 Rohingya women and girls living in Myanmar who said they had been raped by soldiers.