“ASEAN and its consensus have failed,” said Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Fortify Rights, a rights group which primarily works to ensure human rights.
“The Security Council has a responsibility to act. The flow of arms and money to the junta must be stopped, and the Security Council is the key international body with a mandate to make that happen,” he said
In April 2021, ASEAN leaders reached a “Five-Point Consensus” with the Myanmar military, aimed at putting the nation back on a path to peace following the February 2021 military coup d’état led by Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
The Myanmar junta has flouted the agreement while committing mass atrocity crimes.
The UK is the UN Security Council’s “penholder” on Myanmar and should table a Chapter VII resolution mandating an arms embargo and referral to the ICC, and President Biden should use the occasion of the Special Summit to obtain ASEAN’s support for such a move, Fortify Rights said.
Chapter VII of the UN Charter enables the Security Council to take coercive action with respect to threats to international peace and security; Chapter VII resolutions are binding on all UN member states.
The Myanmar military is responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes and has long posed a threat to international peace and security, said the rights body.
Since launching a coup d’état on 1 February, 2021, the Myanmar army and police have reportedly killed more than 1,800 people and detained more than 13,640.
President Biden should also encourage ASEAN member states to engage the National Unity Government of Myanmar, as recommended by Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, said Fortify Rights.
Thailand should be urged to stop returning refugees to Myanmar and to authorize cross-border humanitarian aid, it said.
The US Government and ASEAN should also ensure that humanitarian aid to Myanmar is not directed through the military junta, said Fortify Rights.
“The Myanmar junta is destabilising the entire region, and ASEAN is at risk of losing all credibility for failing to take decisive action,” said Matthew Smith.
“All governments have a responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar from mass atrocities and that includes members of the Security Council.”