UK General Comment on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, as delivered by Simon Manley, UK Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva.

Simon Manley CMG

Thank you, Mr President,

Let me start by thanking our European colleagues for presenting this draft resolution and for leading such constructive negotiations.

This initiative comes at a crucial moment for the people of Myanmar. The text before us today rightly details the dramatic deterioration in the human rights situation since the Myanmar military coup. The junta has consistently shown it holds no respect for international rule of law, human rights or democracy. Across the country, we see arbitrary arrests, targeting of civilians, including the Rohingya and other minorities and civilian infrastructure, torture, mass gender and sexual-based violence, and other restrictions and assaults on rights and freedoms.

Indeed just last week, the junta decided to dissolve forty political parties, including the National League for Democracy, underscoring their assault on the rights of the Myanmar people.

We are appalled by the ongoing and egregious actions of the junta. The people of Myanmar have shown immense courage in the face of this, and we continue to stand with them.

Mr President,

Accountability is the only way to end the military’s culture of impunity. Thus we are strongly supportive of new elements in this text to strengthen accountability efforts including by urging all UN bodies to collaborate fully with the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.

And as this Council recently heard from the Special Rapporteur, and as his report details, weapons used to kill civilians should no longer be transferred to Myanmar. No Member State should sell arms to Myanmar, a trade which is enabling the crimes he has set out. The UK has a longstanding arms embargo on Myanmar and let me once again encourage other Member States to do the same.

We reiterate our support for the people of Myanmar and their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and inclusive future. The UK has co-sponsored this resolution and we urge our fellow members of this Council to support it.

Thank you.

Published 4 April 2023