UNHRC calls for release of detained leaders: Russia, China vetoes the Resolution

The 29th special session of the UN Human Rights Council conducted under the presidency of the United Kingdom on 12 February 2021, called for an “unconditional & immediate” release of arbitrarily detained elected political leaders of Myanmar including national icon and state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. The council adamantly insisted to abolish the State of emergency from Myanmar, restore peace and order in the region, and uphold human rights. “The Council also called urgently for the immediate and unconditional release of all persons arbitrarily detained, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and others, and the lifting of the state of emergency, and stressed the need to refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law,” mentioned the official UNHRC statement. 

Image source: The Daily Star

What is the issue?

On February 1 2021, the democratically elected leaders of National Democratic Force were detained by Tatmadaw (Burmese military) in response to alleged “fraud” and “tampering of November election results”. This aghast and undemocratic move by the Military invited massive uproar and agitation by the citizens across Myanmar. Millions of people marched on the streets in support of their elected and detained leaders and flaked the military tyranny and urged for the restoration of long-awaited democratic rule in the country. The military has responded aggressively by silencing their voice of dissent by blocking the Internet access and hence preventing people to stand united in their actions through virtual platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. Taking cognizance of the Internet shutdowns, the special session of UNHRC also mentioned their apprehensions and suspicions for further aggressive military violence against the peaceful protesters. The global community has responded actively against the undemocratic move of Tatmadaw. A plethora of nations had criticised the act and called for united action against military officials to restore the mandate of people’s will and initiate a democratic regime in Myanmar. The USA has imposed heavy sanctions against the military officials, the UK has been consistently uniting the global community at the UN to protect the citizen’s right to protest, revoke the state of emergency and smooth transition of power to a democratically elected government. 

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi/ Image source: REUTERS/Carlos Barria [Image for representation]

China & Russia blocked the resolution against Myanmar

The Asian powers China & Russia have again abstained from legal actions against the Myanmar Military coup. In the second session of UN Human Rights Council on Friday, China & Russia along with Belarus & Venezuela refrained from passing the resolution that aimed to release the detained leaders, remove the state of emergency and uphold the democratic rights of the citizens. The envoys of China & Russia said they were “disassociating” from the resolution. The envoys of both the countries ornamentally designated the Myanmar crisis as “their internal matter”“Today’s special session is clearly not conducive to this. We call for an end to attempts to artificially whip up hype around the situation in Myanmar,” Gatilov said at the HRC session. The Russian diplomat mentioned that resolving the dispute between Myanmar’s Military & civilian government is absolute “their matter”. China bandwagoning with Russia showed its reluctance to arrive at a common consensus. “China is not in favour of holding this special session of the human rights council. What happened in Myanmar is essentially their internal affair,” said China’s ambassador to the UN.

China and Russia have been consistently acting as an impediment for other UN members leading to the failed attempt to take strict and united action against Tatmadaw. Earlier UN Security Council failed to pass the joint statement drafted by Britain after resistance made by UN ambassadors from China and Russia as both the countries required “adequate time” to draw their inferences. While there is massive outrage against Tatmadaw across the world, China and Russia, by and large, has remained reticent on the issue. Earlier China termed the military coup as a mere “cabinet reshuffle” which speaks volumes of Chinese stand on the current crisis.

Considering this fragmented and lack of unanimity among the global community, UN spokesperson Stephan Dujarric said, “what is important is that the International community speak with one voice.” The world leaders must unanimously work to uproot military tyranny and uphold people’s will to install democracy in Myanmar. The nations should sacrifice their narrow political gains to strengthen a civilised government and civilised life on the soil of Myanmar. A government based on rule of law will be in the interest of the global community which will contribute to a rule-based international order and mettle out possible anarchy in the domestic and world politics.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team

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Surya Prakash

Surya Prakash Singh is a Journalism Intern at The Kootneeti

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