Statament by Ambassador Sven Jürgenson at Arria-formula meeting on Myanmar

Estonia is following the situation in Myanmar very closely. The military coup has plunged Myanmar into turmoil and tragedy – as evidenced by the brutal treatment of the population – arbitrary arrests, the widespread and violent repression against peaceful protestors, including women and children, the massive displacements and other serious violations of human rights. The 27th of March was the bloodiest day for the people of Myanmar when around 158 people including children, youth and women were brutally killed by the security forces throughout the country making the total of killings more than 600 civilians.

In light of these alarming facts we reiterate our strong condemnation of the military’s lethal force and systematic attacks against peaceful demonstrators, including targeted gender based violence against women protestors, as well as other serious violations of human rights. We are deeply concerned about the arbitrary arrests of journalists, including women journalists, and attempts to silence the media and eradicate freedom of expression. All restrictions must be fully lifted and the freedom of expression respected. It is essential that the humanitarian actors reach all those in need across Myanmar.

We call on the military to refrain from all forms of violence and repression against civilians and peaceful protestors, human rights defenders, journalists and media workers and to respect human rights of all people in Myanmar. We urge an end to violence against children. All those arbitrarily detained must be immediately released. 

We reiterate that there needs to be accountability for all those responsible for the crimes committed as well as for the violations of international human rights law. Crackdown and impunity must end. And there needs to be justice for the victims. We underline the importance of ensuring access of the UN human rights mechanisms to Myanmar.  

Coordinated messaging of the international community is needed but it is clearly not enough to make the military stop using arms against the people.

The United Nations Security Council is the only entity in the world, which has the legitimate power to protect nations at risk and must explore every tool in its toolbox to end this horrible situation. To this end we should start drafting a resolution that could also foresee sanctions, especially a comprehensive arms embargo, in order to stop the atrocities. All States must refrain from supplying the perpetrators with weapons.

We continue to support the Secretary General’s Special Envoy Ms Christine Schraner Burgener and her efforts to engage with the ASEAN countries. We call military authorities urgently to grant access to visit the country´s soil. Regional partners, ASEAN in particular, have a critical role to play and it will be especially important if diplomatic or mediation openings emerge. We encourage their ongoing efforts in providing necessary support towards finding the solution. In this regard, we welcome the decision of the organization to convene a summit to address the events in Myanmar.

It is crucial to avoid further escalation of the situation and regional instability. Refugee flows to neighbouring countries have already started. Thus, it is critical to find an urgent solution to this crisis.

Myanmar must return to the path of democratic development according to the will of the people. Estonia stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar.

 Thank you, Madame Chair!