UN General Assembly to consider call for Myanmar arms embargo

AFP – The United Nations General Assembly is set to consider a draft non-binding resolution calling for “an immediate suspension” of the transfer of weapons to the military junta of Myanmar, a UN official said on Sunday.

Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are non-binding but carry strong political significance. If an approval by consensus cannot be reached then the full General Assembly – 193 member states – will vote on the measure.

Introduced by Liechtenstein, with support from the European Union (EU), Britain, and the United States (US), the measure will be considered at the plenary meeting. The draft resolution calls for “an immediate suspension of the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment to Myanmar”.

“The meeting will be in person,” a UN spokesman told AFP.

The draft, which has been under negotiation for weeks, is co-sponsored by 48 countries, with South Korea the sole Asian country.

Anti-coup activists undergo basic military training at the camp of Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic rebel group in Karen State. PHOTO: AFP

It also calls on military to “end the state of emergency” and immediately stop “all violence against peaceful demonstrators”, as well as “immediately and unconditionally release President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi” and everyone who has been “arbitrarily detained, charged or arrested” since the February 1 coup.

The draft adds a call to “swiftly implement” a five-point consensus reached with leaders from the 10-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on April 24, to “facilitate the visit” of the special UN envoy to Myanmar, and to provide “safe and unimpeded humanitarian access”.

Several Non-government organisations have long been calling for an arms embargo on Myanmar. Since February 1, the Security Council has unanimously adopted four statements on Myanmar, but each time, they have been watered down in negotiations.