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137 NGOs from 31 countries ask UN for Myanmar arms embargo

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Protesters hold signs as they take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on Wednesday. AFP

137 NGOs from 31 countries ask UN for Myanmar arms embargo

Nearly 140 NGOs from 31 countries signed an open letter on February 24 calling for the UN Security Council to urgently impose an arms embargo on Myanmar after the military coup there earlier this month.

The letter said: “The United Nations Security Council should urgently impose a global arms embargo on Myanmar in response to the military coup and to deter the junta from committing further abuses.”

It went on to say: “Governments that permit arms transfers to Myanmar – including China, India, Israel, North Korea, the Philippines, Russia and Ukraine – should immediately stop the supply of any weapons, munitions and related equipment.”

Three of the named countries are currently members of the Security Council: permanent members China and Russia – who both hold veto power in the body – and non-permanent member India.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) director Kenneth Roth said in the letter: “Given the mass atrocities against the Rohingya, decades of war crimes, and the overthrow of the elected government, the least the UN Security Council can do is impose a global arms embargo on Myanmar.”

The signatories, which also included dozens of Asian NGOs, said: “The Security Council should also impose targeted sanctions, global travel bans, and asset freezes on the leadership of the junta and military-owned conglomerates.”

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