Myanmar UN Ambassador Demands International Intervention to Protect Civilians from Junta Atrocities

By The Irrawaddy 26 January 2023

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations U Kyaw Moe Tun has told the global body to uphold the “responsibility to protect” principle and ensure accountability for atrocities committed by the junta.

Since crackdowns on peaceful protesters after the 2021 coup, Myanmar has asked the UN to apply the principle to stop the junta killing civilians and help those affected by massacres, war crimes, airstrikes and arson attacks.

Speaking at a special UN meeting to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity on Tuesday, U Kyaw Moe Tun said it was “regrettable” that earlier calls for the UN to exercise the principle and no-fly zone were ignored.

He said the global body should speak with a single voice, uphold the responsibility to protect and act collectively, using all tools to prevent junta atrocities and end the cycle of impunity.

Referring to UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ comments on November 12 that the international community had failed Myanmar, U Kyaw Moe Tun said: “We are hopeful that with decisive and timely action from the UN, the secretary general doesn’t need to repeat [his apology] this year.”

U Kyaw Moe Tun said creating an elected government that controlled a professional military and ended impunity would stop the atrocities.

Since the 2021 coup, the junta has killed at least 2,827 people and detained more than 17,400, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights group tracking the regime.

Junta airstrikes had killed at least 155 civilians by November and injured around 190.

In a speech at the UN in 2021, U Kyaw Moe Tun rejected military rule and pledged his loyalty to the ousted National League for Democracy government and has since represented the civilian National Unity Government.

The junta has tried unsuccessfully to replace him and there was a reported assassination attempt which resulted in FBI arrests.