UN resolution to condemn Myanmar military coup may be thwarted by concerns over pandemic voting restrictions

For five straight days protesters have taken to Myanmar’s streets, calling for the world to pay attention and help their country return to democracy.

Already there are signs they will not be getting that support from the United Nations.

Last week, the UN Security Council stopped short of condemning the military coup when it called for the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others detained by the military.

Now, the UN Human Rights Council is set to consider a resolution on Friday, drafted by Britain and the European Union. But China and Russia — members of the Human Rights Council with ties to Myanmar’s military — are raising concerns about voting on it, using the virtual system required during the pandemic.

A text seen by Reuters confirms the resolution would condemn the military coup in Myanmar and demand urgent access to the country.

But China and Russia — members of the Human Rights Council with ties to Myanmar’s military — are raising concerns about voting on it, using the virtual system required during the pandemic.

The resolution also urges the military to refrain from using violence against peaceful protesters, while demanding it ensures freedom of expression and an open internet.

Women in Angon, Myanmar wear ball gowns to protest the coup in this still image obtained from social media. Their demonstration comes one day after a young woman was shot in the head by police cracking down on protesters. (Kyaw Soe Thet/Reuters)

Teenager in hospital

Protesters are vowing to keep up demonstrations against the coup, even after a 19-year-old grocery-store worker was shot and critically wounded during a police crackdown Tuesday.

Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing had travelled with her sisters from a nearby village to Naypyitaw to join the demonstrations. 

Police quashed the peaceful protest with water cannon and gunfire. The young woman was struck in the back of the head with a live round as she was fleeing. 

Video footage posted to Facebook and verified by Reuters shows the moment Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing was shot. In the footage, she stands at the front of a crowd of protesters facing riot police.

Wearing a red t-shirt and helmet, she is first struck by a stream fired by a water cannon. A woman beside her takes her hand and tries to lead her away. While their backs are turned, there is a crack and she crumples to the ground. Police continue to soak the crowd with water cannon as they try to tend to her.

Doctors do not expect Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing to survive.

A banner pictured in Yangon on Feb. 10, 2021, shows a woman protester injured by a gunshot wound in the head when police fired to clear protesters on Feb. 9, 2021 in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. (Reuters)

Protesters draped a massive a portrait of her from a bridge in downtown Yangon, the commercial capital, on Wednesday. “Lets together oppose the dictator who kills the people,” the banner read.

Human Rights Watch said a 20-year-old man who was also wounded by a bullet is in a stable condition.

Large inflatables a sign of outrage

The shooting of the young woman — the first known serious casualty of the protests — has roused anger across the nation and rallied support for the anti-coup movement, many of whose members are part of a Generation Z who say they refuse to allow another generation to experience military rule.

“It’s all a matter of time until there is a big-scale confrontation,” said a UN official, who declined to be identified.

Anti-coup demonstrators in Myanmar sat in inflatable tubs lined up in a street in the commercial capital Yangon on Wednesday in an effort to show their peaceful intent outside the Japanese Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb. 10, 2021. (Reuters)

Anti-coup demonstrators in Myanmar sat in inflatable tubs lined up in a street in the commercial capital Yangon, in an effort to show their peaceful intent after the worst day of violence since last week’s military takeover.

A few dozen protesters sat slumped in the colourful, beach-themed pools — some featuring cartoon images of crabs and fish — outside the Japanese embassy. Some held placards denouncing the overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and mocking junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

One sign said: “We asked for democracy, not armed robbery,” while another said “We are peacefully protesting.”

Giant pool ducks and other inflatable objects have also become a feature of anti-government protests in neighbouring Thailand.



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