Myanmar once again stands at a precipice.
Hundreds of people including elected political leaders, human rights defenders, activists and members of the business community have been arbitrarily detained. President Win Myint and Aung San Suu Kyi continue to be held incommunicado, as are many other legislators.
Journalists face threats and intimidation. The military continues to cut the internet and other forms of communication haphazardly, restricting access to information amid a global pandemic and now a political crisis.
Anti-coup protests have drawn hundreds of thousands of people to the streets, calling for a return to democratic rule. They have been met with teargas, water cannons, rubber bullets and, in some cases, live ammunition.
The situation could still get much worse. Myanmar’s security forces have a history of quelling peaceful dissent through brute force. We are concerned for the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, as the military has often used political instability as an opportunity to launch abusive military operations in Rakhine, Shan, Karen, Kachin or other states.
The UN Security Council spoke with one voice in calling for the release of all those arbitrarily detained in Myanmar, and respect for human rights and the rule of law. The Human Rights Council should also stand united in condemning the coup and calling for the release of all detainees and reinstatement of the democratically elected government.
The resolution should advance accountability, strengthen the monitoring, reporting and rapid-response capacity of the Special Rapporteur with additional support as needed, and request the High Commissioner to fully exercise her prevention mandate.
Concerned states should adopt and enforce targeted sanctions on military leaders responsible for the coup and on military-owned companies. The Council should stand ready to take whatever further measures are needed to address this crisis as it unfolds.