Statement by Ambassador Flynn at Arria Meeting on the Situation in Myanmar
Statement09 April 2021
Thank you Chair, and I want to begin by joining you and others in expressing our deepest condolences on the passing of Prince Philip.
I also want to thank our briefers, in particular Sai Sam Kham and Daw Zin Mar Aung – thank you for your clear and powerful messages, for your courage in standing up for your fellow citizens and the people of Myanmar. Ireland stands with you.
In the 67 days that have passed since the coup, we have witnessed the extraordinary bravery of the people of Myanmar, who have shown that they will not allow their democratic will, their human rights, as well as the gains of a decade, be easily tossed aside.
Sadly, this courage has been met with brutal and escalating repression, with hundreds of innocent people killed. The violence has been indiscriminate, with civil society representatives, members of the media, healthcare workers, minorities, youths, even children, coming under attack.
We have also seen appalling incidents of sexual and gender based violence against women protestors.
This violence must end, and those responsible be held to account.
I also want to repeat again our call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained, including political leaders.
From listening to the briefers, it is clear that the very future of Myanmar is now at stake. Thousands more people have been displaced, including many seeking refuge across neighbouring borders. The country’s economy, already severely impacted by the pandemic, has collapsed, and millions are descending into poverty and food insecurity. Fragile ceasefires with ethnic armed organisations are in danger and the threat of a fully-fledged civil war looms large.
This cannot be considered an internal matter and there can be no doubt that the crisis poses a threat to wider security in the region.
The events of the last weeks in Myanmar are an affront to the principles we all champion here at the UN. The international community cannot simply look the other way as the military not only fail to protect their citizens, but actively engage in the brutal repression and killing of unarmed civilians.
We need to send clear messages to the military that their actions will have consequences. Expressions of concern are no longer enough.
We support targeted financial sanctions, such as those imposed by the EU, against those who have seized power and the economic entities that sustain them.
We also have serious concerns regarding the continuing sale and supply of arms to Myanmar. We have seen how such weapons will be used – to gun down innocent civilians, including children. This cannot continue.
The plight of the Rohingya, remains of deep concern, as hopes for safe, voluntary and dignified return once again fade. We need to redouble our efforts to support the Rohingya and other displaced persons.
We recognise the vital support provided by Bangladesh and neighbouring countries. The full implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission Report is a fundamental step towards a better future, and we urge support for its work.
We also reiterate our strong support for the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, the ICC and ICJ in seeking to achieve accountability in Myanmar.
Ireland reaffirms our support to the Special Envoy of the Secretary General, Christine Schraner Burgener, and calls on the military to facilitate her immediate access to Myanmar. As has been said, that access was once again refused yesterday.
We also strongly support the efforts of our ASEAN partners to find a solution to this crisis and welcome the recent call for an ASEAN summit by its Chair to discuss the situation in Myanmar.
We are meeting here virtually, facilitated by the connective capacity of communications technology, while in the past days we have seen a further internet shutdown by the military in Myanmar.
Today’s meeting demonstrates that the voices of the Myanmar people cannot be silenced. What we have heard from our briefers underlines the need for us all to work together to urgently find a sustainable and swift outcome to this crisis.
The people of Myanmar depend on it, and surely deserve it.