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137 NGOs from 31 countries ask UN for Myanmar arms embargo

The letter read: 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.

Soldiers stand guard along a blockaded road near Myanmar's Parliament in Naypyidaw on 2 February 2021, as Myanmar's generals appeared in firm control a day after a surgical coup that saw democracy heroine Aung San Suu Kyi detained. Picture: AFP

UNITED NATIONS – Nearly 140 NGOs from 31 countries signed an open letter Wednesday calling for the United Nations Security Council to urgently impose an arms embargo on Myanmar after the military coup there earlier this month.

"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," the letter said.

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.

"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," Human Rights Watch (HRW) director Kenneth Roth wrote.

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

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