UK: Rohingya Return Not Possible in Myanmar’s Worsening Situation

Thank you Mr. President, and the UN Special Envoy for the very sobering briefing.

Mr. President, it has now been over two years since the military’s coup. Since then, over 3,100 people have been killed by the military regime. Over 20,000 people have been arbitrarily detained and over 17 million are in need of humanitarian assistance.

The military regime is using increasingly brutal tactics to sow fear and repress any form of opposition. Indiscriminate air strikes are increasing. As are reports of military atrocities, conflict related sexual violence, and mass burning of villages. We condemn the latest horrifying reports of a massacre of at least 28 people sheltering in a monastery in Southern Shan State over the weekend.

I wish to make three points:

First, we fully support the efforts of the UN Special Envoy to find durable and inclusive dialogue-driven solutions to the escalating crisis in Myanmar. ASEAN’s leadership is central – we welcome the renewed efforts under Indonesia’s leadership, including to fully implement the ASEAN Five Point Consensus. In December, the Security Council agreed resolution 2669 which sent a unified message: of solidarity with the people of Myanmar; of support to ASEAN’s efforts; on the need to end violence immediately; and on the need to release political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. Today’s General Assembly discussion has echoed these messages. There is strength in this collective unity.

Second, the military should face the consequences of their actions. Since the coup, the UK has sanctioned 18 individuals and 28 entities, including those who have committed serious human rights violations. We encourage others to do the same, and we reiterate that no country should sell arms to Myanmar.

Finally, we cannot forget the most vulnerable. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya and other minorities remain confined to their villages and Internally Displaced Peoples camps in Rakhine State. The systemic human rights violations they have suffered for decades must end. The worsening situation in Myanmar means conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of the Rohingya are not in place. We thank the UN, the Government of Bangladesh, and other hosting nations for their generosity and for the lifesaving support they are providing to the Rohingya. We should support efforts to meaningfully include their voices in discussions on Myanmar’s future – a peaceful, democratic future that meets the aspirations of the people of Myanmar.

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