Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from 31 countries issued an open letter on Wednesday calling for the UN Security Council to institute a global arms embargo against the military regime in Myanmar.
A total of 137 organizations have signed on to the letter, ranging from large international organizations and unions like Human Rights Watch and the AFL-CIO to a number of groups dedicated to ethnic rights in Myanmar, especially of the Rohingya, a predominately Muslim ethnic group who have long suffered under military oppression in the country.
The organizations decried the military coup of February 1 that overthrew the democratically-elected government of Myanmar and urged the Security Council to “impose a comprehensive arms embargo.” The embargo, they said, should include not just weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment, but should extend to so-called “dual-use” items that, while not expressly made for military purposes, can easily be repurposed, such as vehicles and communications equipment. The letter also called for a ban on the provision of any sort of military assistance, training, or intelligence.
The organizations also warned that any sale or transfer of military equipment “could provide the means to further repress the people of Myanmar.” Until there is a resolution from the Security Council, individual UN member states should act to curtail the sale and transfer of military materials, with the goal in mind of extending the arms embargo to a global scale. The letter noted that the Security Council’s response to decades of crimes committed by Myanmar’s security forces has been “inadequate,” and that “the current crisis demands a change in course.”
The call for a global embargo comes as the United States added two more Myanmar generals to the growing list of regime members subject to economic sanctions for their participation in the coup.