UN Special Rapporteur: Japan key to supporting crisis response in Myanmar News
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UN Special Rapporteur: Japan key to supporting crisis response in Myanmar

Japan’s leadership would be vital in restarting a failing international response to the crisis in Myanmar, a UN-appointed independent rights expert urged Friday. Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur, spoke at the end of a 10-day official visit to Japan, calling on the country to work with global allies to weaken the capacity of Myanmar’s military junta to attack its citizens.

“The international community’s response to the crisis in Myanmar is failing, and that failure has contributed to a lethal downward spiral that is devastating the lives of millions of people”, Andrews stated.

Andrews was also critical of the current actions of General Min Aung Hlaing who has been the leader of the junta since a coup in February 2021, stating “arbitrary detention, torture and systematic attacks on villages have become hallmarks of the junta.” Myanmar has been in crisis since the military leadership under Hlaing ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. In response to the junta’s plan to stage fraudulent national elections to legitimate its rule, Andrews also called on the Government to clearly renounce this plan as an act of “barbarism”. “It is not possible to hold a genuine election when opposition leaders are arrested, detained, tortured and executed…[and] when it is illegal to criticise the junta”, he said.

The Special Rapporteur also raised alarms about an impending humanitarian disaster in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh. A decision to cut food rations by 20% in the coming weeks could potentially eliminate food rations completely for hundreds of thousands of people in what Andrews described as an “emergency”. “Further cuts will leave the Rohingya, already victims of genocidal attacks in Myanmar, at risk of starvation and drive thousands into boats and dangerous land routes in utter desperation”. Japan along with other Member States were urged to immediately increase humanity contributions, including by redirecting existing funds to Myanmar. Targeted economic sanctions were also recommended, similar to existing responses to the war in Ukraine.

Andrews described the upcoming G7 Summit in Hiroshima as an opportunity for Japan “to shine a light on the situation in Myanmar before the world” and encouraged the crisis to be placed high on the agenda.