Since international efforts have failed to protect the people of Myanmar, a People’s Defence Force (PDF) has been constituted in the troubled nation.
By RMN News Service
States must do more to cut the Myanmar military’s access to revenue and arms supplies to halt its repression of the people, a report released on September 16 by the UN Human Rights Office said.
The report was requested by the Human Rights Council to follow up on earlier recommendations made by the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar (‘FFM’) on economic interests of the Myanmar military (the Tatmadaw).
The report reiterates the FFM’s recommendations to impose targeted financial sanctions on the Tatmadaw and its economic interests as well as arms embargoes.
It asserts that such measures must respect human rights and that efforts must be made to mitigate foreseeable socio-economic impacts. Several States continue to supply weaponry and engage in military cooperation, it states.
Since international efforts have failed to protect the people of Myanmar, a People’s Defence Force (PDF) has been constituted in the troubled nation. PDF is the armed wing of the National Unity Government (NUG) comprising youth and pro-democracy activists who resist attacks by the autocratic military junta. Estimates suggest that PDF’s membership reached 50,000 in February 2022. [ Click here to watch a related video. ]
The PDF model of self-defence can serve as an inspiration for citizens in other autocratic nations where police and security forces attack civilians and peaceful protesters while the world community has failed to protect them.
Since seizing control of State organs, the so-called State Administration Council has “failed to govern in meaningful and sustainable ways, instead continuing to repress and terrorize the Myanmar people,” the UN report says.
While some progress has been made on the FFM’s recommendations to economically isolate the Tatmadaw, there remain significant gaps, which are ever more important following the coup. Targeted measures should particularly focus on the military’s foreign currency access, said the report.
It urges the international community to step up efforts to support the people of Myanmar and to ensure the military’s financial isolation in a coordinated fashion. Appropriate sanctions should be implemented in consultation with civil society and the democratic movement, including trade unions and the National Unity Government, to calibrate their impact.
According to the report, Myanmar’s military authorities are clearly prioritizing its military campaigns over the welfare of the population and economic recovery. In comparison with the previous annual Government budget, the military authorities’ 2022/23 budget increased defence spending, while reducing allocations to education, health, and social welfare.
Poverty in Myanmar has increased at least two-fold and the public health system has effectively broken down since the coup, and more than half of all school-age children have not had access to education for two academic years, the report said.
It also reported that some States and companies continue business relationships with military-owned enterprises in a number of sectors.
All businesses active in Myanmar or sourcing from the country should take steps to ensure they do not economically benefit the military, including by conducting ongoing and transparent heightened human rights due diligence, the report says.
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