Joint Nordic Statement at the Arria formula meeting on Myanmar
JOINT NORDIC STATEMENT
by Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
Arria formula meeting on Myanmar
Friday 9 April 2021
The Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, strongly condemn the military coup in Myanmar and are deeply concerned by the gross violations of human rights. We call on the military authorities to immediately stop the violence, end the state of emergency and restore the elected civilian government.
We further call for the immediate and unconditional release of President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and all those who have been arbitrarily detained, charged or arrested during and in the aftermath of 1 February 2021.
The Nordic countries stand with the brave people of Myanmar, who are defending their human rights and democratic principles. Some of the most active protesters, but also the most vulnerable, include women, minority groups and youth. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of unarmed and peaceful protesters have been met with brutal repression by the security forces, leaving many dead or wounded – including children. These actions are unacceptable. International law must be respected and perpetrators must be held accountable. In this regard we express our full support for the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) and its important work collecting evidence and building case files of the most serious international crimes committed in Myanmar since 2011. As stressed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the international community has a responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar from atrocity crimes.
We urge the military to immediately stop the use of violence against civilians and allow the population to exercise their human rights, notably the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly as well as access to information. We furthermore urge the military to immediately restore access to the internet, which has now been severely restricted to minimize the free flow of information.
The military coup is exacerbating existing challenges in Myanmar, with the prospects of greater bloodshed, economic damage, humanitarian emergency and refugee flight to neighbouring countries growing in coming months. For the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the crisis presents a serious threat to the prospects for their voluntary, safe and dignified return.
We, the Nordic countries, will continue to strive for and support strong, affirmative action in the Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and other relevant fora, and to work with relevant organizations, such as the ASEAN to exercise influence on the military regime. We express our full support to the efforts of the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to Myanmar and her strong messages to the military authorities as well as the international community. The international community at large must refrain from any measures or actions that risk lending legitimacy to the military regime.
We strongly believe that the only way forward is for all stakeholders to engage in a peaceful dialogue to get Myanmar back on the path to democracy. We acknowledge the CRPH as an important part of the pro-democratic voices of Myanmar. Hearing directly from elected parliamentarians, civil society leaders, representatives of ethnic groups and religious minorities and other members of the pro-democracy movement will remain key. We welcome this Arria meeting as an important platform for these voices to be heard. It also presents an opportunity to explore the role and responsibility of the UN and other international actors in supporting the democratic movement in Myanmar. The suppression and killings must end, democratic rights be restored and the military must be held to account.