Joint Call for a Global Arms Embargo on Myanmar

Over 130 Organisations write an open letter to the UN Security Council and individual UN Member States to urgently institute a coordinated global arms embargo on Myanmar in response to the military coup.

We, the undersigned organizations, call on the United Nations Security Council and UN member states to urgently institute a coordinated, global arms embargo on Myanmar in response to the February 1, 2021 military coup that has deprived the people of Myanmar of the right to democratically elect their government. Our concerns are heightened by ongoing violations of human rights and the security forces’ history of grave abuses against peaceful critics of military rule, as well as against the Rohingya and other ethnic minority groups.

Under the commander-in-chief, Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the Myanmar military has detained the elected civilian leaders of the country, nullified the results of the November 2020 democratic elections, and installed a junta, the State Administration Council, under a manufactured “state of emergency.” Since February 1, the junta has increasingly used excessive and at times lethal force at demonstrations; threatened and arbitrarily detained activists, journalists, students, and civil servants; and imposed rolling internet shutdowns that put lives at risk.

Days after the coup, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “We will do everything we can to mobilize all the key actors and international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to make sure that this coup fails.” The UN special rapporteur on Myanmar has called for targeted UN sanctions on the military and an arms embargo, while the deputy high commissioner for human rights has voiced support for targeted UN sanctions on the coup leaders.

In that spirit, we urge the Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar. Such a resolution should bar the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment, including dual-use goods such as vehicles and communications and surveillance equipment, as well as the provision of training, intelligence, and other military assistance. The embargo should be accompanied by robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

Any sale or transfer of military-related equipment to Myanmar could provide the means to further repress the people of Myanmar in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law.

Until the Council acts, individual UN member states should adopt measures at the national and regional levels to block sales and other transfers of weapons and materiel to Myanmar, with the goal of extending an arms embargo to as close to a global scale as possible. 

For decades, the Security Council’s response to crimes by the Myanmar security forces has been inadequate, emboldening the military to continue committing abuses without fear of serious consequences. The current crisis demands a change in course.

On February 4, the Security Council spoke with a single voice to demand the release of all those arbitrarily detained and the protection of the country’s democratic institutions. Council members should use that newfound consensus to take swift and substantive action. An arms embargo would be the centerpiece of a global effort to shield the people of Myanmar from a return to abusive and autocratic rule.

The time to act is now.


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Advocacy Forum-Nepal
All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
Arakan Information Center 
Arakan Rivers Network
Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
Asia Democracy Network
Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
Asian Human Rights Commission
Asian Migrant Centre
Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
Asian Resource Foundation
Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)
Australian Centre for International Justice
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
BALAOD Mindanaw
Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan
Brotherhood For Democracy (BFD)
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan
Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia
Bytes For All
Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
Cambodian Food And Service Workers Federation (CFSWF)
Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
Center for Peace Education, Miriam College
Center for Social Integrity
Centre for Human Rights and Development
Centre for Peace and Justice, Brac University
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Climate Change Working Group-Myanmar
Colorful Girls
Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC)
Cross Cultural Foundation 
Dawei Pro Bono Lawyer Network 
Democracy, Peace and Women Organization
DHEWA (Development for Health, Education, Work, and Awareness) Welfare Society
Equality Myanmar
Equitable Cambodia
European Rohingya Council
Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany
Fortify Rights
Free Rohingya Coalition
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Global Justice Center
Global Witness
Htoi Gender and Development Foundation
Human Rights First
Human Rights Foundation of Monland 
Human Rights Law Centre
Human Rights Office-Sri Lanka
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Info Birmanie
Innovation for Change Network 
Institute for Asian Democracy
Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion
International Campaign for the Rohingya
International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS), Asia Pacific
International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
Jewish Alliance of Concern Over Burma
Jubilee Australia
Justice for All/Burma Task Force
Justice for Myanmar
Kachin State Women’s Network
Karapatan Alliance Philippines
Karen Human Rights Group
KontraS Aceh
Loka Ahlinn Social Development Organization 
Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
MAP Foundation
Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)
Mekong Migration Network
Mennonite Central Committee
Mother Nature Cambodia
Myanmar Human Rights Alliances Network (MHRAN)
National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal
Never Again Coalition
New School for Democracy
No Business With Genocide
Nonviolence International
Olof Palme International Center
OutRight Action International
Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand
Pax Christi Australia
Pax Christi International
Pax Christi Korea
Pax Christi Philippines
People’s Empowerment Foundation
People’s Watch
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
Progressive Voice
Prosecute; don’t perpetrate
Public Association “Dignity”
Refugees International
Restless Beings
Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
Rohingya Association of Canada
Rohingya Human Rights Initiative
Rohingya Today
Rohingya Women Education Initiative
Rohingya Youth for Legal Action 
Smile Foundation
Swedish Burma Committee
Taiwan Association for Human Rights
Taiwan Forever Association (台灣永社)
Tampadipa Institute
The Arakan Project
The May 18 Memorial Foundation
The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network
The Swedish Rohingya Association 
Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
US Campaign for Burma
Viet Tan
Vietnamese Women for Human Rights
Voice of Rohingya 
Win Without War
World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
YMCA Mandalay
Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP)

Civic space in Myanmar is rated "Repressed" by the CIVCICUS Monitor