Delegate Name: Maya Comer
United Nations Security Council (UNSC)
Situation in Myanmar
Maya Comer, Greenhills School
Myanmar’s history is fraught with political violence. The nation is on its third constitution, which its ruling military government consistently violates. Since Myanmar gained independence from Britain 75 years ago, only 5 of those years (2015-2020) have seen a legitimate democratically elected government. The current military regime has jailed dissidents, like de facto president Aung San Suu Kyi, and barred them from meeting with international envoys. Additionally, millions of Rohingya Muslims have been driven from their homes, either internally displaced or fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in April 2021 to establish a Five-Point Consensus to end the violence in Myanmar. Although junta leader Min Aung Hlaing signed the Consensus, which calls for peaceful negotiations via an ASEAN-approved special envoy, his military government has yet to engage in such negotiations.
The UNSC is in full support of the Five-Point Consensus. Much of the Security Council’s efforts to date have been focused on supporting ASEAN’s efforts. However, the approach has drawn criticism. The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has denounced the humanitarian response in Myanmar, stating that it is insufficient for the scale of the crisis. Additionally, independent NGO Human Rights Watch worries that other countries are putting too much faith in ASEAN to solve the crisis. A concerted effort to impose targeted sanctions, similar to the sanctions imposed upon Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, would significantly increase the pressure on the junta to give up its power, it says.
In contrast to the levied criticism, Ghana believes that the current UNSC resolutions have been sufficient to address the crisis. Ghana would like the United Nations to continue its support for ASEAN and the Five-Point Consensus. However, as the crisis in Myanmar continues with no end in sight, it may be necessary to start applying pressure on the military government to give up its power. Despite this, it is still Ghana’s firm belief that peaceful dialogue is the ideal means to re-establish democracy. Ghana would like the international community to recall the events of 2008-2015: in 2008, the previous ruling military regime established a new constitution and set up a transition to democracy. The start was rocky, involving a contested 2010 national election, but 2015 saw the first free and fair elections in Myanmar’s history. Much of this was due to the Union Election Commission (UEC), which oversaw election proceedings. Ghana is hopeful that a similar process can re-introduce democracy into Myanmar, and the junta will be similarly willing to relinquish its power. Ghana would like the UEC to adopt new standards to increase election security, including removing voter restrictions, creating a path for judicial appeal, and reducing corruption in campaign donations. Because much of the current humanitarian crisis is a direct result of military rule, Ghana believes that expanding democracy will be at least as effective, if not more, than traditional humanitarian aid.
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