Myanmar: UN Security Council resolution a small but important step in addressing human rights crisis

After the UN Security Council today adopted a long-overdue resolution demanding an end to the violence and immediate release of all arbitrarily detained persons, Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said:  

“With the adoption of this resolution, the Security Council has finally taken a small but important step to acknowledge the dire situation in Myanmar. The Council must now follow up with regular open meetings and enforce its demands with additional resolutions under Chapter VII.” 

The resolution failed to include other measures urgently needed to address the situation in the country, including a comprehensive arms embargo, targeted sanctions against military leaders responsible for grave human rights violations, and a referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court.    

“The military authorities must abide by the resolution, immediately end the violence and release arbitrarily detained prisoners. The Council should further proceed to impose a comprehensive arms embargo, including on aviation fuel, and targeted sanctions against military leaders,” said Callamard.  

“This resolution should be a message to the Myanmar military that they cannot continue their grave human rights violations and attacks against civilians. The Council is watching.” 


Amnesty International continues to call on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as soon as possible, in order to begin to address the impunity which has prevailed for both the atrocities against the Rohingya and crimes committed since the February 2021 coup. The Council has only twice used its power to refer atrocity situations to the ICC (Sudan & Libya), and must now urgently refer the grievous situation in Myanmar. 

Almost two years after the February 2021 military coup, over 1.4 million people are displaced inside Myanmar, more than 13,000 people are detained in inhumane conditions, at least 73 people remain on death row, and 7.8 million children are out of school.  

The Myanmar military has killed more than 2,600 people since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The victims include peaceful protesters, pro-democracy activists and other civilians. The Myanmar military has flagrantly ignored calls to respect human rights, including the ASEAN five-point consensus which they agreed to implement in April 2021.  

The atrocities since last year’s coup follow the brutal military campaign of crimes against humanity in 2017 that drove out more than 740,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State into Bangladesh by extrajudicial executions, arson and sexual assault. An estimated one million Rohingya refugees now live in Bangladesh, and many of their villages back in Rakhine State have been wiped from the map.