UN must reject Myanmar junta’s request for credentials

The following testimony was delivered by Hannah Hyams, Morris B. Abram Fellow at UN Watch, before the 49th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in an enhanced interactive dialogue on the report of the Secretary-General: “A brief and independent inquiry into the involvement of the United Nations in Myanmar from 2010 to 2018,” 18 March 2022. 

Mr. President, before the United Nations today is a dispute: Myanmar’s military rulers are vying for the UN credentials now held by the democratically-elected government which they overthrew last year by a coup d’état.

UN Watch takes the floor today to urge the General Assembly to reject the junta’s request.

The criteria for deciding such disputes are ill-defined. In the past, the General Assembly has considered effective control of territory. However, in more recent cases, its Credentials Committee has looked to other factors, namely, democratic legitimacy and respect for human rights.

Therefore, given that the coup was a violation of the 2008 Constitution, and followed the military’s refusal to accept the results of Myanmar’s November 2020 election;

Given that the military junta has killed over 1,600 civilians and wielded violence as a form of population control;

Given that, by the High Commissioner’s own account, the junta has shown “flagrant disregard for human life,” detaining and displacing hundreds of thousands of people;

Given that, rather than protecting their own people, the security forces have been the primary threats to them, committing violations that amount to crimes against humanity;

Given that the junta has violated the fundamental norms of international human rights law, and has shown blatant disregard for the purposes and principles of the UN Charter;

We hereby call on the General Assembly to reject the request by the Myanmar junta to be accredited here at the United Nations.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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