Standing with the people and protecting them, urges the UN expert in human rights – global issues


UN News: There have been many calls from the people of Myanmar for the responsibility to protect, what do you think of these calls … Is the responsibility to protect a possibility that should be explored under the current circumstances? Or is it extreme or unrealistic?

The Special Rapporteur: No, I think it is very reasonable. First of all, the responsibility to protect is very clear that governments and states themselves have a responsibility to protect their people.

But then he continues and acknowledges that sometimes these countries cannot always act to protect their people. Then there are cases when countries will not act to protect their people. And in this case, here is a country that is really attacking its own people.

Therefore, according to The responsibility to protectConsequently, the international community has a responsibility to do everything in its power to protect the lives of innocent people in countries that are unable or unwilling to do so, or that are in fact attacking them.

I think this is certainly appropriate, this is where we have a responsibility to protect. And the seventh chapter [of the UN Charter, by which the Council can use force]; Use of this is one of the reasons why Security Council Exist, to participate in this type of emergency only.

So the question becomes, what do you do, how do you behave, what is the best course of action? Some believe – it is a misconception – that the R2P or the R2P means military engagement. Not what you mean. Military engagement is an option, but it is not what the R2P principle represents.

R2P means going for protection in the best possible way. We need to consider options within certain criteria. The options that have the strongest influence on the junta, but also, will have the lowest negative impact on the people. Protect the people of Myanmar.

I fear that any kind of military intervention will lead to heavy casualties.

The military is already starting to invent stories about what it faces. From the start, she said she used the utmost restraint – her language – to confront violent protests, but we hadn’t seen anything like that. We have seen increased violence and increased brutality by the military. We saw peaceful and unarmed protesters.

This is also the reason for cutting off information, and the reason why the Military Council did everything in its power to cut off the flow of information is because it discovered that its appeals to the world not to believe our region, but to believe its propaganda – was not working.

I believe that the junta is trained to deal with an enemy that uses weapons of war. This is their training. They have a large arsenal of weapons and a very large military force. But they are showing that they are incapable of dealing with an opposition that has weapons of peace.

With this amazing civil disobedience movement that we are seeing across the country, this powerful, creative and stubborn movement in which people use a combination of ingenious tactics, including civil disobedience and boycotting companies owned by the military.

This is very powerful and has generated immense admiration and respect for people [of Myanmar] From the world.

So, it would be a mistake for this to become, in fact, a full-fledged military confrontation. I think the brutality that was released would be more terrifying than what we see now. It would be a significant increase in the loss of innocent lives, and this should be avoided.

I understand, listen, if my wife or child or my brother or sister were killed or killed by this regime, I also want revenge. That would be my instinct I totally understand where people are coming from, but that would be, in my opinion, a mistake, a very fatal mistake, and I hope it doesn’t.

A monk walks towards the Pagoda near Yangon, Myanmar.

Unsplash / Anika Mikkelson

A monk walks towards the Pagoda near Yangon, Myanmar.


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