GENEVA: The UN’s top human rights body passed a consensus resolution on Friday urging military leaders in Myanmar to immediately release Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian government leaders detained after a military coup, while watering down an initial draft text amid pressure led by China and Russia.
In a special session at the Human Rights Council, the original resolution presented by Britain and the European Union was revised to remove calls to bolster the ability of a UN rights expert to scrutinise Myanmar and for restraint from the country’s military. After the updated resolution passed with no opposition, Chinese ambassador Chen Xu thanked the sponsors for “adopting our recommendations” but said China still was distancing itself from the measure.
The council has no power to impose sanctions but can train a political spotlight on rights abuses and violations. The resolution also called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint, and other government officials, a lifting of internet curbs and unimpeded humanitarian access. The initial wording that had urged the military to “exercise utmost restraint” was altered to stress “the need to refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law”, with no reference to the military.
In Myanmar, Friday’s protests the biggest so far. Three people were wounded when police fired rubber bullets to break up a crowd in Mawlamyine, a Red Cross official said. “Three got shot – one woman in the womb, one man on his cheek and one man on his arm,” Kyaw Myint, the official, said.