PH not part of UN resolution calling for release of Myanmar leader

Published February 13, 2021, 2:33 PM

by Raymund Antonio

The Philippines is “disassociating” itself from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution that called for the release of Myanmar’s civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

In a statement for the Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights implications of the crisis in Myanmar, the Philippines said it was joining China, Russia, Venezuela, and Bolivia in disassociating itself from the resolution that was issued “without calling for a vote.”

“As a sovereign country in a world of sovereign states, the Philippines cannot stress strongly enough the primacy of national internal efforts towards democratic reforms, and never by the imposition of foreign solutions whether in regional or multilateral contexts, including through this Council,” the statement read.

“We reaffirm our support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar.”

On Friday, the top UN human rights body called on Myanmar’s military to release Suu Kyi, who was captured along with other political leaders earlier this month and refrain from using violence against people protesting the coup.

Myanmar’s army detained the popular democratic leader, who herself has fallen from grace following her government’s actions against the Rohingya Muslims, after issues of “election fraud.” The army handed the power to military chief Min Aung Hlaing and imposed a state of emergency for one year as it pledged to hold new elections.

In the recent elections, Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy secured enough seats in parliament to form Myanmar’s new government.

“The Philippines has been supportive of Myanmar’s progress towards a fuller democracy, cognizant of the Army’s role in preserving its territorial integrity and national security, as well as the unifying role of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in the history of the country and Army her father founded,” the statement addressed to the council’s chief said.

“Myanmar made important strides towards democratization in the past decade with the political presence of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, constitutional constraints on her key political role notwithstanding.”

The statement added that the Philippines “will settle for nothing less than, and nothing else but the complete restoration of the status quo in which Myanmar had made so much progress” and on which “the full realization” of Myanmar’s democratic process “can only be achieved.”

The UN Human Rights Council has been critical of the Philippines’ human rights situation, particularly in its war on drugs campaign. Last year, it called on Philippine authorities to release Senator Leila de Lima, who has been detained for nearly four years on “politically motivated charges.”