UN Security Council: Adopt Global Arms Embargo on Myanmar

UN Security Council: Adopt Global Arms Embargo on Myanmar

5 May 2021

We, the undersigned organizations, call on the United Nations Security Council to urgently impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar to help prevent further violations of human rights against peaceful protesters and others opposing military rule. In recent weeks, Myanmar security forces have killed hundreds of people,  including dozens of children, merely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. 

Since the February 1, 2021 coup, Myanmar’s military junta has responded with increasing brutality to nationwide protests calling for the restoration of democratic civilian rule. As of May 4, security forces have killed at least 769  people, including 51 children as young as 6, and arbitrarily detained several thousand activists, journalists, civil servants,  and politicians. Hundreds have been forcibly disappeared, the authorities unwilling to provide information on their well-being or where they are being held. Over the past few months, the military has demonstrated a callous disregard for human life that has driven its strategy for decades. In video footage from cities and towns across the country, soldiers can be seen shooting down protesters, including children, brutally beating medical aid workers, and firing shotguns into crowds of peacefully protesting doctors. 

In addition to the latest violations of human rights, Myanmar’s security forces have a history of grave abuses against peaceful critics of the government and military, and war crimes and other international crimes against the Rohingya and other ethnic minority groups. Of particular note is the military’s widely documented use of sexual and gender-based violence as a weapon against ethnic communities. 

No government should sell a single bullet to the junta under these circumstances. Imposing a global arms embargo on  Myanmar is the minimum necessary step the Security Council should take in response to the military’s escalating violence. Arms and materiel provided to Myanmar’s security forces are likely to be used by the security forces to commit abuses in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law. 

For this reason, the undersigned organizations urge the United Kingdom, the Security Council’s “penholder” on  Myanmar, and other Security Council member states to begin negotiations on a resolution authorizing an arms embargo as soon as possible. This will demonstrate to the junta that there will be no more business as usual. 

Security Council members have increasingly spoken with one voice on Myanmar. The Council has called for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others arbitrarily detained, including civilian leaders. It has condemned the military’s crackdown on peaceful protesters and called for an end to the ongoing violence. But unity is not an end in itself. The Council should now build on that unity and negotiate a resolution that would include an arms embargo and other substantive measures.  

A comprehensive UN arms embargo on Myanmar should bar the direct and indirect supply, sale, or transfer of all weapons, munitions, and other military-related equipment, including dual-use goods such as vehicles and communications and surveillance equipment, as well as the provision of training, intelligence, and other military assistance. Such an embargo should be accompanied by robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. 

We note with disappointment the failure of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) April 24, 2021 summit to take more robust action to protect Myanmar’s people. Less than a day after the summit’s conclusions were published, the military’s violence continued, which only highlights the need for UN member countries and the  Security Council to take decisive action to pressure the junta to reverse course. 

The time for statements has passed. The Security Council should take its consensus on Myanmar to a new level and agree on immediate and substantive action. An arms embargo would be the centerpiece of a global effort to protect the people of Myanmar from further atrocities and help bring an end to impunity for crimes under international law

Myanmar’s people cannot afford to wait any longer for the Security Council to take action. 


  1. ACAT-France 
  2. Access Now 
  3. Act Church of Sweden 
  4. Action Committee for Democracy Development 
  5. Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) 
  6. Africa Centre for Security, Governance and Research
  7. African Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace
  8. Alliance for Democracy in Laos 
  9. ALTSEAN Burma 
  10. Amnesty International 
  11. Arakan Institute for Peace and Development (AiPAD)
  12. Arakan Rohingya National Organization 
  13. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights 
  14. Asia Democracy Network 
  15. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  16. Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP)
  17. Association for Public Policy – APP (Argentina) 
  18. Association INFO BIRMANIE (Info Burma) 
  19. AVAAZ 
  20. Baptist Union of Denmark 
  21. Burma Campaign UK 
  22. Burma Human Rights Network 
  23. Burma Task Force 
  24. Burmese Rohingya Organization UK 
  25. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies 
  26. Calgary Karen Community (CKCA) 
  27. California Shan Society 
  28. Cameroon Youths and Students Forum for Peace
  29. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) 
  30. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization 
  31. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative 
  32. Center for Justice and Accountability 
  33. Center for Peace Education – Miriam College 
  34. Center for Victims of Torture 
  35. Centre Delas for Peace Studies 
  36. Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos, A.C. – México 
  37. Chin Human Rights Organization 
  38. Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) 
  39. CIVICUS 
  40. Civil Rights Defenders 
  41. Committee of 100 in Finland 
  42. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) 
  43. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization
  44. Control Arms 
  45. Cordaid 
  46. Dallas Ft. Worth Karen Community 
  47. Dallas Karen Baptist Church, TX 
  48. Danish United Nations Association 
  49. Danmission 
  50. DEEKU, the Karenni Community, USA 
  51. EarthRights International 
  52. Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization
  53. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights
  54. FOMICRES, Mozambique 
  55. Fortify Rights 
  56. Forum on Disarmament and Development (FDD)
  57. FundiPau (Fundacio per la Pau) 
  58. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  59. Global Justice Center 
  60. Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD)
  61. Global Network of Women Peacebuilders 
  62. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
  63. Global Witness 
  64. Good Neighbors 
  65. Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights 
  66. HelpAge International 
  67. Human Rights Foundation of Monland (Thailand)
  68. Human Rights Information and Training Center
  69. Human Rights Watch 
  70. Institute for Asian Democracy 
  71. Institute for Justice and Reconciliation 
  72. Institute for Statelessness and Inclusion 
  73. International Campaign for the Rohingya 
  74. International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
  75. International Commission of Jurists 
  76. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  77. International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School
  78. International Karen Organization, Australia
  79. International Service for Human Rights 
  80. International State Crime Initiative  
  81. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs Ipas (Myanmar) 
  82. Jewish Rohingya Justice Network 
  83. Kachin Community UK 
  84. Kachin National Organization USA 
  85. Kachin Women Action Thailand 
  86. Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT)
  87. Kansas Karenni Community, KS 
  88. Karen Youth Education Pathways USA 
  89. Karen American Association of Wisconsin  
  90. Karen Association of Huron, SD 
  91. Karen Community of Akron, OH 
  92. Karen Community of Canada (KCC) 
  93. Karen Community of Czech Republic 
  94. Karen Community of Finland 
  95. Karen Community of Hamilton 
  96. Karen Community of Iowa, IA 
  97. Karen Community of Ireland 
  98. Karen Community of Israel 
  99. Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO
  100. Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo
  101. Karen Community of Leamington 
  102. Karen Community of Lethbridge 
  103. Karen Community of London 
  104. Karen Community of Minnesota, MN 
  105. Karen Community of North Carolina
  106. Karen Community of Ottawa 
  107. Karen Community of Regina 
  108. Karen Community of Rochester 
  109. Karen Community of Rock Island, IL 
  110. Karen Community of Saskatoon 
  111. Karen Community of Syracuse, NY 
  112. Karen Community of Thunderbay 
  113. Karen Community of Toronto 
  114. Karen Community of Windsor 
  115. Karen Community of Winnipeg 
  116. Karen Community Society of British Columbia 
  117. Karen Organization of America 
  118. Karen Thai Group 
  119. Karen Youth Networks 
  120. Karen Youth of Norway 
  121. Karen Youth of Toronto 
  122. Karen Youth Organization, Thailand 
  123. Karenni American Association, USA 
  124. Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY 
  125. Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA 
  126. Karenni Community of Georgia, GA 
  127. Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN 
  128. Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA 
  129. Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN 
  130. Karenni Community of Missouri, MO 
  131. Karenni Community of New York, NY 
  132. Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC 
  133. Karenni Community of Portland, OR 
  134. Karenni Community of Texas 
  135. Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI 
  136. Karenni National Women’s Organization 
  137. Karenni Society of Minnesota North East 
  138. Karenni-American Catholic Association 
  139. Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists
  140. Khmers Kampuchea-Kron Federation (KKF) 
  141. KontraS 
  142. Korea Karen Organization 
  143. Korea Karen Youth Organization 
  144. Latin American and Caribbean Human Security Network (SEHLAC)
  145. L’chaim! Jews Against The Death Penalty 
  146. Liberia Action Network on Small Arms 
  147. MADRE 
  148. Mechanism of Search for Peace and Development Initiative 
  149. Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Office
  150. Mensen met een Missie 
  151. Myanmar Trust UK 
  152. Nadia’s Initiative 
  153. Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative 
  154. Never Again Coalition 
  155. No Business With Genocide 
  156. Nonviolence International 
  157. Oversea Karen Organization Japan 
  158. Pa-O Youth Organization (PYO)
  159. Parliamentarians for Global Action 
  160. PAX 
  161. Pax Christi International 
  162. Pax Christi Philippines  
  163. PEN Myanmar 
  164. People’s Federation for National Peace and Development
  165. People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD)
  166. Progressive Voice 
  167. Reconstructing Judaism 
  168. Refugees International 
  169. Relief Action Network for IDP and Refugee (RANIR) 
  170. RFK Human Rights 
  171. Rights for Peace 
  172. Rohingya American Society 
  173. Rohingya Intellectuals Community Association, Australia 
  174. Rohingya Organization Norway 
  175. Rohingya Women Welfare Association 
  176. Rohingya Youth Association 
  177. Saferworld Europe 
  178. South East Asia Movement for Human Rights & Justice
  179. Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes
  180. Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa
  181. Sustainable Peace and Development Organization 
  182. Swedish Burma Committee 
  183. Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society 
  184. The Arakan Project, Myanmar 
  185. The Kachin Relief Fund 
  186. The Shalom Center 
  187. The Zambian Network for Human Rights Defenders
  188. TRANSCEND Pilipinas  
  189. Unitarian Universalist Association 
  190. United Nations Association – UK 
  191. United Nations Association of Sweden 
  192. US Campaign for Burma 
  193. Vision GRAM-International 
  194. Waging Peace 
  195. West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) 
  196. Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal 
  197. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
  198. Women’s International Peace Centre 
  199. Women’s Peace Network 
  200. Women’s Refugee Commission 
  201. World Council of Churches 
  202. World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Peace
  203. Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN) 
  204. Yanshuf Coalition, Israel
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