A press statement carries less weight than an official resolution, and can serve as a way of achieving consensus among Security Council members that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. The body appears to be constrained from taking more serious action because two of its permanent members, Russia and China, maintain warm relations with Myanmar’s current government.
The Security Council statement, issued late Wednesday in New York, said it “underlined the importance of steps to improve the health and humanitarian situation in Myanmar, including to facilitate the equitable, safe and unhindered delivery and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.”
It also called for “full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all people in need, and for the full protection, safety and security of humanitarian and medical personnel.” The security situation in Myanmar, as well as the difficulties that aid agencies face in getting permission from the government to operate in remote areas, have greatly restricted the flow of assistance.
Martin Griffiths warned that without an end to violence and a peaceful resolution of Myanmar’s crisis, “this number will only rise.”
The government said the envoy cannot meet her because of her legal situation. Its failure to allow access resulted in ASEAN not allowing Myanmar’s leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, to attend a regional summit last month, an unprecedented rebuke to a fellow member of the organization.
“Words and statements of ‘concern’ from the highest authority of the world body disregard the real threats against human security that is experienced by the people of Myanmar at the hands of the junta who continues to slaughter innocent people with total impunity,” said Khin Ohmar of Progressive Voice, a research and advocacy organization for human rights and social reform.
“The escalating violence in Myanmar is an embarrassment and a testament to the repeated failures of the U.N. system that challenges the relevancy of the U.N. Security Council to maintain international peace and security,” she said.