Security Council calls for release of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, pledging support for democratic transition

The United Nations (UN) Security Council expressed “deep concern” over the military takeover in Myanmar, calling for the immediate release of the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and President Win Myint.

In a Thursday press statement the Security Council “emphasized the need for the continued support of the democratic transition” in Myanmar, after a military junta was installed on Monday ending five years of civilian rule, announcing that it was taking power for the period of a year before fresh elections.

The members of the Security Council expressed concern at the restrictions on civil society, journalists and media workers.  They also called for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need, including through the re‑establishment of United Nations relief flights.

Myanmar’s military rulers reportedly blocked access to Facebook across the country on Thursday, for several days, which news reports suggest is used by around half of Myanmar’s 54 million citizens, as a primary source of information. The social media giant has issued a statement urging the authorities to restore connectivity.

On Wednesday, Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with the illegal possession of walkie-talkies, which were allegedly imported illegally, and remanded in custody.

The military leadership has accused the democratically elected government of failing to investigate voter fraud allegations in recent elections that gave the governing National League for Democracy, a large majority.

The statement said that the council encourage “the pursuance of dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”

In remarks on Wednesday during a discussion hosted online by the Washington Post, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said the UN would work to mobilize the international community “to make sure that this coup fails.”

“It is absolutely unacceptable after elections — elections that I believe took place normally. And after a large period of transition, it is absolutely unacceptable to reverse the result of the elections and the will of the people”.

“I hope that democracy will be able to make progress again in Myanmar”, said the UN chief. “But for that, all the prisoners must be released, the constitutional order must be re-established, and I hope that the international community will be able to come together.”

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