Myanmar: UN special session welcome first step, but concrete action required 

Myanmar: UN special session welcome first step, but concrete action required

Responding to the announcement today that the UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Myanmar on 11 February, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Research, Emerlynne Gil, said:

“It is critical that the international community uses all the tools at its disposal to respond to the Myanmar military’s assault on human rights. Myanmar’s military leadership includes perpetrators of crimes against international law, and they cannot be allowed to terrorize the country unchecked.

“There is no time to waste. At least 150 people have been detained since 1 February 2021, and members of the civilian government remain under house arrest. Many human rights defenders are in hiding. We are especially concerned for displaced populations, ethnic minorities, and people in conflict-affected areas – we know what this military is capable of.

“Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets around the country demonstrating against the military takeover, risking arrest and physical harm. The international community must stand up for all those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association in Myanmar, and do everything in their power to protect them from harm.

“Concrete action by the Human Rights Council is critical to halt and prevent further human rights violations on the ground. States must work towards a meaningful outcome from this week’s special session, including by ensuring enhanced monitoring and reporting of the human rights situation as it unfolds, and concrete steps to deter future violations.

“This action by the Human Rights Council should be seen as complementary to – and certainly not an alternative to – the important action still needed from the UN Security Council.”


Amnesty International issued a  with 12 other human rights organizations on 5 February, urging the Human Rights Council to convene a special session. On 8 February, the UK  that the UK together with the EU, would lead the convening of a Human Rights Council special session on Myanmar on Thursday 11 February 2021.

Myanmar: New internet blackout “heinous and reckless”
Responding to credible reports of a widespread mobile internet blackout underway in Myanmar, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, said:
“To shut down the internet amid a volatile coup, a humanitarian crisis and a health pandemic is a heinous and reckless decision.
“Since the 1 February coup, people in Myanmar have been forced into a situation of abject uncertainty. An expanded internet shutdown will put them at greater risk of more egregious human rights violations at the hands of the military.
“The military must re-establish all telecommunications immediately and stop putting people’s rights in danger. All mobile operators and telecommunications providers in Myanmar must seek urgent clarification from the Myanmar authorities.”

On 6 February, the Myanmar military reportedly ordered telecommunications companies in the country to fully shut down internet and 4G services. According to information received by Amnesty International, the effective blackout will be in operation until Monday 8 February.
An earlier , on 5 February, instructed telecommunications companies to block access to Twitter and Instagram.

On 4 February, the military had already announced that they were ordering telecoms operators to block access to Facebook until 7 February.

As the 1 February military coup was underway, internet and phone outages were reported in several parts of the country, including in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, the largest city, Yangon, as well as Shan and Kachin States and the Mandalay and Sagaing regions. Access was later reestablished.

There have also been mobile internet restrictions in conflict-affected areas of Rakhine and Chin States in the country for more than a year. 4G internet access in those areas was reportedly restored late in the evening on 2 February 2021.

Such restrictions pose a real danger to at-risk civilian populations, especially when access to information is so vital during the COVID-19 pandemic – and even more so when the situation on the ground is so tense amid the coup, and in conflict-affected areas.

Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights independent of state actions or obligations, and over and above compliance with national laws.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Amnesty International’s press office in London, UK, on:
+44 20 7413 5566
twitter: @amnestypress


Myanmar: Several injured as security forces violently quash peaceful protests

Responding to reports that several people were injured as security forces violently dispersed peaceful protests today in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital of Myanmar, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Research, Emerlynne Gil, said:

“As many feared, the Myanmar authorities are responding to growing peaceful protests with unnecessary and excessive use of force.

“At such an extremely volatile time, authorities must respect and ensure the right to peaceful protests, and not prohibit, restrict, block, disperse or disrupt peaceful protests without compelling justification.

“Ensuring that the protests remain peaceful does not mean subjecting those who participate in them to rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons.

“As protests across Myanmar continue to grow, it is vital that the authorities respect the people’s right to peacefully express their grievances collectively.”


Tens of thousands took to the streets across many cities in Myanmar today, including Nay Pyi Taw and the country’s two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay.

According to BBC Burmese, seven individuals, of which at least one is female, were injured during a peaceful protest in Nay Pyi Taw.

In policing protests, security forces should always respect, protect and ensure the human rights of organizers and participants. Security forces must also ensure the safety and security of journalists, observers and other members of the public observing the protests.

Amnesty also calls on the UN Security Council to impose targeted financial sanctions against Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other military leaders responsible for atrocity crimes against various ethnic minorities across the country, including the Rohingya. The Security Council must also impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar, and crucially, refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.