Clinic Joins 200+ Orgs in Calling on UN Security Council to Impose Arms Embargo on Myanmar

(May 5, 2021) — The International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School joins over 200 other civil society organizations, including the U.S. Campaign for Burma, Human Rights Watch, GCR2P, Global Justice Center and Amnesty International, in calling on the United Nations Security Council to urgently impose a comprehensive global arms embargo on Myanmar. The letter responds to the current crisis in Myanmar, beginning with a February 1, 2021 coup that has spiraled into increasing brutality and violence against civilians, including dozens of children. The organizations urge the UN Security Council to help prevent further violations of human rights against peaceful protestors and those opposing military rule by halting the arms trade with the military junta. Read the full letter below or download it at this link.

Image of protestors kneeling over a memorial with text that says, "Not One Bullet More: Ban Weapons Sales to Myanmar"

Global Civil Society Statement on Myanmar

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. 



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Act Church of Sweden 

Action Committee for Democracy Development 

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) 

Africa Centre for Security, Governance and Research 

African Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace 

Alliance for Democracy in Laos 


Amnesty International 

Arakan Institute for Peace and Development (AiPAD) 

Arakan Rohingya National Organization 

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights 

Asia Democracy Network 

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) 

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) 

Association for Public Policy – APP (Argentina) 

Association INFO BIRMANIE (Info Burma) 


Baptist Union of Denmark 

Burma Campaign UK 

Burma Human Rights Network 

Burma Task Force 

Burmese Rohingya Organization UK 

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies 

Calgary Karen Community (CKCA) 

California Shan Society 

Cameroon Youths and Students Forum for Peace 

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) 

Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization 

Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative 

Center for Justice and Accountability 

Center for Peace Education – Miriam College 

Center for Victims of Torture 

Centre Delas for Peace Studies 

Centro de Estudios Ecuménicos, A.C. – México 

Chin Human Rights Organization 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) 


Civil Rights Defenders 

Committee of 100 in Finland 

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) 

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization 

Control Arms 


Dallas Ft. Worth Karen Community 

Dallas Karen Baptist Church, TX 

Danish United Nations Association 


DEEKU, the Karenni Community, USA 

EarthRights International 

Edmonton Karen Community Youth Organization 

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights 

FOMICRES, Mozambique 

Fortify Rights 

Forum on Disarmament and Development (FDD) 

FundiPau (Fundacio per la Pau) 

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect 

Global Justice Center 

Global Movement for Myanmar Democracy (GM4MD) 

Global Network of Women Peacebuilders 

Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict 

Global Witness 

Good Neighbors 

Hawai’i Institute for Human Rights 

HelpAge International 

Human Rights Foundation of Monland (Thailand) 

Human Rights Information and Training Center 

Human Rights Watch 

Institute for Asian Democracy 

Institute for Justice and Reconciliation 

Institute for Statelessness and Inclusion 

International Campaign for the Rohingya 

International Center for Not-for-Profit Law 

International Commission of Jurists 

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) 

International Human Rights Clinic, Harvard Law School 

International Karen Organization, Australia 

International Service for Human Rights 

International State Crime Initiative 

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs 

Ipas (Myanmar) 

Jewish Rohingya Justice Network 

Kachin Community UK 

Kachin National Organization USA 

Kachin Women Action Thailand 

Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT) 

Kansas Karenni Community, KS 

Karen Youth Education Pathways USA 

Karen American Association of Wisconsin 

Karen Association of Huron, SD 

Karen Community of Akron, OH 

Karen Community of Canada (KCC) 

Karen Community of Czech Republic 

Karen Community of Finland 

Karen Community of Hamilton 

Karen Community of Iowa, IA 

Karen Community of Ireland 

Karen Community of Israel 

Karen Community of Kansas City, KS & MO 

Karen Community of Kitchener & Waterloo 

Karen Community of Leamington 

Karen Community of Lethbridge 

Karen Community of London 

Karen Community of Minnesota, MN 

Karen Community of North Carolina 

Karen Community of Ottawa 

Karen Community of Regina 

Karen Community of Rochester 

Karen Community of Rock Island, IL 

Karen Community of Saskatoon 

Karen Community of Syracuse, NY 

Karen Community of Thunderbay 

Karen Community of Toronto 

Karen Community of Windsor 

Karen Community of Winnipeg 

Karen Community Society of British Columbia 

Karen Organization of America 

Karen Thai Group 

Karen Youth Networks 

Karen Youth of Norway 

Karen Youth of Toronto 

Karen Youth Organization, Thailand 

Karenni American Association, USA 

Karenni Community of Bowling Green, KY 

Karenni Community of Des Moines, IA 

Karenni Community of Georgia, GA 

Karenni Community of Indianapolis, IN 

Karenni Community of Massachusetts, MA 

Karenni Community of Minnesota, MN 

Karenni Community of Missouri, MO 

Karenni Community of New York, NY 

Karenni Community of North Carolina, NC 

Karenni Community of Portland, OR 

Karenni Community of Texas 

Karenni Community of Wisconsin, WI 

Karenni National Women’s Organization 

Karenni Society of Minnesota North East 

Karenni-American Catholic Association 

Kenya Section of the International Commission of Jurists 

Khmers Kampuchea-Kron Federation (KKF) 


Korea Karen Organization 

Korea Karen Youth Organization 

Latin American and Caribbean Human Security Network (SEHLAC) 

L’chaim! Jews Against The Death Penalty 

Liberia Action Network on Small Arms 


Mechanism of Search for Peace and Development Initiative 

Mennonite Central Committee United Nations Office 

Mensen met een Missie 

Myanmar Trust UK 

Nadia’s Initiative 

Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative 

Never Again Coalition 

No Business With Genocide 

Nonviolence International 

Oversea Karen Organization Japan 

Pa-O Youth Organization (PYO) 

Parliamentarians for Global Action 


Pax Christi International 

Pax Christi Philippines 

PEN Myanmar 

People’s Federation for National Peace and Development 

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) 

Progressive Voice 

Reconstructing Judaism 

Refugees International 

Relief Action Network for IDP and Refugee (RANIR) 

RFK Human Rights 

Rights for Peace 

Rohingya American Society 

Rohingya Intellectuals Community Association, Australia 

Rohingya Organization Norway 

Rohingya Women Welfare Association 

Rohingya Youth Association 

Saferworld Europe 

South East Asia Movement for Human Rights & Justice 

Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes 

Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa 

Sustainable Peace and Development Organization 

Swedish Burma Committee 

Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society 

The Arakan Project, Myanmar 

The Kachin Relief Fund 

The Shalom Center 

The Zambian Network for Human Rights Defenders 

TRANSCEND Pilipinas 

Unitarian Universalist Association 

United Nations Association – UK 

United Nations Association of Sweden 

US Campaign for Burma 

Vision GRAM-International 

Waging Peace 

West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) 

Women for Peace and Democracy Nepal 

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom 

Women’s International Peace Centre 

Women’s Peace Network 

Women’s Refugee Commission 

World Council of Churches 

World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Peace 

Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN) 

Yanshuf Coalition, Israel