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The UN human rights body supports measures against Myanmar and investigations in Iran

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.’s top human rights body agreed Thursday to measures aimed at putting pressure on Myanmar and Iran, whose governments are accused of using force against their own people.

The Human Rights Council, made up of 47 member states, unanimously backed a measure calling on governments to avoid exporting or selling jet fuel to Myanmar if they believe the ruling military junta could use the fuel to undermine human rights in the war-ravaged country. violate. Southeast Asian country.

It also urged a halt to the illegal transfer of weapons, ammunition and other military equipment to Myanmar.

An independent expert commissioned by the council warned last month that Myanmar’s military government is escalating violence against civilians as the country faces more battlefield setbacks against pro-democracy and ethnic armed groups.

The military seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi more than three years ago, sparking widespread nonviolent opposition that was met with deadly force. The repression led to armed resistance and plunged the country into civil war.

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Advocacy group Amnesty International has repeatedly highlighted illegal fuel shipments into Myanmar and in January pointed to transportation data that pointed to efforts to avoid sanctions in the jet fuel supply chain. It said at least seven shipments of the fuel went to Myanmar last year, with direct connections to a storage unit in Vietnam.

Vietnam, which currently holds one of the seats on the council, did not stand in the way of the council’s consensus.

“This is an important message from the UN’s leading human rights body that ‘business as usual’ is not acceptable in supplying jet fuel to those who use air strikes to commit war crimes,” said Iniyan Ilango, Amnesty’s representative to the UN in Geneva.

He said it was “a good start” but the UN Security Council should impose a suspension of direct and indirect shipments of jet fuel to Myanmar, saying such a move would have a significant impact on the ground because it would help prevent the military from continuing its airstrikes, “many of which constituted war crimes.”

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The decision on Myanmar came as the council was wrapping up its first session of the year, which began on February 26, with action on more than 40 resolutions on issues as diverse as the rights of the child, the environment and human rights, and prevention. of genocide and rights situations in councils such as Sudan, Belarus and North Korea.

One resolution expected to appear in the final of Friday’s session calls on countries to stop sending weapons to Israel amid the military campaign in Gaza, which has led to the killing of nearly 33,000 Palestinians as response to the murderous attacks in Israel by armed militants on October 7. .

In other action, the council voted 24-8, with 15 abstentions, to adopt a resolution to extend for one year the investigation into human rights in Iran by two separate teams – one led by a “special rapporteur” which examines the general rights situation. and another by a “fact-finding mission” focusing on rights violations related to protests since September 2022.

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Members of the mission told the council last month that the Iranian government was responsible for “physical violence” that led to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in a hospital after her arrest by the country’s vice squad for allegedly not wearing her hijab, according to the authorities.

Amini’s death sparked huge protests and a months-long security crackdown left more than 500 people dead and more than 22,000 arrested.

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