The resolution calls on Myanmar's junta to "immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners" and end all forms of violence.

The council vote was 12-0 with three abstentions, China, Russia and India.
The council vote was 12-0 with three abstentions, China, Russia and India. (AFP)

The UN Security Council has called for Myanmar's junta to release Aung San Suu Kyi as it adopted its first-ever resolution on the situation in the turmoil-ridden Southeast Asian country.

The resolution on Wednesday reiterated the call by the 15-member council for the country to uphold democratic institutions and respect human rights.

It "urges" the junta to "immediately release all arbitrarily detained prisoners," including Suu Kyi and ex-president Win Myint.

It also demands "an immediate end to all forms of violence" and asks for "all parties to respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law."

Suu Kyi, 77, has been a prisoner since the army toppled her government almost two years ago and violently cracked down on dissent.

The council vote was 12-0 with three abstentions, China, Russia and India.

The resolution is the first adopted by the UN’s most powerful body since the country formerly known as Burma joined the United Nations in 1948, according to the United Kingdom, which drafted it.

UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said before Wednesday's vote that Secretary General Antonio Guterres remains “extremely concerned” about the deteriorating humanitarian situation and human rights in Myanmar.

“Any opportunity for the Security Council to speak with one strong, united voice on any issue and especially on Myanmar would be much welcomed,” Dujarric said.

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Division over Myanmar

The 15-member Council has been split on Myanmar for decades and was only able to agree on formal statements about the country, which has been under military rule since February 2021.

Diplomats said the only existing Council resolution regarding Myanmar was the one the UN passed in 1948 approving the country's membership to the world body.

In 2008, the Council failed to adopt a draft resolution on Myanmar after Beijing and Moscow cast vetoes.

Then in December 2018, Britain made another attempt following the Rohingya crisis that saw 700,000 people flee Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh, but a vote was never held.

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Britain began circulating a draft text of Wednesday's resolution in September. Several amendments were made to ensure its passing, UN watchers say.

Language relating to the Council's determination to use all its powers should Myanmar fail to adhere to the resolution was reportedly dropped.

Several members also objected to a provision requesting the UN secretary general to report to the Council on the situation in Myanmar every 60 days.

Instead, the resolution calls for the secretary general or his envoy to report back by March 15, 2023, in coordination with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Council had issued one unified statement on Myanmar since the coup ended the country's brief period of democracy.

Crackdown on democracy

The military alleged widespread voter fraud during the November 2020 election, won resoundingly by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, although international observers said the poll was largely free and fair.

A junta court has found the Nobel laureate guilty on every one of the 14 charges it has heard so far, including corruption, and jailed her for 26 years.

Rights groups have slammed the trial as a sham designed to remove the democracy figurehead permanently from Myanmar's political scene.

The military's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters has killed more than 2,500 people, according to a local monitoring group.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies