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UN Chief Tells Myanmar Army: "Stop Repression"

 The main UN human rights body has opened its first and highest meeting of 2021, amid growing concerns over issues such as the military coup in Myanmar, the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny in Russia and rights situations. in countries like Ethiopia and Sri Lanka. .

UN Chief Tells Myanmar Army: "Stop Repression"

The four-week session of the Human Rights Council, which began Monday, has attracted several presidents and prime ministers for its "high-level segment," with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro ready to speak.

The United States is ready to renew its membership on the council after a two-and-a-half-year strike during the term of former President Donald Trump.

Concerns about China's treatment of the Uighur minority, a squeeze from the Ethiopian government in the country's Tigray region and state-sponsored violence in countries like Nicaragua will likely come under scrutiny during the session.

"Every corner of the world is suffering from the disease of human rights violations," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

UN Chief Tells Myanmar Army: "Stop Repression"
Demonstrators rally to protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 22, 2021

The military coup and the violent crackdown on protesters in Myanmar since early February was one of the most pressing items on the council's agenda.

"Today, I call on the Myanmar military to stop the crackdown immediately," Guterres said, speaking in a pre-recorded video message at the opening of the 46th session of the Geneva-based council.

“Free the prisoners. End the violence. Respect human rights and the will of the people expressed in the last elections, ”he said, insisting that“ coups have no place in our modern world.

“We see the undermining of democracy, the use of brutal force, arbitrary arrests, repression in all its manifestations. Civic space restrictions. Attacks on civil society. Gross violations against minorities without accountability, including what has rightly been called ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population. The list goes on. "

The session, almost exclusively online, comes as the fight against COVID-19 has become a pretext adopted by some governments to curb human rights, as the pandemic exacerbated gender inequality and extreme poverty, even as Vaccination efforts have largely been carried out in the world's richest countries.

Guterres also denounced racism, discrimination, xenophobia and the "transnational threat" from white supremacy and neo-Nazi movements, saying that these groups are "engaged in a frenzy of hatred."

"Too often, these hate groups are hailed by people who hold positions of responsibility in ways that were not considered unimaginable not long ago," he added, without elaborating.

Foreign Ministers, including Heiko Maas of Germany and Dominic Raab of Great Britain, were to be accompanied by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to address the session.

Trump had removed the United States from the Human Rights Council for what he cited as concerns that the council was "excessively focused" on Israel and had been too accepting of governments that regularly violate human rights, citing Venezuela in particular.

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