The U.N. Security Council approved its first-ever resolution on Myanmar on Wednesday, demanding an immediate end to violence in the Southeast Asian nation and urging its military rulers to release all “arbitrarily detained” prisoners including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and to restore democratic institutions.

The resolution reiterated the call by the 15-member council for the country’s opposing parties to pursue dialogue and reconciliation and urged all sides “to respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.”

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

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward, whose country sponsored the resolution, said it is the first adopted by the U.N.’s most powerful body since the country, formerly known as Burma, joined the United Nations in 1948.

It is the result of the military overturning the results of a democratic election and seizing power on Feb. 1, 2021, plunging the country into a series of cascading crises with “negative consequences for the region and its stability,” she said.

“Today we’ve sent a firm message to the military, that there should be a no doubt we expect this resolution to be implemented in full,” Woodward said. “We stand with the people of Myanmar. It is time for the junta to return the country to them.”


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