Effort led by Human Rights Watch

We, the undersigned organizations, call on the United Nations Security Council and UN member states to urgently institute a coordinated, global arms embargo on Myanmar in response to the February 1, 2021 military coup that has deprived the people of Myanmar of the right to democratically elect their government. Our concerns are heightened by ongoing violations of human rights and the security forces’ history of grave abuses against peaceful critics of military rule, as well as against the Rohingya and other ethnic minority groups.

Under the commander-in-chief, Sr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the Myanmar military has detained the elected civilian leaders of the country, nullified the results of the November 2020 democratic elections, and installed a junta, the State Administration Council, under a manufactured “state of emergency.” Since February 1, the junta has increasingly used excessive and at times lethal force at demonstrations; threatened and arbitrarily detained activists, journalists, students, and civil servants; and imposed rolling internet shutdowns that put lives at risk.

Days after the coup, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “We will do everything we can to mobilize all the key actors and international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to make sure that this coup fails.” The UN special rapporteur on Myanmar has called for targeted UN sanctions on the military and an arms embargo, while the deputy high commissioner for human rights has voiced support for targeted UN sanctions on the coup leaders.

In that spirit, we urge the Security Council to immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar. Such a resolution 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. The embargo should be accompanied by robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

Any sale or transfer of military-related equipment to Myanmar could provide the means to further repress the people of Myanmar in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law.

Until the Council acts, individual UN member states should adopt measures at the national and regional levels to block sales and other transfers of weapons and materiel to Myanmar, with the goal of extending an arms embargo to as close to a global scale as possible.

For decades, the Security Council’s response to crimes by the Myanmar security forces has been inadequate, emboldening the military to continue committing abuses without fear of serious consequences. The current crisis demands a change in course.

On February 4, the Security Council spoke with a single voice to demand the release of all those arbitrarily detained and the protection of the country’s democratic institutions. Council members should use that newfound consensus to take swift and substantive action. An arms embargo would be the centerpiece of a global effort to shield the people of Myanmar from a return to abusive and autocratic rule.

The time to act is now.


  1. Access Now
  2. Advocacy Forum-Nepal
  3. AFL-CIO
  4. All Arakan Students’ and Youths’ Congress
  5. Arakan Information Center
  6. Arakan Rivers Network
  7. Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights
  8. ARTICLE 19
  9. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights
  10. Asia and Pacific Alliance of YMCAs
  11. Asia Democracy Network
  12. Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR)
  13. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  14. Asian Human Rights Commission
  15. Asian Migrant Centre
  16. Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL)
  17. Asian Resource Foundation
  18. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters
  19. Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)
  20. Australian Centre for International Justice
  21. Australian Lawyers for Human Rights
  22. BALAOD Mindanaw
  23. Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan
  24. Brotherhood For Democracy (BFD)
  25. Burma Campaign UK
  26. Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
  27. Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan
  28. Burmese Rohingya Community in Australia
  29. Bytes For All
  30. Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR)
  31. Cambodian Food And Service Workers Federation (CFSWF)
  32. Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  33. Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)
  34. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
  35. Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL)
  36. Center for Peace Education, Miriam College
  37. Center for Social Integrity
  38. Centre for Human Rights and Development
  39. Centre for Peace and Justice, Brac University
  40. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  41. Climate Change Working Group-Myanmar
  42. Colorful Girls
  43. Community Resource Centre Foundation (CRC)
  44. Cross Cultural Foundation
  45. CSW
  46. Dawei Pro Bono Lawyer Network
  47. Democracy, Peace and Women Organization
  48. DHEWA (Development for Health, Education, Work, and Awareness) Welfare Society
  49. Equality Myanmar
  50. Equitable Cambodia
  51. European Rohingya Council
  52. Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany
  53. Fortify Rights
  54. Free Rohingya Coalition
  55. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  56. Global Justice Center
  57. Global Witness
  58. Htoi Gender and Development Foundation
  59. Human Rights First
  60. Human Rights Foundation of Monland
  61. Human Rights Law Centre
  62. Human Rights Office-Sri Lanka
  63. Human Rights Watch
  64. Human Rights Without Frontiers
  65. Info Birmanie
  66. Innovation for Change Network
  67. Institute for Asian Democracy
  68. Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion
  69. International Campaign for the Rohingya
  70. International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS), Asia Pacific
  71. International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID)
  72. International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
  73. Jewish Alliance of Concern Over Burma
  74. Jubilee Australia
  75. Justice for All/Burma Task Force
  76. Justice for Myanmar
  77. Kachin State Women’s Network
  78. Karapatan Alliance Philippines
  79. Karen Human Rights Group
  80. KontraS Aceh
  81. Loka Ahlinn Social Development Organization
  82. Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  83. MAP Foundation
  84. Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia)
  85. Mekong Migration Network
  86. Mennonite Central Committee
  87. MeSheWe
  88. Mother Nature Cambodia
  89. Myanmar Human Rights Alliances Network (MHRAN)
  90. National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal
  91. Never Again Coalition
  92. New School for Democracy
  93. No Business With Genocide
  94. Nonviolence International
  95. Odhikar
  96. Olof Palme International Center
  97. OutRight Action International
  98. PAX
  99. Pax Christi Aotearoa New Zealand
  100. Pax Christi Australia
  101. Pax Christi International
  102. Pax Christi Korea
  103. Pax Christi Philippines
  104. People’s Empowerment Foundation
  105. People’s Watch
  106. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
  107. Progressive Voice
  108. Prosecute; don’t perpetrate
  109. Public Association “Dignity”
  110. Pusat KOMAS
  111. Refugees International
  112. Restless Beings
  113. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  114. Rohingya Association of Canada
  115. Rohingya Human Rights Initiative
  116. Rohingya Today
  117. Rohingya Women Education Initiative
  118. Rohingya Youth for Legal Action
  119. Smile Myanmar
  120. Swedish Burma Committee
  121. Taiwan Association for Human Rights
  122. Taiwan Forever Association (台灣永社)
  123. Tampadipa Institute
  124. The Arakan Project
  125. The May 18 Memorial Foundation
  126. The PLAN: Public Legal Aid Network
  127. The Swedish Rohingya Association
  128. Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
  129. US Campaign for Burma
  130. Viet Tan
  131. Vietnamese Women for Human Rights
  132. Voice of Rohingya
  133. Win Without War
  134. World Federalist Movement/Institute for Global Policy
  135. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
  136. YMCA Mandalay
  137. Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP)