Civil Society, Horta Outraged at Timor-Leste’s Failure to Support UN Resolution Against Myanmar’s Military Coup Featured

By Mariano Mendonca June 23, 2021 976
Diplomatik Ramos Horta. Foto:Independente. Diplomatik Ramos Horta. Foto:Independente.

DILI: Civil Society leaders and former Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta have expressed their dismay at Timor-Leste’s decision to abstain from voting on the United Nation's resolution against Myanmar's military coup, labelling the move a “vote of shame” and demanding accountability over who made the decision.

On Friday, 119 member states from the UN General Assembly voted in favour of a non-binding resolution condemning the military regime in Myanmar and called on member states to curb the “flow of arms” in the violence-wracked country, diplomats said.

Timor-Leste, China, and Russia were among 36 countries to abstain from voting.

“Abstention on a violent military coup, abstention on the murder of more than 800 civilians, on the incarceration of the elected national leaders, on the targeted assassination of youth, artists, writers, singers, dancers. Who made the decision?” Horta said in Facebook post.

Questions have been directed to the President of the Republic Francisco 'Lu' Olo' Guterres
and Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak about the decision with so far no signs of consultation identified, Horta said.

“The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs was not informed or consulted. Senior Minister Fidelis Magalhaes of the Council of Ministers was not consulted. Mr Fidelis Magalhaes assured me the Prime Minister was not consulted. I checked with two senior advisers to the President and as I understand the President had not been consulted,” he said.

The draft General Assembly resolution was weeks in the making, and follows talks between the European Unions, United States, and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is acting as a mediator in the crisis, Horta confirmed.

Timor-Leste has been pushing to be a permanent member of ASEAN since 2011.

The Director of Yayasan Hak, Xisto Dos Santos said the government of Timor-Leste has failed the people of Myanmar.

’’We are asking the great apology for your sacrifice, dedication, you had been lost of your people who fought for the democracy and Human Rights, but our government has ignored our solidarity’’ Xisto said.

ASEAN People Forum (APF) spokesperson Koko Valente said the government of Timor-Leste must make clear why it did not support the resolution.

’’ Timor-Leste voted to abstain… is it based in accordance with any legal instruments or is it in accordance with an external political strategy of Timor-Leste?”, Valente said.

A statement from Timor-Leste Foreign Ministry published Monday said: “Timor-Leste voted in abstention on the resolution as there was no common position among the ASEAN member states, which have a key role in resolving the situation in Myanmar.”

The statement concluded: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Democrative Republic of Timor-Leste wishes to reaffirm Timor-Lest’s steadfast commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights, and reiterates Timor-Leste’s support of the ASEAN faciliated peaceful solution in the inetrest of the people of Myanmar and their livlihood.”

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