United Nations: The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the violence against peaceful protestors in Myanmar and called on the military to exercise “utmost restrain”, as the powerful world body unanimously reiterated its call for the immediate release of detained leaders and voiced support for the democratic transition in the Southeast Asian nation.

The Council unanimously adopted a Presidential Statement on Myanmar on Wednesday in which it reiterated its deep concern at developments in the country following the declaration of the state of emergency imposed by the military on February 1 and the arbitrary detention of members of the Government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and others.

The Security Council strongly condemns the violence against peaceful protestors, including against women, youth and children. It expresses deep concern at restrictions on medical personnel, civil society, labour union members, journalists and media workers, and calls for the immediate release of all those detained arbitrarily.

The Council calls for the military to exercise utmost restraint and emphasises that it is following the situation closely, the Presidential statement said.

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A presidential statement is a statement made by the President of the Security Council on behalf of the Council, adopted at a formal meeting of the Council and issued as an official document of the Council.

The 15-nation Council, including Myanmar junta’s close ally China, expressed its continued support for the democratic transition in Myanmar, and stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence, fully respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and uphold the rule of law.?It encourages the pursuance of constructive dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.

President of the Council for the month of March, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said every member of the Security Council spoke with one voice to condemn the ongoing violence against peaceful protesters in Burma.

The US will continue to work with a broad coalition of international partners to promote accountability for the coup and those responsible for violence, and will work to restore the democratically-elected government, she said in a statement.

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, responding to a question on the presidential statement, said he hopes that with this statement, there will be an increasing conscience in the military in Myanmar that it is absolutely essential to release all prisoners.

It is absolutely essential to respect the results of the elections and to allow for a situation in which we move back to a democratic transition – that was not a perfect one; I mean, we did not live in a perfect democracy in Myanmar.

It was still heavily under military control in many aspects, which makes this coup even more difficult to understand. I mean, especially the accusations of electoral fraud by those that were largely in control of the country. But with all its imperfections, I believe that it is important to go back to where we were before the coup.

The Council also reiterated its strong support for regional organisations, in particular the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful and constructive manner.

It commended ASEAN’s continued efforts to engage with all relevant parties in Myanmar and welcomed the recent informal ASEAN Ministerial meeting on March 2.

The Council continued to call for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all people in need, and highlighted that the current situation has the potential to exacerbate existing challenges in Rakhine state and other regions.

The Security Council expresses concern that recent developments pose particular serious challenges for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons. It is vital that the rights of minorities are fully protected, the presidential statement said.

The Security Council reaffirms its support for the people of Myanmar and its strong commitment to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity and unity of Myanmar, it added.

Myanmar’s military toppled the country’s government last month and seized power for one year, detaining top political figures, including de facto leader Suu Kyi and President Myint in the coup.

The coup sparked protests and other acts of civil disobedience. Around 2,000 people have been arrested and at least 60 protesters have been killed since the military takeover.

In a February 26 statement in the General Assembly during an informal meeting on Myanmar, India had said that as a close friend and neighbour of Myanmar and its people, New Delhi “will continue to closely monitor the situation and will remain in discussion with like-minded countries so that the hopes and aspirations of the people are respected.

“Restoring democratic order should be the priority of all stakeholders in Myanmar. The international community must lend its constructive support to the people of Myanmar at this critical juncture, India had said.

India had said that it remains deeply concerned that the gains made by Myanmar over the last decades on the path towards democracy, should not get undermined.