UN Security Council urges release of Myanmar detainees after coup

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday called for the immediate “release of all detainees” including Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi following a military coup earlier this week in the Southeast Asian country.

The members of the Security Council “expressed deep concern at the declaration of the state of emergency imposed in Myanmar by the military on 1 February and the arbitrary detention of members of the government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and others,” they said in a press statement.

The Security Council held a closed-door session a day after the military coup to discuss the situation. Britain, serving as chair of the meeting, was not able to steer the council to a unified message at the time as hoped, since China and Russia requested more time to assess the matter.

After further negotiations among the 15 member countries, the Security Council agreed to issue a press statement criticizing the coup and urging the release of Myanmar government leaders.

Monday’s coup, through which the military seized power in Myanmar, is seen as destroying the country’s democratic system.

The statement said the Security Council members “emphasized the need for the continued support of the democratic transition in Myanmar.”

“They stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law,” it added.

The members of the Security Council also “expressed concern at the restrictions on civil society, journalists and media workers,” while reiterating “the need to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State and to create conditions necessary for the safe, voluntary, sustainable and dignified return of displaced persons.”