“Echoes of imperialism” plague the UN Security Council

THE GUARDIAN – Only hours into the meeting in the Security Council, accusations between delegates have been thrown around freely. After a speech encouraging the Rohingya people to “overthrow the capitalist oppressors,” Bolivia accused member states of echoing imperialism in their ideas for actions to resolve the conflict in Myanmar.

As the United Kingdom and United States, among others, suggested areas for improvement, actions to change Myanmar’s citizenship laws have been a focus. Member states suggested Myanmar recognize the Rohingya people as citizens, give them the right to vote, or proposed action to encourage Myanmar to give certain rights to the Rohingya people.

The quickly ignited debate between member states on recognizing state sovereignty and how these actions could be in conflict with the need to respect sovereignty. In typical opposition to the United States, Russia disagreed with their proposed solutions, as well as the solutions of many other Western nations. Russia emphasized that telling a nation how to define it’s citizenship or prescribing who should have citizenship or certain rights directly imposes upon  Myanmar’s sovereignty, and actions should be focused on aiding people rather than changing government,

In agreement with Russia, Bolivia stated that actions such as this were “echoes of imperialism”, emphasizing that the council should not simply force Myanmar to do “what is right” based on their western ideals. Speaking to former imperial powers, Bolivia stated their belief that “[they] have proven time and time again that [their] judgement is very wrong.”

Former imperial powers such as the United Kingdom and France defended themselves after this statement. The UK stated that “impositions of human rights for all is not imperialism”, and France suggesting that imperialism was not the root cause of the issue at hand.

Russia continued in Bolivia’s footsteps, noting that the issue before them is not something Western nations can “take [from Myanmar], handle, and then give it back to them,” and raised issues with other proposed solutions, such as giving the Rohingya people the right to vote, reminding member states that the Rohingya are a numerous group of people, and giving them the right to vote could radically shift the outcome of elections.

Bolivia continued their fight against the “imperialist” nations, emphasizing how former imperial states “muddled around” in the global south, and now in continuing to make suggestions that would force action upon Myanmar, a formerly colonized country, they are “not doing their part” in resolving the issues they created.