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UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Warns 13.2 Million Lacking Food

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UN Special Envoy to Myanmar Warns 13.2 Million Lacking Food

The UN special envoy to Myanmar has warned that the country’s political, human rights, and humanitarian crisis is worsening and taking a “catastrophic toll on the people.”

According to Noeleen Heyzer, a United Nations General Assembly’s human rights committee member, more than 13.2 million people lack food, 1.3 million people are displaced, and the military continues to use disproportionate force, including bombings and burning of homes and buildings, and the killing of civilians.

Heyzer’s briefing was her first at the United Nations in New York since visiting Myanmar in August and meeting the military government’s leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

She stated that the meeting “was part of the United Nations’ broader efforts to quickly promote a return to civilian government.” “There is a new political challenge in Myanmar: a population wanting change, no longer willing to accept the military rule,” she said.

During her meeting with the military’s commander-in-chief, Heyzer said she made six requests.

Bomb from Myanmar MiG-19 Kills Villagers 400 Meters From Thai Border

The bombing of Myanmar Civilians

Including ending aerial bombing and the burning of civilian infrastructure, providing humanitarian aid without discrimination, releasing all children and political prisoners, instituting a moratorium on executions, ensuring the well-being of and allowing meetings with the country’s Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned by a Myanmar military court.

Myanmar had been under harsh military rule for five decades, leading to international isolation and sanctions. As the generals’ hold eased, culminating in Suu Kyi’s election to the presidency in 2015, the international community responded by easing most sanctions and pouring money into the country.

Following the November 2020 elections, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won convincingly and the military denounced as fraudulent, the military staged a coup on February 1, 2021.

Massive public opposition greeted the takeover, which has subsequently devolved into armed resistance described as a civil war by some U.N. experts.

Much of the foreign world, particularly Myanmar’s peers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has expressed dissatisfaction with the generals’ stance on change.

ASEAN,U.S., BUSINESS, myanmar

ASEAN 5 Point Plan for Myanmar

Myanmar’s authorities agreed to a five-point ASEAN plan to restore peace and democracy in the country in April 2021, but the military has made little attempt to put the plan into action.

The plan calls for an immediate stop to violence, a dialogue between all parties involved, a mediation and dialogue process by an ASEAN special envoy, humanitarian aid through ASEAN channels, and a visit to Myanmar by the association’s special envoy to meet with all parties involved.

Heyzer and Cambodian minister Prak Sokhonn, the ASEAN special envoy, visited Myanmar, but neither was allowed to meet with Suu Kyi. Heyzer told the human rights committee that there are several options.

“While there is no room for de-escalation of violence or ‘talks about talks in the current zero-sum environment,” she said, “there are some actual methods to decrease people’s suffering.”

Heyzer stated that she has been working “very closely” with the ASEAN envoy and chair, but she was skeptical of the five-point consensus, which does not address the Rohingya or how to best return Myanmar to civilian rule.

Another key issue, she noted, is a five-point plan for humanitarian help that operates through the Myanmar military, which doesn’t quite reach the people who are most in need.”

UN Myanmar

Protection and humanitarian assistance

Heyzer said she would continue to encourage ASEAN “to build a regional protection framework for refugees and displaced individuals” because many people in Myanmar will be forced to flee to escape violence.

“The recent forced return of Myanmar nationals in Malaysia, some of whom were detained upon arrival, highlights the importance of a concerted ASEAN approach to address shared regional concerns generated by the conflict,” she said.

On the humanitarian front, Heyzer stated that significant armed ethnic groupings, as well as the opposition National Unity Government, had asked her to convene a forum “to promote the protection and humanitarian assistance to all persons in need, following international humanitarian law.”

She stated that the predicament of the Rohingya and other forced migrants from Myanmar “remains terrible, with thousands seeking safety through perilous land and sea voyages.”

The violence between the Arakan Army and the Junta in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar, where the Rohingya fled but hundreds of thousands remain, “has risen to levels not seen since late 2020, with considerable cross-border incursions,” she said.

Heyzer stated that this endangers all communities, harms the circumstances for Rohingya return, and “prolongs the load on Bangladesh.”

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