Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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UN official states Special Envoy for Myanmar to be selected

A new U.N. special envoy to Myanmar will be appointed in the coming days, said Khaled Khiari, the Assistant Secretary-General for Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, at an open briefing held by the U.N. Security Council in New York on Thursday. 

“The expansion of armed conflict throughout the country has deprived communities of basic needs and access to essential services,” added Khiari. 

It was the first open briefing on Myanmar held by the U.N. Security Council since 2019. The position of the U.N. Special Envoy to Myanmar has been left vacant since Noeleen Heyzer left her post in June 2023.

During Heyzer’s tenure, which began on Oct. 25, 2021, she met with the military regime in Naypyidaw and the National Unity Government (NUG), a group of lawmakers ousted in the 2021 military coup that seek to return Myanmar to its democratic transition from military rule. 

Diplomats from the U.S., France, and the U.K. condemned the violence perpetrated by the military, and called for greater action to be taken by the Security Council to pressure the regime in Naypyidaw to end attacks on civilians. 

“We will not allow Myanmar to become a forgotten crisis. We reiterate our call for renewed efforts to build towards a peaceful, inclusive Myanmar and a better future for [its] people,” said Barbara Woodward, the U.K. permanent representative at the U.N.

Moscow, a close ally to Naypyidaw, accused western countries of trying to “politicize” the crisis in Myanmar. Beijing claimed that the ongoing conflict between the military and the Arakan Army (AA) in Myanmar’s Arakan State is an “internal affair” and that China is working to promote peace and dialogue among all parties to the conflict.

Human Rights Watch criticized the Security Council’s lack of action on Myanmar over the last three years. It called on the U.N. to institute an arms embargo on the military, impose targeted sanctions on its businesses, and refer the country to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The 2021 military coup has plunged Myanmar into a political and humanitarian crisis. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) states that there are more than 2.8 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) nationwide. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) documents that nearly 50,000 people have been killed in the last three years of conflict.

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