Myanmar faces a stalemate as conflict escalates – UN

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The UN Security Council has recently learned from the UN special envoy to Myanmar that violence in Myanmar is escalating and the state’s operation is at risk of coming to a halt in the absence of a collective international reaction to the country’s coup.

Diplomats who attended the private meeting relayed information to Reuters.

Christine Schraner Burgener, UN special envoy, briefed the 15-member council from Thailand, where she has been consulting with regional leaders.

Schraner Burgener also wished to visit Myanmar, where a military coup on 1 February deposed an elected government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, but the military had yet to allow a visit.

Since the coup, pro-democracy demonstrations have taken place in cities and towns around the region.

“The general administration of the state could risk coming to a standstill as the pro-democracy movement continues in spite of the ongoing use of lethal force, arbitrary arrests and torture as part of the military’s repression,” Schraner Burgener said, according to diplomats.

According to the support organisation Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, over 3400 civilians have been arrested for protesting the takeover, and security forces have killed at least 759 protesters. The death toll could not be verified by Reuters.

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The military, which dominated for nearly 50 years before beginning a tentative reform phase a decade ago, has admitted the deaths of some demonstrators, claiming that they were killed after inciting aggression.

Following a meeting last Saturday between the junta head, Senior General Min Aung Hlain, and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Schraner Burgener told diplomats that news of a continued crackdown risked disrupting progress towards resolving the crisis (ASEAN).

After the Security Council briefing on Friday, Britain’s deputy UN ambassador James Roscoe said it was “deeply concerning” that Min Aung Hlaing did not want to fully enact ASEAN’s proposed measures to end the crisis.

“It’s really vital that the military junta do follow the ASEAN consensus, as opposed to their own roadmap. And it was clear in the discussion that the (Security) council felt that the council had a continuing role in maintaining pressure to that end,” Roscoe told reporters.

According to Schraner Burgener, there have been claims that ethnic armed organisations are training civilians, often students from urban areas, to use weapons.

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“There has been an increase in violence and the recorded use of improvised explosive devices in the absence of a collective international response. Both sides have called for full restraint, but some demonstrators have responded by asking who can blame them for acting in self-defense “According to diplomats, she said.

 

– Reuters

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