Two years on from Myanmar military coup, UN chief stresses international unity, as arrests, airstrikes continue
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday called for Member States to urge the military leadership in Myanmar to respect the will and needs of its own people, as risks to regional stability grow.
Ahead of 1 February – marking two years since the military overturned and arbitrarily detained members of the democratically elected civilian Government, including President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – the Secretary-General, in a statement issued by his Spokesperson, raised several concerns.
He also condemned all forms of violence as the multidimensional crisis in Myanmar continues to deteriorate and fuel serious regional implications.
Imprisonment, aerial bombardment
Drawing attention to the military’s stated intention to hold elections, he highlighted intensifying aerial bombardment and burning of civilian houses, along with ongoing arrests, intimidation and harassment of political leaders, civil society actors and journalists.
In this vein, he said without conditions permitting the people of Myanmar to freely exercise their political rights, “the proposed polls risk exacerbating instability.”
He said he continued to stand in solidarity with the Burmese people and to support to their democratic aspirations for an inclusive, peaceful and just society, alongside the protection of all communities, including the mainly Muslim Rohingya minority.
In this regard, he said “the United Nations is committed to staying in Myanmar and addressing the multiple vulnerabilities arising from the military’s actions since February 2021.” However, this requires full and unhindered access to all affected communities as well as prioritizing the safety and security of UN agencies and humanitarian partners, he added.
Security Council resolution
In light of these and other issues, he welcomed the 21 December 2022 adoption of Security Council resolution 2669 (2022) as an important step and underlined the urgency for strengthened international unity.
It demands an immediate end to violence, increased restraint on all sides, and the release of those arbitrarily detained.
As such, his Special Envoy Noeleen Heyzer will coordinate closely with the new Special Envoy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Chair to engage intensively with all relevant parties in Myanmar to achieve an end to the violence and to support a return to democracy.