The United Nations (UN) official has accused Myanmar’s military junta of attempting to block access to food, funds, information and recruits, and targeting civilians as collective punishment.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s government since Feb. 1, 2021.
“In its third year, the impact of the military takeover on the country and its people has been devastating,” UN Special Envoy For Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer told the 193-member General Assembly.
She said that martial law has been extended to 47 townships and the regime has revived a 1977 law allowing civilians it deems “loyal” to carry firearms.
“A generation that benefited from Myanmar’s previous opening up, especially the youth is now disillusioned, facing chronic hardship and many feeling they have no choice but to take up arms to fight military rule,” she said.
“Heavy fighting has spread to areas previously unaffected by conflict, putting more civilian lives at risk and further complicating humanitarian operations delivering life-saving assistance to the people of Myanmar.”
“The arbitrary arrests and detention of democratically elected political leaders, civil society actors and journalists continue unabated. While severely underreported, women detainees increasingly face sexual harassment and violence,” she added.
She warned that the cost in human suffering will multiply and the political, human rights, humanitarian and socioeconomic crisis will intensify if urgent action is not taken.
“We must send a strong signal that violence must end and support for democratic voices strengthened to help empower those seeking to chart a way for a peaceful future,” she said.
She also called for sustainable solutions for the Rohingya people.
More than five years since the forced mass exodus from Rakhine State, the Rohingya are persecuted and stateless, and continue to suffer extreme hardship, living in difficult conditions and facing tremendous challenges.
The UN is seeking $876 million as part of its response plan for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis in 2023.
She called on the international community to redouble their support saying that: “Now is not the time for donor fatigue.”
CURRENTPH NEWS SERVICE