The United Nations envoy for Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, has warned that a political settlement to the country’s military takeover is unlikely. Speaking at a briefing to the General Assembly, Heyzer stated that “with both sides intent on prevailing by force, there is no prospect for a negotiated settlement.”
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military rejected the November 2020 election results and overthrew the democratically elected civilian government, on February 1, 2021.
Since then, the military has been accused of the killing and arresting of thousands of civilians, among them many children, in a brutal crackdown. The military also arrested, tried and sentenced high-ranking officials from the ousted National League for Democracy party.
Heyzer also detailed alleged military atrocities, including beheadings and the mutilation of opposition fighters, and a recent massacre of 28 civilians at a monastery in southern Shan state.
The situation has resulted in the opposition making use of both nonviolent and violent means. Myanmar’s military government denies responsibility for the massacre and suggests that pro-democracy resistance groups were responsible.
The humanitarian situation in the country continues to worsen, with martial law being extended to 47 townships and 1.6 mln people being internally displaced. The U.N. has stated that 17.6 mln people inside the country are in need of aid, compared with just 1 mln before the military coup.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) put forward a five-point plan that included ending the violence and starting a national dialogue, but Myanmar military chief General Min Aung Hlaing hasn’t implemented it.
Heyzer urged the international community to send a strong signal that the violence must end and that those seeking a way forward to a peaceful future need to be supported.
Myanmar’s envoy to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, stated that his country is at a critical crossroads, and it will either end up becoming a permanent military dictatorship or a democratic state.
He called on the international community to stop the flow of arms, jet fuel and funds to the junta, to provide humanitarian assistance directly to the people, to protect Myanmar refugees and asylum-seekers, and to support accountability either through the International Criminal Court or a special tribunal.