The United Nations special envoy to Myanmar has called on the UN security council to take action against the ruling junta after the killings of protesters who have continued to defy security forces in protests against the coup of the month. last.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military overthrew and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, with daily protests and strikes that have stifled business and paralyzed the administration.
More than 50 protesters have been killed according to the United Nations, at least 38 on Wednesday alone. The protesters are demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and respect for the November elections, which her party won outright but rejected by the army.
“How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with it?” special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener told a closed-door meeting of the 15-member UN security council on Friday, according to a copy of her remarks seen by Reuters.
“It is critical that this council be resolute and consistent in alerting the security forces and strongly supporting the people of Myanmar, in support of the clear November election results.”
A spokesperson for the board did not respond to calls seeking comment.
The army says it has been restrained in stopping the protests will not allow them to threaten stability. On Saturday in the southern city of Dawei, protesters chanted “Democracy is our cause” and “The revolution must prevail.” The protesters were also gathering in the largest city, Yangon.
At times, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets, vowing to continue action in a country that spent almost half a century under a military regime until the democratic reforms of 2011 that were interrupted by the coup.
“Political hope has begun to shine. We cannot lose the momentum of the revolution, ”wrote a protest leader, Ei Thinzar Maung, online. “Those who dare to fight will have victory. We deserve victory. “
At least one man was killed by security forces in Friday’s protests. A National League for Democracy (NLD) official from Aung San Suu Kyi and her teenage nephew were also stabbed to death by military supporters, local media reported.
The killing of protesters has sparked international outrage.
“The use of violence against the people of Myanmar must stop now,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said, calling for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other detainees and the restoration of democracy.
The United States and some other Western countries have imposed limited sanctions on the junta. Thomas Andrews, an independent UN human rights researcher in Myanmar, has called for a global arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions.
But in an effort to preserve the unity of the council in Myanmar, diplomats said sanctions are unlikely to be considered anytime soon, as China and Russia will likely oppose such measures, which have veto power.
“All parties should exercise the utmost calm and restraint,” Chinese ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said, according to statements released after the UN meeting. “We don’t want to see instability, not even chaos in Myanmar.”
The army seized power over allegations of fraud in last year’s election. Those accusations have been dismissed by the electoral commission. The army has promised to hold new elections on an unspecified date.
That plan is rejected by protesters and by a group representing legislators elected in the last election that has begun issuing statements on behalf of a rival civilian administration.
On Friday he listed four demands: the end of the junta, the release of the detainees, democracy and the abolition of the 2008 constitution, which left significant political representation and control in the hands of the military.
Instead, he said Myanmar should have a federal constitution, an appeal to the ethnic groups in the country’s border areas that have been angered under the majority rule of Bamar under both the army and Aung San Suu Kyi’s party.
On Friday, thousands of people demonstrated in the southeastern state of Karen, accompanied by fighters from the Karen National Union (KNU), one of the armed ethnic groups fighting long-lasting wars.
During the demonstration, the strongest indication yet of support for the anti-coup movement by one of the country’s countless armed ethnic groups, KNU troops launched the three-finger salute popularized by protesters and handed out bottles of water.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism