Christine Schraner Burgener calls for unified action, asking ‘How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with?’
The United Nations special envoy on Myanmar urged the UN Security Council on Friday to take immediate action to stop the military’s deadly violence against peaceful protesters and restore democracy after last month’s coup.
Christine Schraner Burgener called on the council for “unified action”, asking “how much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with?” after the deaths of dozens of civilian protesters this week.
She said the situation in Myanmar was moving towards “an acute humanitarian crisis”.
“It is critical that this council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly, in support of the clear November election results,” Schraner Burgener said.
The UN Security Council has voiced concern over the state of emergency imposed by the Myanmar military but stopped short of condemning the coup because of opposition from Russia and China.
“All parties should exercise utmost calm and restraint, refrain from intensifying tensions or using violence, and prevent any incident of bloodshed,” said China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun. “We don’t want to see instability, even chaos in Myanmar.”
Schraner Burgener again warned that no country should recognise or legitimise Myanmar’s military government. She urged the Security Council to give its full support to Myanmar’s UN ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army seized power and detained civilian government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and many of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party colleagues on February 1, after the military complained of fraud in a November election.
Police in Myanmar on Friday opened fire on protesters against the coup, killing one man.
An official from Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD was also stabbed to death along with his 17-year-old nephew in an apparent mob attack in the central Magwe region, local media reported.
In the main city of Yangon, police fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesters who had been joined by about 100 doctors in white coats, witnesses said.
Crowds also gathered in Pathein, to the west of Yangon, and in central Myingyan, where dozens of women in straw hats held up signs calling for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release.
A spokesman for Myanmar’s ruling military council did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
Demonstrators are seen behind makeshift barricades during a protest in Yangon, Myanmar [Reuters]Thousands also rallied in the southeastern Karen state, accompanied by fighters from the Karen National Union (KNU), an ethnic armed group engaged in a long-running war with the military.
The KNU said in a statement that it would not tolerate attacks on peaceful protesters by the army.
“People in urban areas, ethnic armed groups, and the international community must work together until the military dictatorship falls,” it said.
On Wednesday, the United Nations said 38 people were killed in the bloodiest day of protests. In all, at least 55 people have been killed since the coup.
UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet demanded that the security forces halt what she called their “vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters”. Bachelet said more than 1,700 people had been arrested, including 29 journalists.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said some of its volunteers had been injured and wrongfully arrested and ambulances damaged.
The military seized power saying the NLD’s landslide victory in an election in November was fraudulent. The electoral commission has said the ballot was fair.
The military government has promised new elections but has not given a date. Activists have rejected the pledge and demanded the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained since the coup.