Conflicts & War

Hundreds of NGOs call for post of UN Myanmar envoy to be abolished

Bangkok, Aug 22 (EFE).- More than 860 NGOs asked the United Nations General Assembly on Monday to end the position of special envoy for Myanmar, saying it has served to legitimize the military junta that took power in February 2021 and not to curb abuses in the country.

The request in the form of a letter comes after the current UN special envoy for Myanmar, Noeleen Heyzer, visited the country last week and met with the head of the junta, Min Aung Hlaing, in Naypyidaw.

“The long history of UN attempts to reach peace agreements with the Myanmar military through special envoys has never crystallized into significant results, but rather has given legitimacy to the perpetrators of heinous international crimes,” read the letter signed by 864 NGOs.

Civil organizations ask the UN General Assembly to end the mandate of the position of special envoy for Myanmar in the session to be held in September and to take measures so that the Myanmar military responds to abuses and crimes in their country.

“We also call on the UN Secretary General to take a direct role in Myanmar and take decisive action to show his serious commitment to resolving the devastating human rights and humanitarian crises” in the country, the statement said.

The letter has been signed by NGOs from Myanmar and other countries, of which some 320 have not wanted to make their names public, with organizations with a long history of activism such as Progressive Voice, Karen Peace Support Network, Chin Human Rights Organization and ALTSEAN-Myanmar, among others.

The NGOs said the military junta used Heyzer’s visit as a diplomatic achievement and used photos of the UN envoy and Min Aung Hlaing shaking hands as propaganda in the official media.

They said the UN envoy did not manage to meet with the deposed leader in the military coup and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi, still in detention, and that she did not mention in her statement the Government of National Unity, made up of politicians and pro-democracy activists.

“The junta is a terrorist organization according to the local laws of Myanmar and the international definition. The UN must apply the mandate of the UN Charter to protect the Myanmar people from the growing violence of the junta,” the activists point out.

In his statement after his visit, Heyzer indicated that he asked Min Aung Hlaing for an end to the violence in the country, the return of a civil and democratic government and also to allow Aung San Suu Kyi to return home, instead of being in a prison.

The special envoy said she expressed her concern for civilians displaced by the conflict in Myanmar and said that her visit does not represent a “legitimation” of the Myanmar military junta.

The Myanmar Army justifies the military coup for alleged electoral fraud in the November 2020 elections in which Suu Kyi’s party swept away, as it did in 2015, with the endorsement of international observers. EFE


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