Conflicts & War

UN envoy warns Security Council of ‘imminent bloodbath,’ civil war in Myanmar

United Nations/Bangkok Desk, Apr 1 (efe-epa).- The United Nations’ special envoy on Myanmar warned the body’s Security Council on Wednesday that a “bloodbath is imminent” in the Southeast Asian nation if the 15 members fail to take action against its military junta.

“Consider all available tools to take collective action and do what is right, what the people of Myanmar deserve and prevent a multi-dimensional catastrophe in the heart of Asia,” envoy Christine Schraner Burgener said in a speech obtained by Efe before the closed-door meeting.

Schraner Burgener drew a bleak picture of the situation in the country, where violent repression by security forces has already killed more than 520 civilians.

“The whole country is on the verge of spiraling into a failed state,” she said, adding that “the military’s cruelty is too severe and many (armed ethnic fighters) are taking clear stances of opposition, increasing the possibility of civil war at an unprecedented scale.”

She said she remained open to dialog but said “if we wait only for when they are ready to talk, the ground situation will only worsen. A bloodbath is imminent.”

Schraner Burgener hopes to travel to the region next week as a continuation of close consultations with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

“We have stood by too long as patterns of human rights violations and most serious international crimes committed by the Myanmar military have reoccurred,” she said. “This council must consider potentially significant action that can reverse the course of events in Myanmar.”

“Looking back ten years from now, how will history judge this inaction? I hope you can act while there is still time to avoid the worst outcome by overcoming caution and disagreement,” the UN envoy appealed to the UNSC.

Although much of the international community has strongly condemned the actions of the Myanmar military, the UNSC – the UN body that can impose sanctions and approve the use of force – has so far been lukewarm. Some member states, including China and Russia, which supply arms and military equipment to the country, have been reluctant to act against the junta.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday night, Myanmar’s proxy civilian government, made up of elected officials, ripped up the 2008 constitution written by the then-military junta that grants it broad powers, including 25 percent of the legislative seats and control of the key home affairs, border and defense ministries.

The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) said all ethnic people in the country need a federal democratic nation that gives full assurance of justice, equality, freedom and rights to fundamental democracy.

The CRPH asked the country’s armed ethnic groups two weeks ago to join forces against the military junta, a request answered on Tuesday by three of them, who threatened to annul their ceasefire agreement if indiscriminate killing continues.

Also Wednesday night, the military junta called for a one-month ceasefire with ethnic armed groups supporting the civil disobedience movement, but has not indicated any intention to stop violence against civilians.

On Saturday, the military launched its first airstrikes in Karen state in two decades, forcing thousands of residents to flee into jungles and to try to seek refuge in neighboring Thailand. EFE-EPA

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