Myanmar: Military’s ‘campaign of violence’ must end, UN chief says on anniversary of coup


On the third anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced grave concern over the deteriorating situation in the country.

In a statement issued by his Spokesman on Wednesday, the UN chief underscored the urgency of a transition to democratic governance and reinstating civilian rule.

“The Secretary-General condemns all forms of violence and calls for the protection of civilians and cessation of hostilities,” said the statement.

“An inclusive solution to this crisis requires conditions that permit the people of Myanmar to exercise their human rights freely and peacefully. The military’s campaign of violence targeting civilians and political repression must end, and those responsible be held to account,” it added.

The UN chief called for sustained international and regional attention, and coherent collective action to support the people of Myanmar.

Mr. Guterres remains committed to work with all stakeholders, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other regional actors, to help secure a sustainable and inclusive peace there, the statement noted.

The Secretary-General stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their desire for an inclusive, peaceful and just society

Deepening crisis

In pre-dawn raids on 1 February 2021, the military detained top political leaders and government officials in Yangon and other cities, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

The takeover triggered an intensification of armed conflicts across the country, including indiscriminate air strikes killing numerous civilians, mass killings of detainees, dismemberment and desecration of bodies, rape, and the deliberate burning of entire villages.

Thousands have subsequently been killed, and over two million driven from their homes. Across Myanmar, 18.6 million people – one-third of the population – require humanitarian support, compared to one million before the military takeover.

Unhindered access for humanitarian aid is paramount, and the UN and humanitarian agencies have called for continued international support for populations in need. In December 2023, they launched a $994 million humanitarian response plan to reach 5.3 million people worst affected.

Violence must end

In the statement, the Secretary-General condemned all forms of violence, and urged an immediate halt to hostilities and political repression, and the protection of civilians.

Mr. Guterres also reiterated his concern regarding the military’s stated intention to move toward elections amid intensifying conflict and human rights violations across the country.

“The Secretary-General stands in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their desire for an inclusive, peaceful and just society,” the statement noted, adding that he “stresses the need to ensure the protection of all communities, including the Rohingya, who are risking dangerous journeys in increasing numbers in search of safety, basic rights and dignity.”

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