On the eve of the World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations (UN) has expressed its concerns over the compounded situation of conflict, pandemic, and natural disaster. UN Chief Antonio Guterres, in his statement on August 20, said that the flash floods and the Covid cases have continued to “exacerbate people’s vulnerabilities”.
The long-standing military coup has plunged the citizens into a pit of agony resulting from a wave of protests and mass violence. Additionally, the flash floods and steep surge in COVID-19 cases have affected over 3 million people in Myanmar.
ASEAN appoints mediator for Myanmar chair
Meanwhile, on August 6, the United Nations welcomed the appointment of the second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof from Brunei as the special envoy to Myanmar. Yusof was appointed by the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) as UN Myanmar Chair. The joint statement was announced after a considerable discussion among the Southeast Asian Foreign Ministers. According to a joint statement released after the annual meeting, foreign ministers of the Southeast Asians said that Erywan would begin his work as a mediator to “build trust and confidence with full access to all parties concerned”, the ANI reported from Kuala Lumpur.
UN offers continued cooperation with ASEAN; efforts fail due to chaos in Myanmar
Speaking about the UN agenda for Myanmar, Guterres said that the United Nations looks forward to “continuing cooperation with ASEAN on coherent response to Myanmar crisis”. He reiterated his call to the Myanmar military to respect the will of people and refrain from violence. The UN has also focused on extending “humanitarian and life-saving assistance” along with unimpeded support to all the international communities which tend to cooperate on the same, spokesperson Dujarric added.
However, the efforts have been hampered due to widespread mismanagement, lack of security, and access constraints. Following the drawback, the UN urged it’s humanitarian partners in Myanmar to “recognise principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence.”
The ‘compounded’ Myanmar crisis
On February 1, the Myanmar junta deposed the Aung San Suu Kyi-led NLD government and annulled the November 2021 general elections. The Commander-in-Chief declared a pne-year-long emergency in the state after President Win Mynt was charged with breaching COVID-19 pandemic restrictions under the 25 section of the National Disaster Management Law. The junta also detained the State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi and the Ministers of Parliament. On August 1, Military Commander Min Aung Hlaing declared that he would remain in charge until 2023, when he plans to hold an election.
Meanwhile, the coup d’etat triggered a wave of protests and paved the way for mass violence in the country resulting in a steep surge of COVID-19 cases and subsequent deaths. According to data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), as many as 945 people have been killed since the military takeover took place in February. Additionally, more than 2 lakh people have been displaced due to flashfloods and another 1.8 lakh people have been reported as COVID infected in the country.