The UN Special Envoy Calls For Urgent Action In Myanmar

The continuous massive protests in Yangon, Myanmar, made the security forces forced to use force to restrain coup protesters. The representatives of the countries participating in the meeting expressed deep concern about the escalating violence in Myanmar, causing civilian casualties, and urged the parties to maximum restrain, and ensure safety for civilians, conduct dialogues towards a satisfactory solution, by the Constitution, laws, and aspirations of the Burmese people.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military arrested and overthrew the elected leader of the Democracy Party, Aung San Suu Kyi, on February 1st, not respecting the November 2020 election, claiming fraud. Since then, people took protests and strikes to the streets, demanding the release of Ms. Suu Kyi. The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener requested the United Nations to act urgently. “It is important that the UN Security Council be determined and consistent in keeping the military on alert and standing steadfastly with the Burmese people in support of November’s transparent election result,” she said. 

According to a video live on Facebook, police fired tear gas and stunned grenades to disperse crowds of protesters in the northern city of Lashio, Shan State. The biggest protest took place in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, as protesters sat in silence for two minutes to honor those who died of violence against the police or the military. They sat under umbrellas with signs that read “Free our elected leaders” as well as chanting, “Don’t serve the military; quit your job.” According to UN statistics, more than 50 protesters were killed, of which March 3rd was known as a “bloody day,” with at least 38 people dead during protests across Myanmar. 

The U.S. and several other Western countries have imposed sanctions against the Burmese military. Independent UN human rights investigators on Myanmar have also called for a global arms embargo and economic sanctions against the military government. The independent UN human rights investigator in Myanmar, Thomas Andrews, has also called for an arms embargo and an economic embargo. However, some diplomats believe that sanctions are unlikely to be considered by the UN Security Council early because China and Russia can veto.

These two countries believe that the February 1st coup is an internal affair of Myanmar. The secret meeting at the UN Security Council ended without any statement. “All sides should be as calm and restrained as possible. We do not want to see instability in Myanmar,” said Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Truong Quan after the aforementioned secret meeting. The Myanmar military government has not responded to the call of Ms. Schraner Burgener. The Myanmar army recently confirmed to have restrained in preventing the protests but stressed it would not allow this activity to threaten stability.

The tense situation in Myanmar showed no signs of cooling on March 4th, when protesters announced they continued to march to protest the political upheaval, determined to pressure the military government to release the leader Director Aung San Suu Kyi. Activist Maung Saungkha said: “We anticipated the danger of being shot and killed by real bullets, but we were determined to fight by all means.”