He told the General Assembly on Monday, that since she took up the job six months ago, Myanmar has “continued to descend into profound and widespread conflict”. The special envoy also noted that challenges in the country have “both deepened and expanded” dramatically, the UN News reported.
Already one of the world’s largest refugee emergencies, she reminded the world that multidimensional crises there have left over one million internally displaced people across the country with “serious regional and international ramifications”.
Nearly one million mainly Muslim Rohingyas live in refugees camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, and hundreds of thousands of others are scattered across the region.
And over the past five years, the number of people living in poverty has doubled to encompass half the population. “Today, 14.4 million people, or one-quarter of the entire population of Myanmar urgently require humanitarian assistance,” said the special envoy.
Meanwhile, school enrolment has dropped by up to 80 per cent in two years, leaving at least 7.8 million children shut out of the classroom.
“A generation that benefitted from the democratic transition is now disillusioned, facing chronic hardship and, tragically, many feel they have no choice left but to take up arms,” she warned.
As military violence and distrust have continued to deepen, armed conflict “has become the norm” for all citizens.
“The military continues its disproportionate use of force, has intensified its attack on civilians and increased operations against resistance forces, using aerial bombings,” said the senior UN official. “Civilian buildings and villages have been destroyed by fire and internally displaced populations have been attacked”.
Furthermore, there are reports of up to 600 armed resistance groups, or “people’s defence forces” engaged in fighting, with some conducting assassinations targeting those seen as “pro-military”.
“I will continue to play a bridging role…in Myanmar, in the region, and the international community to address the protection needs and suffering of the most vulnerable, and to support the will of the people for a future federal democratic union based on peace, stability and shared prosperity,” Heyzer said.
first published:June 14, 2022, 6:21 p.m.
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