Myanmar : I call on states to take the side of the Myanmar people, for democracy & human rights

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Published on 28 Feb 2021, 4:45
Briefing by Christine Schraner Burgener, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, on the General Assembly Informal meeting.

" (...) In my discussions with the military leadership, including several calls with the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, I have echoed these concerns, amplified the Secretary-General’s advocacy and requested to visit Myanmar under the condition I can meet with detained government leaders.

My intention was to convey directly the concerns of the international community and help resolve differences through peaceful dialogue with the aim of upholding the will of the Myanmar people.

Regrettably, the current regime has so far asked me to postpone any visit. It seems they want to continue making large-scale arrests and have been coercing people to testify against the NLD Government. This is cruel and inhumane.

It is true, my unique access to key stakeholders in Myanmar, including civilian and military leaders, has allowed me to relay directly international concerns, give hope to affected communities and CSO leaders through continued dialogue.

My visit was also intended to assess the situation directly. For this reason, I had hoped to keep channels open, face those responsible for the current situation and build on existing relations to persuade a reversal of this crisis.

As I have in the past, I hoped to channel many of the shared concerns and messages based on my regular consultations with many of you.

If the regime is not giving access or accepting UN visits needed for these purposes, influential Member States could play an important role and support efforts to undertake objective assessments.

Member States gathered today have a collective responsibility towards the people of Myanmar and safeguard their democratic aspirations.

I reiterate the Secretary-General’s call for Member States to exercise influence regarding the protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Myanmar.

I have been in close contact with a range of stakeholders, including in the region, and appreciate their various efforts and continued support for my role and mandate.

The Security Council’s 4 February statement was an important first step but our solidarity with the people of Myanmar requires more action.

I seek to continue my role as a bridge, in close continued consultations with elected NLD representatives and help facilitate their dialogue with the military as appropriate.

Clearly, regional engagement is needed on all fronts and I will remain closely engaged, including with ASEAN leaders, reinforcing the Secretary-General’s support to regional efforts.

Mr. President,

The situation in Myanmar is extremely fragile and fluid.

Observing the huge protests in the country and listening to the people, I must say it is not about a fight between NLD and Tatmadaw; it is a people’s fight without arms.

If there is any escalation in terms of military brutality – and sadly as we have seen this before in Myanmar – against people exercising their basic rights, let us act swiftly and collectively.

We can no longer afford profound divisions.
In closing, I would like to highlight that the Secretary-General, as he did in his letter addressed to the Security Council on 2 September 2017 urging concerted efforts to prevent further escalation of the crisis in Rakhine, he has demonstrated early leadership in previous weeks.

If the numerous discussions here at the General Assembly and in the Security Council continue to fall short of a forceful and timely response, perhaps existing structures are indeed in need of reforms in keeping with the times.

I call on all states to take side for the people of Myanmar, to take side for democracy and human rights.

May you as Member States uphold your responsibilities (...)" [Excerpt]