Myanmar: UN Special Envoy Calls For New Year Ceasefire

The newly appointed United Nations special envoy to Myanmar Noeleen Heyzer called for a new year ceasefire between the military and its opponents amid escalating violence in the country.

In her first statement since taking on the new role, Heyzer said she is ‘deeply concerned’ by the continued escalation of violence, which have displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians, including women and children while many have been seeking refuge across borders.

“All parties must act in the greater interest of the nation and to fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians, ensure free movement towards safety when needed, and allow humanitarian assistance to be provided to those in need, including those forced to flee the violence.

“To this end, I appeal for a New Year’s ceasefire throughout Myanmar,” she said.

Singaporean sociologist Heyzer who was appointed on Oct 25 to replace Swiss diplomat Christine Schraner Burgener echoed Security Council’s call for all parties to exercise utmost restraint and seek a peaceful solution in the interests of the people and their livelihood.

She also touched on the Five-Point Consensus of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) urging for an immediate cessation of violence.

“The people of Myanmar have already suffered tremendously and the socio-economic and humanitarian situation has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those inflicting suffering on their own people need to silence their guns and protect people in time of great need. The future of Myanmar’s children counts on this,” she said.

Since taking up the post, Heyzer has been actively consulting all stakeholders with a view to support a Myanmar-led process. She also reaffirmed her full commitment to support the people of Myanmar and promoting peace.

On Sunday, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said he was “horrified” over credible reports of an attack on civilians in Myanmar in which 35 people were killed.

The clashes in Kayah state in recent days between the military and Karen National Union fighters and members of local “People Defence Force” groups, has forced more than 5,000 people to flee into Mae Sot, a Thai border town some 15 km away.

Since the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown by Myanmar’s junta led by General Min Aung Hlaing on Feb 1, there had been internal unrest with more than 1,000 people have been killed while over 5,400 others have been arrested by junta forces, many of whom have since been released.

Source: NAM News Network