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International community unites against escalating crisis in Myanmar

By Tajul Islam

May 27, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

In response to the escalating conflict in Myanmar, a coalition of nations, including the United States of America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, issued a resolute joint statement on May 24, 2024. This declaration vehemently condemns the violence ravaging the country and urgently calls for concerted international action to mitigate the worsening humanitarian crisis. As the situation continues to deteriorate, with grave consequences for civilians, the international community stands united in its demand for the protection of human rights and the restoration of democracy.

Since the military coup unfolded in February 2021, Myanmar has plunged into a maelstrom of chaos and suffering. The coup has precipitated a dramatic surge in the number of individuals in dire need of humanitarian assistance, soaring from a staggering 1 million to an alarming 18.6 million. The indiscriminate targeting of civilians, including horrifying airstrikes on residential areas, schools, places of worship, and medical facilities, has resulted in widespread displacement and unfathomable human suffering. Reports of egregious human rights violations, such as torture, the appalling use of civilians as human shields, and horrifying instances of sexual and gender-based violence, paint a harrowing picture of the atrocities perpetrated against innocent civilians.

Of particular concern is the deliberate obstruction of access to life-saving humanitarian aid by the military regime. This callous obstructionism has precipitated severe shortages of water and food, denied vital healthcare services to those in need, and impeded the delivery of essential humanitarian assistance due to the deliberate blockage of roads and telecommunication networks in conflict-ridden areas. Consequently, the already dire humanitarian situation is rapidly spiraling out of control, leaving millions of vulnerable individuals on the brink of starvation and succumbing to preventable diseases.

Adding to the anguish is the alarming escalation in casualties caused by landmines, with over 1,000 civilians tragically killed or maimed in the perilous year of 2023 alone.

Additionally, reports of an uptick in human trafficking and forced recruitment further exacerbate the plight of innocent civilians, plunging them deeper into the abyss of despair. The ruthless implementation of the archaic 2010 conscription law by the military regime serves only to compound the displacement crisis and inflame identity-based tensions across the nation.

The plight of Rakhine State presents a grim tableau of unrelenting suffering, with towns and villages subjected to relentless attacks by both the military regime and armed insurgent groups. Recent reports of mass displacement in Buthidaung underscore the urgent imperative to protect civilians in this embattled region. The insidious dissemination of misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech serves only to exacerbate sectarian and intercommunal tensions, while the forced recruitment of individuals, including Rohingya Muslims, deepens divisions and sows seeds of mistrust among communities.

Central to the joint statement is the unequivocal demand for accountability for all atrocities committed in Myanmar, coupled with an urgent call for compliance with the International Court of Justice’s provisional measures order to safeguard human rights and prevent further egregious violations. The welcomed adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2669 underscores the imperative of ending all forms of violence and upholding human rights, alongside facilitating full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access.

Furthermore, the appointment of the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar and the concerted efforts of ASEAN, UNSE, and regional stakeholders to resolve the crisis are pivotal. However, there is an urgent need for bolstered UN leadership within the country to ensure the effective coordination of international efforts and the delivery of much-needed assistance to those in need.

In addition to diplomatic endeavors, the joint statement emphatically calls upon all states to staunch the flow of arms and military equipment, including aviation fuel, to the Myanmar military. It further implores the military regime to immediately release all arbitrarily detained individuals and faithfully implement the ASEAN Five Point Consensus in its entirety. Finally, the statement underscores the imperative of fostering an environment conducive to meaningful and inclusive dialogue, thereby paving the way for the peaceful restoration of democracy in Myanmar.

The joint statement issued by this coalition of nations underscores the unwavering commitment of the international community to addressing the escalating conflict and humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Myanmar. It serves as a poignant reminder to the military regime and all parties involved that the world is watching and demands swift and decisive action to safeguard the lives and rights of the people of Myanmar. Only through concerted and collective efforts can peace, democracy, and stability be restored to this embattled nation. This unified stance reflects the shared determination of nations to uphold fundamental human values and work tirelessly towards a sustainable resolution for the betterment of Myanmar’s populace and the region at large.


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